Does travel make you more creative? More compassionate?Yes, if you travel with those intentions.
Cholula is a beautiful, interesting town. Yes, there is this awesome pyramid there. But there is also a very strong Catholic presence. 365 churches. Easy to remember that number because there is a church for every day of the year, so every day of the year, there will be a festival somewhere in the city. Now, how's this for lucky. We were there during the festival for the Lady of the Remedios, which is the huge church on the top of the pyramid. We had thought that the fair was to celebrate Mexican Independence, which was evident everywhere throughout our trip. It turns out, this is the festival for the Lady of Remedios. There was a market, and a fair with rides, games, vendors of all kinds. I did not have enough money (Note to self: convert twice as much as you think, and bring your ATM card) for everything I wanted to buy, but I did get some saffron, molonqui stalks (an indigenous hair treatment) and a tortilla press. We also had a nice dinner. Later, we met some young entrepreneurs selling pulque (fermented from the agave plant, I love it!) among other things.
That pretty much was my week in Mexico. Everyone I talk to about Mexico asks if I felt safe there. I am grateful that Nuria was my guide and host. She changed our plans to be in Taxco, which is in Guerrero state, and has a very high security alert from the US state department. In Xalapa, there was a news report of students being kidnapped. On the buses, there are huge signs warning kidnappers that the penalty is life in prison. I wouldn't travel there alone, for sure, especially not being able to speak Spanish. But Mexico is a big country, and there are some places that have no threats at all. I do love Mexico, and I would go back again. It shakes you up. They have infrastructure problems, such as the tap water and plumbing, even in nice hotels. And there is poverty there so much worse than in the US (which is why they seek a better life in the US). I would love to learn Spanish there, and Nuria told me about an organization that would trade teaching for Spanish lessons. One of these days.
I have traveled quite a bit, and am using this page to record some memories. Travel is a wonderful education, expanding your view of the world, of other cultures, of the beauty of diversity.