Rudd On The Road
By Steve Rudd
Part Nine: A Perfect Demonstration of How to Protest.
Fans of folk who like to voice their opinions can't go wrong in Mexico. I mean, barely a day goes by without some demonstration or protest taking to the streets, and those in its favour tend to come out in such force that it's only a matter of time before the 'rally' passes you by. You certainly don't need to make the effort to seek out such rallies most of the time because they usually come to you, just like one did when I was staying in Puebla.
Having failed to find a hostel in the city, I'd had no choice but to book into a hotel: the cheap but cheerful Victoria on 3 Poniente. Incredibly, it was cheaper to stay there than in any hostel that I'd so far patronaged in Mexico.
Requiring no wake-up call to rouse me, a stampede of demonstrators did the job perfectly as they pounded the otherwise quiet street directly below my first-floor window. What exactly all the commotion was about I had scant idea.
Naturally curious, I sprang out of bed and descended to the lobby in order to ask the proprietor what was afoot, just as a squadron of almost thirty bright yellow tow-trucks passed the hotel's door, honking their horns to further assault sensitive eardrums.
It transpired that the demo was protesting against an unfortunate soul who had unwittingly become a political prisoner. Fired up by the passion of all the protesters involved, I hit the sidewalk and pursued them along the road, before the procession of people and vehicles swung around the edge of Puebla's truly beautiful Zocalo and ceremoniously ground to a halt directly outside the Municipal Palace.
A man on the back of one of the trucks proceeded to rally the masses with a long-winded speech that was evidently causing members of the Federal Police force stationed in front of the building to literally shake in their standard-issue boots, but the protest thankfully remained a peaceful one, and it eventually moved on, further across the city.
I did intend to keep pace with it, but a more pressing engagement forced me to slip away from the crowd, into a back-street 'cantina'. Scanning the menu board, I didn't know what I fancied for breakfast until I saw three heart-stirring words: 'cereal con fruta'.
Somewhat ashamed of the fact that I'd become a full-blown taco junkie in just two weeks, I both wanted and needed a simple bowl of cereal with fruit like nothing else. To be fair, a bowl of cornflakes topped with slices of banana and strawberries had never tasted so divine.
Afterwards, I continued to explore Puebla, a remarkable city first and foremost because it is reputed to have 365 churches: one for every day of the year. As I sauntered around the city centre, prior to heading into some of the neighbourhoods further away from The Zocalo, I counted over one hundred places of worship in a three hour period.
It's just a shame that the streets serving Puebla are so packed with traffic, a bewildering one-way system making the task of trying to work out from which direction vehicles are likely to strike an absolute nightmare.
While not quite as crazy as the mean streets of Mexico City, it's nonetheless essential that when crossing those in Puebla, eye contact with any drivers speeding your way is established as you attempt to get from one side to the other should no pedestrian crossings be in sight to aid your passage.
Crucially, such eye contact must be maintained until you are safely on the pavement at the far side. On multiple occasions I foolishly took my life into my own hands as I dashed in front of cars, yet it's often essential that risks of such downright dangerous proportions are taken, otherwise you might literally be waiting all day.
Alternatively, you could of course really cop out and just take the bus tour around the city should you really value your life. But where's the fun in being stuck on a bus when the intoxicating sights, sounds and smells of a place can only ever convincingly confront you at ground level?
Eschewing the temptation to pay my dues and hop on the nearest sight-seeing double-decker, I simply sucked in a deep breath at every road I came to - and ran.
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part Eight: All Aboard 'The Nerve-Shredder' to Puebla! By Steve Rudd
I really couldn't blame the lady at the ticket counter for giving me such a puzzled look. After all, I had just asked for a ticket counter instead of a ticket.
I was at the main bus station in Oaxaca City, Mexico, intent on buying a ticket north to Puebla. Having clocked numerous signs emblazoned with the world Taquiller, I wrongly assumed that such a word was the Spanish for Tickets. In truth,
Places to Visit - Cusco, Peru - La Ultima Cena Con Cuy By Ruth
The flight from Puerto Maldonado was uneventful. The flight attendant served coca tea, Inca Cola, and Cusqueno beer to interested passengers. The city of Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire, sits in the Andes Mountains. The elevation is roughly 11,000 feet. The updrafts buffeted the plane a bit during landing.
At the airport, old women peddling bags of coca leaves crowded towards the passengers.
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road - Catching up with Steve Rudd as he hits America in style ... Part 1 By Steve Rudd
The flight from London to LA was a long haul to say the least, yet it was made more tolerable by the company. I'd barely got settled when the guy beside me introduced himself as Jim Becket, a film director and documentary producer who lived in a place called Ojai, a little north of Los Angeles. He'd just returned from working in Athens where he'd sold the rights of his latest documentary to
Places to Visit - Playing Chicken In Turkey Part 1 By Steve Rudd
It wasn't the best welcome to Turkey. It was the dead of night, we'd just crossed the border, yet there I was, beside a Mancunian called Liam, being frog marched back to the tiny hut that issued visas. Upon crossing the border, us English lads had been issued the correct visa, but the official had inexplicably neglected to stamp the visas with our entry date.
