Saturday, June 9, 2018

Two Trips To Puebla - And Some Gringo Stuff

The last two weeks have taken me to Puebla twice.  Both times for work with little to no time to do any sightseeing. It was quite warm for the Poblanos although it was less than 30C during the day and 13C at night. The weather across most of Mexico has been extremely hot with temps hovering between 37C and 44C.   The Secretaria de Salud has been issuing warnings and recommendations to the public via television and radio spots.   It's hot.   

After a long workday, we stopped at 1 p.m., we took off for the local market.  We ordered a famous Poblano treat called cemita.  We have semita here in Nuevo Leon but our semita is a pan dulce made with whole wheat flour, piloncillo (dark, raw sugar) nuts and raisins.   

This is a cemita Poblana.  Homemade bread with a very thin milanesa de res (chicken-fried steak), wonderful local cheese, ham, avocado, onion, tomato, and an herb called pápalo which tastes like a combination of cilantro, arugula and rue.  For me, it's kind of a mint type taste but not minty, if that makes any sense.

We've used the heck out of the bedroom air conditioner (mini-split) and I am very happy with it.  We changed it out two years ago and bought, at the time, a high-efficiency unit.  Now they offer mini-splits with built-in inverters, costly but super efficient.  I turn it on at 5:00 p.m. and it runs all night at 26C (78F).  The bill for the bimestre (last two months) was 708 pesos for 740 kWh.  That's 2.8 cents (U.S.) per kWh taxes included.  Truly amazing.  So when I'm old and broke, I may still be able to keep cool and warm here in Mexico.

We've been trapping possums in the backyard with a failed attempt to capture a feral cat that is sick.  It has severe mite infestation and fleas.  It had gotten into the house and we were afraid it would infect our cat and house.  It was trapped but the gardener accidentally let it lose when he attempted to bag it.  The plan is to take the cat and have it cared for and spayed and then let it lose if no one wants to adopt it.  We take the possums on the back road around the lake and turn them loose.  I'd say it's about an eight km drive.   

On that trip around the lake, we passed the Cueva de Murciélagos (bat cave), the largest in northern Mexico.  They have a visitors area where you can watch them come out at night.  It's quite a spectacle.  This is a protected area so there is no climbing or spelunking.   Maybe you remember that we've had a bat in the house on several occasions.  Bad radar I guess.

Gringo stuff along with my CFE info above can be found online such as my recently posted Mexican airline fleet age, and now it seems that Mexican airline seating is the smallest in the world.  Well, that's on the web also and the seats range in leg room from 29 to 34 inches and that's not including first or business class. So that's a myth. One super discount airline gets a bad rap, Vivaaerobus.  It has lots of restrictions, but the best on-time record.  They've taken steps to ensure that record by eliminating all but a few connections and mostly non-stop flights.  I like the non-stop feature and the 35-minute check-in time if you have only a carry-on.  Most of my overnighters are a backpack and I carry a sports coat in my hand.  On my last trip to Puebla, I flew Aeromexico and returned on Viva.  I got to the airport at 2 p.m. for a 2:30 p.m. flight.  No hassles.

Another thing to do when you come to Mexico for the winter or full-time living is to peruse the shelves of a Mexican supermarket.  You'd be surprised how many Mexican products there are and many are regional.  There is usually have an aisle dedicated to canned jalepeños and chiles of all types and the other half is dedicated to bottled, canned and even hermetically sealed bags of salsas.  Here in the north, we have a section dedicated to carne seca or dried beef in all types of packaging and products even a sweet empanada made with carne seca, piloncillo, raisins, nuts, and spices.  I checked our shelves earlier and we have no foreign products, they are all Mexican.  Exceptions would be soy sauce and sesame oil although it is not imported but foreign.  Mexico also produces some good curries as well.  As I've said before, HEB stocks 78% Mexican products and the rest come from all over the world.  A Mexican cake made with Canadian butter wouldn´t taste like a Mexican cake, now would it?


  1. We flew Vivaerobus once... no problem at all. In fact, we've flown most Mexican airlines and loved it.

    Hey, we need to visit that cave next time we're in the area!

  2. The more times we winter in Mexico the more it draws us back .... the people, food, beaches and sunshine! Striking similarities in your pictures of Puebla to Contessa's in Europe...lovely.

  3. Chris, does HEB grocery stores also exist in Mexico? It never occurred to me to check since we eat out so much when we are in Mexico. I certainly know there are a slew of HEBs in Texas; it seemed to be the only grocery store conveniently located near my son's subdivision in Austin. WalMart was miles away. Didn't seem like much competition between grocery stores at all, thus higher food prices.

  4. There are 45 HEB stores in Mexico, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi and Aguascalientes.