So it's been a crazy year.
I'm sorry I keep disappearing, but it seems like one thing after another. I've got stress issues with anything online as it is, and add any particular worldly stress and I'm gone. Alas! But I've missed you.
Now, finally, a relatively brief bit about Puebla.
Gorgeous. Beautiful old buildings, very Louis XVI. Open courtyards internally. Cobbled streets. More cathedrals than you can shake a stick at (if that's your idea of a good time). The food is amazing, very French. And very cheap. So are drinks. And travel and accommodations. The building we stayed in was built originally in the 1500s--seriously. FABULOUS. People were very kind. The streets were very clean. Chris's Spanish? Actually really good. I kept blanking and stammering, but I was mostly able to get by, and everyone was very patient with my attempts (people at the conference took mercy and tried out their English on me--their English was a lot better than my Spanish, I need to get studying, again).
On food and drinks again: I tried to try things I hadn't had before. And if you're from the United States, the Mexican food you've had probably doesn't bear much resemblance to typical Poblano food. Sometimes you can still get a molé (unsweetened-chocolate based with some 28 ingredients) or a pepian sauce (AMAZING, involves pumpkin) here, but they're not the same. I tried both and was delighted. Lars (one of our fellow friendly conference goers) tried cow's brain, and was subsequently razzed about Mad Cow (and mooed once or twice, for our benefit), but said it was good. I tried a bone marrow soup (which, much to my surprise, was not just stock made from marrow bones--there were actually long, eerie ropes of marrow in it). I had kind of a lot of soup, actually. It turns out I really love soup. I tried two drinks that were new to me, too: Alfonze XIII and Media de Seda (sick stocking). I am in Love with the Media de Seda. It's pink and fluffy and full of tequila. (If you want the recipe, lemme know.) I also had the best piña colada ever. I think there was actually crushed pinapple in it, and maybe proper coconut. Amaaaazing. And a lot of Chilean red wine, and a pretty froo rooftop party while the sun was setting. (Also amazing.)
I found out I don't really like fresh papaya.
The conference was really good. Academics can be really beautiful sometimes.
There were no stray animals.
There seemed to be relatively little poverty in that part of town, but the class divide showed where it was--everyone who seemed to be homeless and begging was darker skinned. Most of the people busking and selling trinkets on the street were, too.
PSA: You cannot--I repeat, you cannot--flush toilet paper. I didn't know this, and wished someone had forewarned me, so I'm forewarning you. This is also confirmed to be the case in several other places in Mexico, most places in Chile, and in Egypt (and probably a lot of other places). It saves water, they empty the waste baskets frequently, all is well. It just... takes getting used to.
I want to go back. We're hoping the conference will be held there again, relatively soon. Or else we'll just have to go on our own. We didn't get much time to do extra exploring, or to see more of the artisan's mercado (but the pottery and onyx were also really cheap and beautiful). The mercado, by the way? was the only place you could find any "traditional" garb. It seemed to be there solely for the benefit of turistas. Ah, well. The Zocalo was very cool, too, but there was someone there each night with a truck with a wild animal caged inside of it. It was like all of a sudden it was bearsploitation time. And there was also a lot of U.S. fast food. :\ Globalization, thy name is Big Mac.
Anyway. It was gorgeous. If I figure out one of those photo sites, I'll upload some. Chris put up some on his blog, and I'll come back and link later, maybe. I may also post any of the 8 memes I've done and then just saved and put away, but maybe not. I may post some about how heavy things have been lately, but maybe not. I WILL post the St. Patrick's Day feast recipe, since I never remember to post it BEFORE St. Pat's, and it'd probably be more useful, then. Since it's a Monday, we're going to revel tonight, instead, and have a smaller, leftover version after Chris gets back from class and before I have to go to choir, on the day proper. Silliness and heavy drinking will be primarily taken care of tonight with Christina and Guerin.
...It's been a really busy month. Did I mention that? Okay, good. I'll try to update again, soon. LOVE.