Life and Travel in Puebla, Mexico

Non-Mexican Food in Puebla

If you want to know more about Mexican food, try taking Buzzfeed’s “Can You Guess the Dish from the Ingredients?” quiz.

If you’re fed up with all Mexican food, all the time, then here are some new restaurants for you to try!

Lebanese Food:

  • Yes, they have the traditional tacos árabes. But they also have tabbouleh, kepe, hummus, and stuffed grape leaves on their “Platillo Libanés.” It’s a bit pricey but worth it when you’re jonesing for something different. You can find these Lebanese delights at Tacos Dany, which is right by La Noria’s skating rink.
  • A buffet I’ve never been to but which everyone says is excellent, if a bit expensive: Centro Mexicano Libanés on Hermanos Serdán.

Korean Food:

  • Until recently, I thought Korean food could only be found in the esoteric barrio coreano in Mexico City. But lo and behold, it turns out there’s an authentic Korean restaurant, Min Joo Ne,  right here in La Paz. I thought the food was delicious.
    I'd like to go back here!

    I’d like to go back here!

     

     

    Japanese Food:

  • A far cry from the ubiquitous sushi places in Puebla, Stop By Ramen (on Zavaleta) serves– you guessed it– ramen. While the menu may seem a little pricey, their portions are generous. They offer a variety of ramen dishes with different toppings. The tricky part is that sometimes they run out of food, so you may find them closed when you were hoping for a nice bowl of noodles.
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Ready to dig in! The hardboiled eggs are my favorite.

American Food:

  • Of course there is tons of American food in Puebla. KFC, McDonald’s, IHOP, Olive Garden, you name it.  But I’m not talking about any of the fast food places. I’m talking about a restaurant that serves up the best food from my home state! If you’re craving good barbecue, Texas BBQ in La Paz has it! It’s the real deal.

Teaching Tips: Gamification and Reported Speech

(This is part of a new section of the site called “Teacher Tips,” for all you fellow English teachers out there!)

Last year I went to a “Congreso de Innovación Educativa,” and a lot of the ideas really piqued my interest. One of them was “gamification,” which is the idea of making a lesson, or even your entire class, into a game. Students can have characters and earn rewards for completing “challenges,” which can be anything from riddles to exams.

I’m just now trying to “gamify” my class a little more, and it’s been very time-consuming. For my first gamified topic, I chose Reported Speech because it is always so difficult for the students. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try a new approach.

If you’re not familiar with Reported Speech, it’s when we say things like, “Sammy told Julie to pick up some Chinese food after work. He also asked her if she was coming before or after dinner.” The thing that makes it so hard for students is that all the verb tenses have to change (in most cases); if Sammy says “Go to the store,” we use “He told her to go…” and if he says, “I forgot my homework,” we use “I had forgotten my homework.”

I decided to use the topic of zombies for my first attempt at gamification.

First, we started with the video “Zombies in Plain English,” which is on YouTube.

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Then, we did a reading on the science of zombies apocalypses. I adapted an article from Cracked.com by changing some of the vocabulary so that it would be more suited to my students, who are at an intermediate level.

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After that, I had the students read over my explanations of Reported Speech.

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This included some practice based on the video “How Does the Walking Dead Zombie Virus Work?”

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We did a quick review in the style of “Choose Your Own Adventure,” which I made in Powerpoint. A wrong answer got you “eaten” by the zombies.

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Lastly, we finished with an exercise which I based on the CDC’s “Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic” (yes, the CDC really has a published comic about zombies).

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During all the activities, I was keeping track of the number of correct answers that the students had, and in the end the students with the most points won prizes like “1 Free Homework Assignment” and “Come in 5 Minutes Late.”

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As far as Gamification goes, the activities were pretty simple, and not too different from my normal lessons. But the students enjoyed it (only one complained “I don’t like zombies! When will we stop talking about zombies?”) and I did, too!

A Third Visit to Teotihuacán

Being so close to Mexico City, Teotihuacán is a must-see for many visitors to Central Mexico. The large site and enormous pyramids provide a nice introduction to Mexico’s past. If you’re coming from Puebla, Teotihuacán is less than 2 hours away by car, or you can take a bus with Estrella Roja directly from the main bus station (the CAPU).

