We’ve landed in Puebla! After settling into one of my favorites, Hotel Real Santander, Room #2, 7 Oriente #13, (Tel: 222-246-3553), my traveling companion Hollie and I walked two blocks to the Zocalo to extract ATM money (best exchange rate, which today is 13.78 to the US dollar), and settled into the sidewalk cafe at The Italian Coffee Company to people watch. Our people watching idea turned into an hour-long interaction with street musicians, beggars, and women selling cheap necklaces, their faces more interesting than their wares, their stories about coming from the villages looking for pesos compelling.
Her rebozo was in tatters, but it did not seem to impact her pride and self-respect. A gentle woman, we hugged and I squeezed her hand.
Monet? The woman selling glass and seed bead necklaces came to us with a huge smile and two handfuls of adornment. We needed nothing. She kept saying Monet. Where’s the exhibition. Monay. Okay, finally we got it. Money. I bought a necklace and then gave it back to her!
This nun is Franciscan from a pueblo called La Resurrecion near the volcano La Malinche. She needed support for her convent and I provided.
The guitar player strummed one note to a plaintive song I could not understand but it didn’t matter. His face told stories of the centuries. His hands were an insight to his heart. He got 20 pesos, too.
After lunch at La Poblana cemitas restaurant (next to Hotel Real Santander) we hopped into a taxi. Destination: the church at Santa MariaTonantzintla. First stop, San Francisco Acatepec to see the Baroque church. More faces revealed themselves in deeply carved and guilded walls and ceilings, and within the Talavera tile.
This is Hollie’s first visit to Mexico (the border towns don’t count, she told me). As she sits next to me sipping rich, strong coffee and editing her photos, she dips a fresh tortilla chip into salsa and beans with the exclamation: These people know how to live! I think SO.
We are traveling on our way to the Oaxaca Photography Workshop: Market Towns and Artisan Villages.
Next workshop: October Day of the Dead Photography Expedition with Bill Bamberger.