Sunday, July 3, 2011

Puebla, Oaxaca and San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico 29 May - 7 Jun 2011

Puebla 29 May - 2 Jun 2011
Puebla is a colorful city with over 2000 churches and delicious food. I spent 4 great days here with Roberto my host whom can speak Mandarin, Bahasa and several other languages. He is very well travel and he love musical instrument, history and language.

Roberto has spent his free time showing me around Cholula that is off the beaten trek. I was really grateful for the hospitality and kindness of Roberto and his family.

The 3 spectacular places here would be the Tlachihualtepetl Pyramid (The Great Pyramid of Cholula), Tonantzintla Church and the Popocatepetl volcano. My tongue gets entangle when I pronounce these names. :-)

Tlachihualtepetl Pyramid (The Great Pyramid of Cholula) is the biggest pyramid in the world. However as the Pyramid is mostly covered by grass and hill, the scale of it is hidden. The church that is currently standing on top of the pyramid was built by the spanish.
Photos download from
Tonantzintla Church is also located in Cholula, due to some reason, no photos are allowed in this church. The interior of this church is spectacular. It consist of an exuberant decoration with indigenous motifs such as angels with plumes of feathers, with garlands of flowers, attire eagle knight and indigenous features, fruit and plants . All this shows a mix of pre-Hispanic world and the Christian world. Looks really weird to me.

Popocatepetl stands at 5,426m, a live volcano which is still puffing. It has been hidden from me till finally she reviewed herself on my last night in Puebla. Popo’s snowy and glacier-clad has melted on the peak during these warm weather. The view is magnificent.

I also like the city of Puebla with its vibrant color and artisan streets. Food here is heavenly delicious, I love the huaxmole pork with bean stew and cemita bread. The Pitaya fruit is sweet and juicy, it is similar to dragon fruit but tasted much better. The authentic Mole Poblamo is chicken drumstick top with brown source, a bit too sweet and heavy for my taste.

Oaxaca 2-4 Jun 2011
Oaxaca is 4 hrs south of Puebla, the capital city of Oaxaca state. The city along with the archeological site of Monte Alban was named a World Heritage Site in 1987. There are 12 different type of indigenous people in Oaxaca, they specialist in weeding and textile. They made beautiful handmade cloth, robe, blouse, dress and matt. Really colorful,  I wish I could carry them home. L

 I only spent 2 days here but it was good enough to see the important sites. My host Pedro and Alessandra was a great couple who show me the city at night. We went to concert, performance and bar hopping.

Here I met another couchsurfer Elena from France and we travelled to Monte Alban, Tule and Hierve El Agua (Boiling water) together, she can speak Spanish fluently so is easier for me to go around with her help.
world biggest tree

At Tule, I saw the world biggest tree, I almost drop my jaw! It is more than 2000 years old, it is so large that it was originally thought to be multiple trees, but DNA tests have proven that it is only one tree.

After spending a day together, we found out that we have almost the same plan moving forward, so we decided to take the same bus to San Cristobal de las Casas and plan to travel together to Palenque.

San Cristobal De Las Casas 5-7 Jun 2011
11 hours to the east of Oaxaca, we took the overnight bus and arrived 7am in San Cristobal. Woken up by the cold weather really shock us. We both split as we each have our own CS host. My host Marco is a bicycle tour guide. I arrived on 5 Jun which happens to be Earth Day. He has organized a cycling event in town. I was given a bike to join the tour. It was a fun day, we went around the city with a police car leading the way. The chilling weather really makes the cycling enjoyable. After a tough day of cycling, we head to a “cantin” a local bar which serve beer and food. They give free food with every beer we buy. J So we ate a lot!
The next day, we went cycling to San Juan Chamula. It is situated some 10 km off San Cristóbal de las Casas at an altitude of 2,200 meters. We cycled thru hilly road going thru small villages and farms, it took us about 2 hours to arrived. At some point I can only walk and push the bike uphill, huffing and puffing away. The purpose to visit this village is to see the special church in the village. They have their own unique culture. They still speak the maya language, the woman still wear their  traditional clothing and they have a unique way of praying in the church. They sacrifice chicken in the church for healing ceremony. They also offer liquor, coke, pepsi and burn a lot of candles. They chant prayers in an archaic dialect of Tzotzil. This place is really weird to me. I was lucky Marco has given me a brief explanation before we came.

After 2 nights in San Cristobal and only 1 shower (weather and water is freezing), Elena and me we left to our next destination to Palenque.

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