Make sure to bring lots of sunscreen, water, and snacks, since there’s no shade and it’ll take you a few hours to see the whole site!

A view of the site from the Pyramid of the Moon.

A view of the site from the Pyramid of the Moon.

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Endless visitors.

I think the upper class supposedly lived here.

I think the upper class supposedly lived here.

Climbing the Pyramid of the Sun.

Climbing the Pyramid of the Sun.

All the people on top of the Pyramid of the Sun.

All the people on top of the Pyramid of the Sun.

This reconstructed pyramid has the most detail.

The Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent has the most detail: You can see the heads of the gods Quetzalcoatl, or the Feathered Serpent, and Tlaloc, aka the god of rain (as the guide said, he’s the god that looks like Sponge Bob here). You can also make out some of Quetzalcoatl’s feathered body.

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That’s Quetzalcoatl’s head poking out of the pyramid.

 

 

How Many Types of Taco Are There in Mexico?

Cecina (salted meat) and longaniza (sausage) at a fair-- with salsa and toppings at hand, of course.

All the makings of a cecina taco: tortillas, cecina (salted meat), longaniza (sausage), salsa, avocado, onions, radishes, and cheese.

I don’t know the answer, but Buzzfeed has prepared a handy quiz (“¿Puedes adivinar qué taco es con sólo verlo?”) about whether or not you can identify twelve types of tacos in Mexico.

I got two wrong answers, one because I identified the meat incorrectly and one because the name, “taco acorazado,” isn’t used here in Puebla. Street food names vary quite a bit from state to state and even town to town.

Calling All Expats

The other day, I was contacted by a casting producer about a show featuring expats who are about to, or have recently, moved abroad. If you’re interested in participating in such a show, here’s the official casting call:

Are you an expat living in another country that might want to share your story? I work on a very popular international travel series and I am looking to document your move! If you are interested in being on the show or you would like to get more information, email me at JenniferWolfe@LeopardUSA.com with the subject line: RE: International Travel Series.

It’s not a scam, and I think it could be an interesting opportunity for anyone wanting to show others what it’s like to be an expat!

Cycling in Puebla

I’ve only recently discovered the world of cycling in Puebla. If you’re a mountain biker, there are plenty of opportunities in our three mountains (La Malinche, Iztaccíhuatl, and Popocatépetl) and the surrounding hilly areas. One of the best known races is Popobike, which doesn’t take place on Popo proper but rather in its foothills. 

And if you’re a road cyclist, it turns out all the two-lane highways leading out of Puebla are great for cycling with Popo and Izta as a backdrop, and for seeing some small towns along the way.

Road biking

Heading out of Puebla. Photo by Trilife Triathlon Coaching.

 

This church had the only public bathroom I could find. I also decided to make a photo opportunity out of my pit stop. :)

This church had the only public bathroom I could find. I also decided to make a photo opportunity out of my pit stop. :)

We stopped here to re-group. The name of this town turned out to be the very long San Juan Tianguismanalco.

We stopped here to re-group. The name of this town turned out to be the very long San Juan Tianguismanalco.

Christmas Vacation

 

 

Higuera Blanca, Nayarit.

Higuera Blanca, Nayarit.

Breaded shrimp and fried fish in Sayulita, Nayarit.

Breaded shrimp and fried fish in Sayulita, Nayarit.

The beach in Sayulita, Nayarit.

The beach in Sayulita, Nayarit.

The cathedral in Zamora, Michoacán.

The cathedral in Zamora, Michoacán.

 

 

At a park in Xalapa, Veracruz.

At a park in Xalapa, Veracruz.

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Laguna de Alchichica, Puebla.

Laguna de Alchichica, Puebla.

Our "rosca de reyes," or king's bread, was a little hard on its "niños Dios" (the white plastic babies).

Our “rosca de reyes,” or king’s bread, was a little hard on its “niños Dios” (the white plastic babies).


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