Images of Historical Puebla

Greetings once again. Today I will focus on a building that we visited whose inside walls are covered with depictions of the life and history of this area of Mexico. Since I mentioned the volcano Popocatépetl, I will begin with that.

entrance to the building

Popocatépetl is the active volcano of Puebla and next to it is the extinct volcano of Itzaccihuatl. Both names are from the Nahuatl language. To the ancients, Itza resembled a sleeping woman, as seen in the picture below.

The Sleeping Woman, Popocatepetl

And so the legend sprang up that Itza and Popo were once human beings. Popo was a warrior and Itza was a princess, and they fell in love. Itza’s father would not grant permission for them to marry until Popo had proved himself in battle, and so the warrior went off to prove his worth to his beloved’s father.

While he was away, a rival told Itza that he had died, even though he was still alive. She died from a broken heart, and when Popo returned victorious, he was devastated to find that his love had died.

He took her body into the mountains in order to build a funeral pyre so that he could die beside her. The gods took pity on them and turned them into the volcanoes so that they could be together forever.

In another part of the wall is a relief of Benito Juarez, honoring the patriotism and valor of the residents of Atlixco who participated in battle. The sign in front of his chest days “Peace is the respect for the rights of others.”

Another section of the murals shows a traditional Mexican altar. The person they are honoring is Javier Solis, a popular mariachi singer born in Metepec Atlixco. He also sang other types of songs, was an actor and was the third member of the Tres Gallos Mexicanos (Three Mexican Roosters), the other two members being Jorge Negrete and Pedro Infante.

Yet another section paid homage to the labor movement in Mexico

Circle of free workers

The workers of Atlixco demand justice . Death to the assassins!
This mural is in honor of the workers who gave their lives in the factories. Who suffered the injustice and assassinations with impunity. It is also an allegory of the idea of freedom. And a recognition of the working women.

There were also scenes of landmarks and daily life in Atlixco.

And one event which I was fortunate to witness – the voladores. These men would climb a very high pole. At the top was a small platform on which a man would stand and play music. The other men would tie ropes to their legs and slowly twirl about the pole, getting closer and closer to the ground, until they were standing on the ground. It was dizzying to watch, and I admired their lack of fear. I know that I would never be able to do what they were doing….

The battery on my phone was extremely low, so by the time I turned it on and started to shoot the video, I did not catch the performance from the beginning until the very end.

There were so many murals depicting myths, pre-Hispanic life and landmarks of Puebla. It would take so much more space to go into detail about every one, so I will simply put up the pictures with brief descriptions as indicated.

This depicts the pyramid, which I did visit, which was from pre-Hispanic times. Originally, there were eight pyramids, with each one being built covering the previous one. Erosion destroyed numbers 6, 7 and 8, so that the original 5 pyramids remain.

Stained glass window in the ceiling

Remembering those people who were important to Atlixco

And finally, the inside of the building from a distance, so you can admire the architecture:

And so I will end this post now, and try to write up and publish the next one in a more timely manner. Adios !

Puebla – Atlixco

When I lived in New York, one of my friends was a Mexican woman married to an American. Her name is Martha, and in January, she messaged me that she was in Puebla visiting her mother, and invited me to come over and stay with her for a few days.

Thinking about the cheapest way to go, I considered the bus – until I found out that it was about a 13 hour ride. One friend suggested that I fly into Mexico City and then take the bus to Puebla, which I did. Returning home, it was only a 40 minute ride to the bus station, a 2-hour bus ride to the airport and a 90 minute-or-so flight to Colima Airport. Getting there, however, was quite an adventure. My 4:25pm flight from Colima left at 6pm (good thing I didn’t have to catch a connecting flight, and the reason I usually plan for several hours of overlay between flights when I do) and the 8:15 bus, I was told, would be delayed until 8:50p because of traffic. A baggage handler took my suitcase, and I took the opportunity to go to the bathroom and get a bite to eat. Returning in plenty of time, I waited for my bus, only to be told that it had already left with my suitcase. However, there was room on the actual 8:50 bus, and when I got to the station, my suitcase was waiting for me. Whew !!!

I felt really bad for Martha, as we didn’t finally arrive at her home until midnight, but she assured me she was ok because her brother had accompanied her. After a good night’s rest, I was ready to explore Puebla.

We did so much exploring during the three full days that I was there that my time will be detailed over several blog posts. Firstly, the rural area where my friend lives is called Atlixco. It is pronounced Aht-lees-ko and when said, sounds very much like Jalisco (ha-lees-ko) – one of the states that borders Colima state, where I live. So it was very confusing when I heard people say the name, and I would wonder why they were talking about Jalisco.

Atlixco is a designated Pueblo Mágico, or magic town, which means it is deemed to have cultural, historical, gastronomical or natural treasures that are exceptionally special and meaningful to Mexico’s heritage. These are always wonderful towns to visit, and I will get into all the details in upcoming posts.

One feature of this area which is evident wherever you are is the volcano Popocatépetl. This volcano is continuously active and stands at 5426 meters (17,802 feet). This is higher than the two volcanoes in my area – the Volcán de Fuego (Colima Volcano) at 3839 meters (12,595 feet) and Volcán de Nieve (Nevado de Colima or Volcano of Snow) at 4260 meters (13,976 feet). It was really quite impressive, and when I say it is continuously active, that means there was a non-stop plume of smoke arising from the caldera.

volcano Popocatépetl

And while Colima is an agricultural state known for coffee, bananas and sugar cane, the economic backbone of Puebla is the floral industry, growing flowers for export.

One of the first places we visited was a bonsai museum. In Japan, a man by the name of John Naka taught many people the art of bonsai, and many of his students then settled in other places continuing to teach others this art. A man named Emigdio Trujillo Sanchez learned this art from maestro Chen in San Francisco and maestro Yamaguchi in Los Angeles.

entrance to the museum “In the museum, each tree has a story.”

“What I like about the Bonsai is that it has a beginning, but no end. A bud today is a branch tomorrow, in the same way as the search for the end of the rainbow. There are no limitations in Bonsai.”

The process of creation of a bonsai is not mechanical; a bonsai cannot be created simply through pruning and the wiring of branches, following rules and rigid conventions. Actually it is a long process that begins with an idea, born perhaps from a subliminal vision from the sight of a tree in its natural habitat and ends with the complete transformation of an ordinary plant or tree in a spectacular work of art, which is capable of evoking feelings of beauty, grace and greatness.

Historical Background
The Penzai originated in China. There is evidence from the year 2000 B.C. that the Chinese cultivated plants in containers as part of their usual gardening. They were perhaps one of the first civilizations together with the Egyptians and Persians that practiced the sophisticated art of gardening.

As a result of his interest and studies, he created the Museum of Bonsai and the Mexican School of the Art of Bonsai. The outdoor museum holds about 200 samples of trees between 20 and 100 years old. Periodically, the school also invites international teachers of bonsai who give demonstrations and classes.

Here are photos of some of the bonsai trees:

Here you can see branches with wires around them to help guide their shape

And so ends today’s blog post. More next time as my adventures continued in Puebla.