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Published: December 11th 2005
Puebla to Tehaucan:
I think the guy at the bus terminal found it hard to believe that I didn´t really have a clue on how to say the namen of the place I wanted to go to (Tay-woo-can, more or less). Hence he emphaised to me where I was at the moment, just to avoid any confusion. I found this just a tad patronising, thinking along the lines of just because I don´t speak your language all that well, I´m not stupid.
Although saying this I remember a guy in Argentina telling me how people had frequently got off at either the preceding village or next village along when trying to visit the one with the hostel in. At this point they would call up confused as to why their map seemed a little misleading with rivers where roads should be etc. These sort of things are always have good comedy value for the locals, the walking up and down the same street constantly checking their map, with a big professional looking backpack and equipment on their back, is another favourite. I think all travellers have been there.
The road to Tehaucan gave me my first glance at the natural environment. The semi-arid plateau stretched for miles with the odd horse pulled cart farming the fields. We rose through the hills where the land become more interesting and beautiful giving me the urge to do some trekking sooner rather than later.
The town it´s itself has thrown up plenty of surprises to me in the 48 hrs I´ve been here. Walking through the chilled streets, my legs were giving in on me, so I sat down outside a random gate. To mine and his suprise the guy came home looking a little puzzled why I was sitting in his driveway, to ended up inviting me into his large, attractive house for drink. An interesting guy called Alfio, a young entrepreneur about two open two new restaurants in the town. Well educated in Switzerland and fluent in five languages, he was obviously someone from a very different background and life to most. He had dash so we went are seperate ways after he gave me all his details insisting I called him if I needed anything.
Later on I found a pasta place, rare here, and got talking to the French owner the whole teaching english came up and before I knew it they had arranged a interview for me at a language school the next day, along with a free meal and some more contact details.
The next on the way to the language school I bumped into Alfio again so he often to give me a tour of town along side him sorting out a few things. After meeting endless friends and relatives, all friendly and moving in similar circles he toke me to one of his favourite hangouts. He had asked me whether I liked cats, I said yeah, the big ones. Moments later we were walking in what basically amounted to private collections of tigers, pumas, ostrichs, bears, anything you could think of. Alfio strokes the heads of the big cats, I was little more cautios. He warned me at one point that some of them bit; I think my exact words were "no shit"!". Alfio knew the guy well who owns the place, well travelled and multi-skilled as a local Politician, owner of a steel factory and carer of wild animals from around the world. He also gave me all his details incase I needed anything. He had also bought a plot of land on the south coast in Oaxaca where he had planted some palm trees and planned to build an type of eco-resort. I said I thought this was a great idea and definetly would be popular with backpackers.
The whole thing was starting to become remanissent of one of those Mafia films like Donnie Brasco where I was being vouched by people to become part of the important crew.
A bit later Alfio, seemingly willing to work his schedule around me, take me out to a really beautful place full of varying types of Cacti, his niece came for the ride, but said little. Alfio told me that he was borrowing money off friends to start up his businesses and was still trying to get more. It was difficult to see why he was showing his face a lot around town.
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