Puebla – Probably a magic town

I’ve heard Puebla described as an array of wonderful things. Though I can’t say I’ve had much luck here. This is my second attempt at a day trip, the first went something like this.

Today hasn’t been much better, my plan included walking to FedEx (1.7km) then to Loving Hut (another 1km) and then getting to the Cathedral one way or another before leaving by sundown.

But I felt a bit lazy, asked a bus driver if he went to Reforma (most of the way down the one road to FexEx). After some suspicious looking though he said yes. I paid my 6 pesos and sat down nervously.

The only good thing about this bus journey to the wrong part of the city was the nice chat with a guy from a nearby town. I alighted and by chance I found a MailPack, my hopes rose! It might not be FedEx but at least I can rid myself of carrying this package.

No such luck

For some reason even though they send the package with FedEx, they have more strict rules than me going to the FedEx office directly. After much picking things up and saying no they said the Spanish equivalent of “I think you should go here…” and even gave me bus directions.

For a box full of things too sentimental to just give away I was growing very tired of having it.

Nearly There

Now came the second good thing about Puebla, the bus driver (not the lying “Just give me some Pesos” one) had fantastic taste in music. So I was rocking out to some classics for which I don’t know the name including, heartbreakingly just as I was alighting, my current favourite The Cranberries – Zombie.

Rocking out on a second class bus in Puebla

It’s been a good couple of weeks for me and that song since Gaby took me to Celtics Bar in Mexico City and the live band played it. Still, I managed to get off, the weight of the package probably helped.

Soon enough I fond myself filling out in triplicate (which is even more frustrating when it’s on [[carbon copy paper]]) the To and From addresses, Package Contents, Value, Purpose, Country of Manufacture, etc., etc.  etc. Bear in mind I’d already done this for MailPack on forms with different logos at the top..

Finally, a bill

Upon being presented with a MX$960 (£50) bill I forgot to hesitate and ask if there was a cheaper, slower option and handed over a debit card – relieved to finally have been able to post it home. The only item which didn’t make it in was my dead kindle. I’d done enough lying for a lifetime to want to do any more and have to fill in another “potentially harmful radiation device” form.

Filled with joy and madness at having free hands I gleefully left, in my mind replaying a generic air-punching scene from some film or other (in the case of my illustration, from a website). With an hour and a half ’till my bus to Oaxaca I had time for the vegan restaurant – and directions to boot!

The Final Straw

If the package fiasco hadn’t been enough to taint my view of Puebla, walking blind around unmarked and delicately named roads with locals who don’t know their area, finally resolving to catching a taxi for 2 blocks just to not have to search out another building number to find the restaurant which turned out to be either closed down or not yet ready (it looked like a closed bank) was the final straw. Even had I not been out of time, it was time to get out of this wonderful sounding but not in my stars this time city.

I caught a 3rd class bus to CAPU (the central bus station) and within the hour was breathing a sigh of relief as my ADO bus pulled out to get me to Oaxaca 4 hours later.


A Balagan in Puebla

I thought a stopover in [[Puebla]] sounded like a good way to break up a 4 hour trip and see a city I’d heard so much about, plus there’s a a FedEx office from where I could send some excess weight, souvenirs and presents home. To top it off HappyCow.net lists a vegan restaurant.

So I studied a map, plotted a route to include FedEx, Loving Hut and the Cathedral and set off with my trusty directions-containing notebook.

Upon finally arriving in the bus station in Mexico City I had a 30 minute wait for a bus to Puebla. So far, mostly good.

90 minutes later they still had no idea where the bus was, not all bad since I had a chance to try and send my package from the mail place in the station. Attempt #1 was thwarted by my saying that the T-Shirts weren’t new. Apparently you can’t send used (used ever, not just currently dirty) clothes with FedEx. No worries, I’ll do it in Puebla and say they’re new.

I was aiming to leave Mexico City by 11am and be in [[Coatepec]] by 7pm. It’s a 4 hour drive.

I eventually got out of Mexico City by 3pm. I asked in another Pakmail but they said they couldn’t ship to England – attempt #2 down the drain. So for a ticket to Coatepec I searched. I spent the best part of an hour going between bus companies stands (each with their own queue) before a helpful lady behind me told me what none of the staff knew: I had to change in [[Jalapa]]. With a bus in 5 minutes I wasted no more time, bought a ticket and hurried off – before even having a chance to leave Puebla bus station, let alone see the famous cathedral!

Arriving in Jalapa (Home of [[Jalapeños]]) tired late and fed up I decided against finding the other bus station, catching another bus and then a 20 minute walk uphill, and paid a small fortune for a taxi to Shayla’s house.

20 minutes later I was meeting Shayla and Maureen for the first time, but this past 10 days has been too much for one blog post, so that’s another story.