Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza, Mexico
Walking out from my hotel, I notice the main street and other roads are shut off. In place of cars, are bicycles and runners. Is there a triathlon? Nope, Victor tells me every Sunday, many roads are closed off, allowing people get their fitness on and unleash their inner Neil Armstrong or Cathy Freeman. Graffiti plasters the city, some good and worthy of the title of street art, but most this far, are tags and not very good. Many older buildings are on a noticeable lean, drooping on one side, as if they’ve had a stroke. We visit the grandest of post offices, constructed in 1907, it’s like walking onto the set of Harry Potter, with gold, wrought iron railings down the stair cases and marble tiles underfoot. It took 30 years to build. Onto the Metropolitan Cathedral. It’s… A place you could catch souls in. There is a world festival on that draws us out of the Metropolitan Cathedral and into Garibaldi Square where the Mariachis play. A group of tribal dancers sporting feather headdresses and animal skull embellishments dance with fire. The National Palace and Diego Rivera murals are heavily guarded by military. Pre Wheres Wally Murals throughout. Victor explains the murals, that visually depict the whole of Mexican history. Frieda Kahlo’s sister is even in one of the murals. This city sports bakeries that resemble scenes from Willy Wonka. Cakes from the windows, to the walls… of every Mexicans stomach! These cakes aren’t cheap. Paying by the kilo, a cake for a debutant party is between $300 – $500 dollars! The average Mexican wage is approx 5,400 pesos a month (around $420 AUD). That’s a whole months wage on a cake bigger, and more elaborate, than any wedding cake I’ve ever seen! For lunch, we roamed the streets on what’s best described as a “taco street tour”. Stacks of meat everywhere #meatstreetmarkets. No one complained or got sick and the most we paid was 15 pesos a taco. The Mexicans sure know what they’re doing. It was 3pm, 2 girls and I decided to visit the Frida Kahlo museum (Casa Azul = Blue House) in Coyoacan, about a 20 minute taxi ride from our hotel in Juarez. We queued for an hour to get in that place and it was worth it. Frida was born, lived and died in Casa Azul. There are so many cool old cars, in particular, Volkswagen Beetles. Victor mentioned they used to have a massive VW plant. After being told by the taxi driver, Fransisco, that the metro (Mexican subway) was unsafe and we were sure to be robbed, we caught the Metro back to Juarez. A little disappointed that no one pulled a knife on or robbed us…. Kind of. My roommate, Emily, is a speech therapist from Bristol. She’s satirical, punctual and I like her. She says things like, “I’m very up for drinking” yet makes a statement like that sound like she’s just asked politely for a glass of water. For dinner, fish tacos with pineapple. Small, simple and delicious, plus dos mojitos.