We have entered the world where Cinco de Mayo is more than just an excuse to drink beer.
Yesterday we drove over from Xalapa to Puebla through countryside that was constantly changing. That is what happens when you climb thousands of feet in altitude.
Puebla is a land that celebrates its history as one of the few instances where Mexican valor defeated foreign forces (in this case, defeating the French in 1862; in The States it is an excuse to celebrate intoxication).
We did not drive out to the forts to review the site of the glorious Mexican victory. We were content to see that bravery immobilized in street signs.
But we did spend a good deal of time wandering around in the main square of the city -- conveniently named the zocalo in honor of of the square in Mexico City.
Puebla has turned out to be one of my favorite cities in Mexico. I suspect that discloses a certain prejudice. The town square could be almost anywhere in Italy or Spain -- with the exception of the distinctive obelisk decorations on the cathedral. More than once I thought I was sitting in a sidewalk cafe in Europe.
Speaking of Europe, I know that Porfirio Diaz and his gang were very fond of French Positivism and French styles, but can anyone tell me why these Welsh dragons keep showing up on lamp posts and gazebos from the early twenthieth century? It makes no sense to me.
Patty, Dan, and I wandered off into one of Pubela's many pottery markets.
The city is famous for its colorful pottery designs it copied from Talavera in Spain and its blue and white pottery it copied from Chinese imports brought across the Pacific on the Manila galleon.
Both are prevalent here. Ironically, some of what passes for local pottery was manufactured in China. That is only fair since local artisans copied the blue and white pottery designs from Chinese originals. Global trade does have a way of evening out the mountains and valleys.
While wandering through one of the shops selling a better quality of pottery, I conjured up an interesting idea for the new house. Even though Talavera pottery is not very compatible with the contemporary lines of my house, I considered commissioning a set of dishes containing the colors of the paintings in my proposed dining area. That just may work out.
I need to investigate a little bit more. But the dealer ensured me that the artisans could produce traditional dinnerware in contemporary colors for twelve. All for a "good price."
It is worth looking into. After all, a return trip to Puebla would certainly be a nice diversion.
After wandering through Puebla, we spent the evening with Patty's niece from Colombia who is doing missionary work in Mexico. It was a perfect evening of family bonding. Cousin to cousin. Aunt to niece.
Tomorrow? Who knows? Puebla? Cholula? Guanajuato? Your dart board is as good as ours.