We passed between the active volcano Popocatepetl, and the more dormant Iztaccihuatl.
Different animals in the mountain town of San Nicholas. The dogs really wanted to put their front paws in our hands. From this point we began to hike the mountain pass to Mexico City.
Pictures from the blurry ride
Ship's Log 11/24: We got up really early to get a head start on the hike to Mexico City. A taco stand was still open from the night before, so we got a snack and headed for the Collectivo station. From there we took a ride into the mountains.
Before we turned in for the night we tried Pulque, an alcoholic drink made with the fermented sap of the agave plant. It has a viscous white consistency and is optimistically served in either liter or half-liter jugs. We tried to enjoy it, but we could only get a couple gulps in.
Once we found a hostel in Cholula, we made a friend and went out for tacos.
The whole city skyline is dominated by the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Los Remedios, a large colonial church. While it looks like the church is built atop a hill, it's actually built on Mexico's largest pyramid. Since the church has been designated as religiously important, the pyramid beneath has not been uncovered, and is kept in an overgrown and buried state. The structure was so large, one of original names for Cholula in the Toltec language translates into "artificial hill".
They were shooting blanks off the top of the pyramid all night to commemorate a holiday, but we were not quite sure which one it was.
We began our trek from Puebla to Mexico City on a commuter train to the college town of Cholula. The train station had public art on the dangers of fascism.
Bugs! Bugs! A tasty snack!
An empty carnival in a side-street
Ship's Log 11/23: After a long breakfast with other hostel folk, we set out to see Puebla's aerial tram, and a site of the great Cinco de Mayo battle. Afterwards, we wandered the city and saw a couple markets.
We also tried two varieties of unfamiliar taco. The Taco Arabes is a doner kebab on a slightly larger than standard tortilla. The Taco Oriental is a smaller taco filled with stir fried doner kebab.
We went to Cuauhtemoc Stadium to watch Puebla FC (17th in the league) play Necaxa (3rd in the league). Against the odds, Puebla had a blowout win (I think Necaxa was resting their better players). The fans were having a good time drinking and smoking and eating cemitas (a great Puebla sandwich of hamburger, avocadoes, onions, jalapenos, Oaxaca cheese, and sometimes potato chips)
Ship's Log 11/22: I got food poisoning, so our first day in Puebla was more bathroomy than expected. We visited the Ampero Museo, with neat collections of Puebla art, and a great view of the city. We also spent a decent amount of time working on job applications at a nearby Cyber Cafe.
We thought this was a trippy chicken-themed nightclub. We went to the door and a lady guided us to a bathroom stall. I opened the door expecting to see a hidden entrance to an underground bar. But it was just a toilet. We then realized why people thought it was strange when we were telling them we wanted to check out the sweet club across the street.
Layers of traffic
Puebla has an amazing transit system that makes commuting really easy. A large share of the transit comes from frequent taxicabs, shared shuttle buses (collectivos), and standard buses. In addition, they have rental bikes, and separated bike lanes all over the city (either by elevation or by barrier). Commuter trains are frequent and often free. They even have a (largely ornamental) aerial tram.
The bus dropped us at the edge of Puebla after nightfall. After walking along the sidewalk for a couple blocks, we came across a giant ring above an intersection. We walked up a ramp to the top of the ring and found that it was an elevated bike/walkway. We followed the network to the city center, and made our way to a hostel.
The ride to Puebla took us through many highway towns and farming communities. Rows of corn, many types of cactus, cauliflower, chickens, and brassicas. Each town had a group of vendors who would board the bus for a couple blocks to sell snacks.
Walking to the highway to flag down a bus to Puebla.
After attempting to hitchike out of Oaxaca City, we took a Collectivo bus to the end of the line at San Francisco Texlixtlahuaca. The town has a strip of shops and restaurants surrounded by small farms. After stopping at a juice stand, the owners invited us to stay the night and go to their uncle's party. We unfortunately declined because we wanted to make it to Puebla for a soccer game, but we should have said yes!
After the juice and a couple snacks, we walked to the edge of town to attempt hitchiking again. After a couple minutes, two policemen walked up to see what was going on. When we told them we were hitchhiking they laughed and guided us to a spot with better traffic to get a ride.