“What Keeps Me in Mexico? The Enchanting City of Puebla”

I found this article today by a woman who lives here, she sums up my exact feelings of why I stay in Puebla…

Topics: Living

Written by: Mexico Living

Published: Friday, December 2, 2011

By Rebecca Smith Hurd

“When I arrived in Puebla in August 2007 to study Spanish, I’d planned to stay for four months. Four years later, I’m still here, happily, with no plans to leave anytime soon. I recently traded-in my tourist visa for an immigrant one and even started consulting for the state.

I suppose that makes me an expat, but I dislike the term, because it suggests that I’ve been banished or exiled from my native country, or given up my allegiance to it, surrendering my U.S. passport in some dramatic act of political defiance. I’ll admit there are moments when the latter has seems awfully attractive, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth. I love the United States. I love Mexico. And, in an era of globalism in which we are increasingly interdependent, I cannot imagine ever choosing one side of the border over the other. So, I call myself a foreign resident and leave it at that.

I decided to live in Puebla for many reasons, but mostly because the city is so authentically itself. There is no other place in Mexico quite like it: Its Colonial aesthetic, its urban attitude, its diverse cultural landscape, its natural beauty, and its amazing cuisine (hello, mole) are all so proudly and profoundly poblano that they set the city apart from everywhere else.

Puebla is a city of contrasts, which I find incredibly alluring. For instance:

Although Puebla is a major metropolis (Mexico’s fourth-largest, with some 1.5 million residents), it doesn’t feel like one. The capital city has the characteristics of a safe, suburban town: Shop owners tend to be friendly. Taxi drivers generally aren’t scary. Many restaurants close early on weeknights. The city’s main square, flanked by cobblestone streets and dotted with shade trees, is picturesque and filled with families on the weekends. An abundance of historic buildings, many of which were erected by Spanish settlers in the 16th and 17th centuries, give the entire urban core a surprisingly quaint feel, and quite a few have been preserved or restored to their original splendor. A stroll around downtown can take you back in time.

Although it’s nearly 500 years old, Puebla offers the kinds of modern amenities that foreign residents typically seek: A mild year-round climate. Affordable housing and medical care. Private schools and major universities. Airport access. Ample shopping opportunities, including big-box retailers. Puebla ranks among the 150 richest cities in the world and, unlike most areas of Mexico, has a sizable middle class. This means I can find everything from rock-bottom prices on local services (150 pesos per week for housecleaning) to completely out-of-my-league prices on imported luxury goods (5,000 pesos for a Coach purse).Though many locals understand English, relatively few speak it with confidence, making Puebla an ideal place to learn Spanish. Foreigners here have ample opportunity to practice newly acquired linguistic skills — and become better global citizens in the process. Even if your vocabulary, grammar, or pronunciation isn’t perfect, any attempts to habla español are appreciated.

Last, but not least, there’s the food. Forget heaping plates of beans, rice, cheese, and whatever else you thought you knew about Mexican cuisine. Puebla’s restaurateurs serve up a impressive array of regional deliciousness, from classic staples like tinga (a chipotle-laced chicken stew) to exotic seasonal specialties like escamoles (ant eggs). The street fare is excellent, too, whether you bite into a taco árabe (shawarma-style pork on flatbread) or a real chalupa (fried corn tortilla topped with salsa, onions, and shredded meat).

I often wonder why more foreigners haven’t discovered Puebla. They’re totally missing out.”

Rebecca Smith Hurd, founder of the travel blog AllAboutPuebla, works as a freelance writer and editor for U.S. clients, and as an adviser to the state of Puebla’s international affairs office. Here’s a link to Rebecca’s wonderful blog:

http://www.puebla-mexico.com/

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7 responses to ““What Keeps Me in Mexico? The Enchanting City of Puebla”

  1. Thank you, Pamela. I love having more of a setting for you. It sounds wonderful and, I’m hungry now!

    margo

  2. Margo, this city holds a certain charm, and it has a hold over me and my husband. The Mexican cuisine is terrific, and it has international food as well. My husband just recently discovered a Kosher catering restaurant. Pastrami! 🙂

  3. In a nutshell all the goodness of a Mexican flavor right at your doorstep. Whatever we want and cannot get apparently all there for you for the asking. You must be having fun Pam!

    Hank

  4. Hank, indeed that is true, and who would have ever thought. Certainly, not me. You can drive a half an hour on the outside of the city and the landscape changes completely. You can see burros heavily burdened with stacks of alfalfa. Truly amazing and different from the city life.

  5. magicalmysticalteacher

    I was in Puebla (and Cholula) in March. I had hoped to see Popocatépetl. Alas, it was shrouded in mist. I guess that means I’ll have to come back, doesn’t it? Puebla’s Zocalo is a superb place to hang out and watch the locals. I love the city!

  6. mmt, it is indeed a lovely place to watch the world go by, as is Cholula. We love living here, if you come back let me know. We can meet up 🙂

  7. I forever visit your blog and retrieve everything you post here but I never commented however these days when I saw this post, i couldn’t stop myself from commenting here. nice mate!

I appreciate all comments.

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