Summer 2003

Summer saw the celebration of Soren's half-birthday. Given his birthday's close proximity to Christmas, and the difficulty getting friends together at that time in December, we have his "friends" party in June. Zoe's mother, Jane, and Soren's friend, Aaron, both came to visit. While they were here we took trips to Taxco, Veracruz, and Mexico City. Unfortunately we don't have digital copies of pictures from those trips yet, so there aren't any on this page yet. But as we recognized that our time in Mexico was running out, we also made several day-trips to interesting places around Puebla, and we do have pictures of some, though not all, of those. 



Tlaxcala is a small state, situated less than an hour north of the city of Puebla. The state of Puebla actually wraps around Tlaxcala on three sides (see map). The state boasts a couple of sets of interesting archaeological sites: Xochitcatl and Cacaxtla. Cacaxtla is really cool, with some amazing, brightly colored murals. But our pictures aren't that good since the site is covered by a roof, a very large roof, and we didn't have our flash with us (and I don't think they would have let us use flash to photograph the murals anyway) and we don't have a tripod. 

Xochitcatl is an old site, dating back about 3,000 years. The main pyramid was dedicated to the worship of the fertility goddess Xchitl. We were told that walking between the stone columns there was supposed to enhance one's fertility. The site has a remarkable view, overlooking the Valley of Puebla. 
The pyramid behind Zoe and Soren here (which can also be seen in the background of the picture above) is a unique one. It's circular, with a walkway spiraling around it all the way to the top.   
Soren's Half-Birthday

Soren's birthday is December 18th. This isn't always the easiest time of year to get friends together, and it suffers from the well-known "overshadowing problem". So, although we do celebrate the birthday in December, we have the "Friends Party" in June. 


Soren, accompanied by by friends, friends' siblings, and a Harry Potter Cake. Note the frosting on his chin, a result of the Mexican tradition that the Guest of Honor take a "mordida" of the cake, whether he or she wants to or not. 

Soren with some of his best friends from school: Andoni, Hugo, Allan, Eduardo, and Raul.


So in the late 1500s some Franciscan monks set up a monastery in Tecali, a small town a little over an hour (by modern ground transportation) southeast of the city of Puebla. Because of some sort of internal church politics, the convent is abandoned about a half-century later. So, for almost four hundred years this building has sat unused, with the roof and upper floors eventually collapsing. It's now an amazing shell with nicely kept grounds, thanks to the Mexican governments' National Institute of Anthropology and History. More pictures of the Ex-convent can be found on the Mexican architecture page. Tecali is also a mining center, where what locals call "onix" or "marmol" is extracted. This stone is apparently called "travertine" in English - a cool marble-ish looking stone that they make all kinds of objects out of, including a a chess set and a couple bowls that we now own. 


Orange trees in one part of the ex-monastery. 
Soren in a small nook. What used to be the main sanctuary is behind him (though the little window) - it's now a lawn. 
The town of Tonanzintla is just 10 minutes south of Cholula. The church there is like none we have ever seen. Most of the design and ornamentation was done by local indigenous people (as opposed to the majority of churches that were designed by Europeans). If you're ever in central Mexico the inside of the church alone is worth making a special the trip to Tonanzintla, which I've seen described as horror vacui, an apparent fear of emptiness - no spot is left without something covering it. 
There is a holy "Virgen" in the church on top of the pyramid in Cholula. Once a year she comes down and visits the churches in town. These intricate flower faades (there is a lot of flower cultivation around Cholula) were created and erected for the occasion. The one to the right is at the entryway to the complex of three churches at the center of Cholula, La Capilla Real, El Templo de San Gabriel, and La Capilla de la Tercera Orden.
This front of the el Templo de San Gabriel.
Three dogs lived downstairs from us. On this day that we left the front door open, the largest and most contemplative of the three, Nern, paid us a visit.




Last updated on December 18, 2003