Places to Visit - Roaming Around Romania By Steve Rudd
I was worried. It was four a.m., I was on a train bound for Bucharest, and somebody was tugging at my bed sheets from below. Coming around from a bout of deep sleep, I urged my weary eyes to focus. They were having none of it though, refusing point blank to reveal the person before me.
'Is there a problem?' I asked, hoping that a response might bowl my way in English.
Places to Visit - Gibraltar and La Linea, Spain By Mo
Recently I went on a week long trip to Gibraltar and La LÍnea, Spain staying with my mum and dad in their La Linea flat. My twin sister and her boyfriend were also at the flat on holiday for a week and had rented a small car booked online for only 60 quid for the week. I think that included car insurance too so a pretty good deal.
They all met me at Gibraltar airport and we walked across the border with Spain
Places to Visit - The London, Bath and Bristol Chronicles By Steve Rudd
I knew I should have taken the train. Being stuck behind a combine harvester is never fun in a car. In a coach, it's murder. The battalion of towering power-line supports that stoically marched across the dead level Lincolnshire landscape didn't help. From their indifferent vantage point, they simply taunted.
'Technology is overtaking everything,' said the woman in front, Read more...
Places to Visit - Kate Langan's Travel Journal - Thailand
Tonight we ate at a Thai Taverna, there was a baby elephant going by so Becky took my photo. We are staying in Phuket also as we have found a really nice basic room that's really cheap. It's clean and got 4 stone walls - not like the wood hut! I loved the wood hut but was bitten to death by the mozzies. No mozzies here - yey! And I'm not a huge fan of the cockroaches!
Places to Visit - The Three Peaks Of Yorkshire Challenge 10th June 2006 By Steve Rudd
'Good morning gentlemen - rise and shine!' As I slowly came to my senses I couldn't
help but glance at my watch. I'd been warned the previous night that we would be
woken up at 4:15am sharp, and barely a second later.
Unfortunately, that really was the case, and as exhausted as I was, there
was a mammoth 25 mile walk ahead...
It's a shame that I'd only managed
Places to Visit - A Weekend in Amsterdam By Dave F
Amsterdam is a city of freedom which instantly appeals on a lot of levels.
What's the point of a holiday if you don't have the freedom to go and do what you want, when you want?
If, like me, you want to wander aimlessly from coffee shop to coffee shop getting as
stoned as humanly possible whilst ogling half-naked women through dirty windows
and snacking heavily along the way,
Places to Visit - Christmas in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka By Dave F
I hate Christmas for too many reasons to mention and the chance to get away from it
all this year it was an opportunity too good to pass up. Knowing someone with a
house in Sri Lanka which stands empty for 9 months every year definitely has its benefits.
I'm travelling with a mate and his daughter who've been here several times before
so I get some insight
Places to Visit - Skiing In Bulgaria - Part Two By Steve Rudd
Giant Christmas trees loomed as far as the eye could see below, as I marvelled
at the extraordinary engineering it must take to make a gondola a reality.
After the thirty-minute ride to the top we were immediately greeted by a
stunning panorama of the surrounding countryside which was beautiful beyond words.
So pristine and so serene.
Well, serene if you can discount the
Places to Visit - Skiing In Bulgaria - Part One By Steve Rudd
I could have thought of worst places to be, seeing in the New Year, as the last
second of 2005 ticked over into 2006. Happy New Year indeed.
For the best part of the past ten years myself and my friends have contented
ourselves with heading into the town centre of Driffield every December 31st
for one of the few nights of the year when it genuinely hustles and bustles.
Places to Visit - Walking The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path - Part One By Steve Rudd
Get out of the city and into the country, sooner rather than later.
A great many people genuinely have no idea how scenically diverse and breathtaking some
swathes of countryside are in the UK, and such a fact is a great shame,
because while they might be spending all their spare time in dirty and cramped
urban environments, there's often fresh air and inspirational
Places to Visit - Thailand By Rich Mills
Expressing the experience of being here in Thailand is difficult to put into words.
The sensorial experience is so mind blowing that you begin to feel overloaded.
However it is the smallest of things that grab your attention, and stick in the mind.
We are waiting for a taxi to take us down to the ferry, so that we can go
over to the small island of Koh Maak.
This is where we will get the full
Places to Visit - Ostend Weekend By John Allbones
I needed a break. Well, you just do sometimes don't you?
The constant day to day drudge of the nine to five erodes your spirit until a
change of scene is all you crave. Nothing fancy, just a few days will do.
Preferably abroad, it just seems more of a break when you're on foreign soil.
I managed to grab a late deal on a long weekend in Ostend.
So desperate was I to get away,
Places to Visit - Eight Feet and Two Weeks On Crete Part 2 by Steve Rudd
One of the best ways of exploring the huge island of Crete is by car: in your own time, at
your own speed and in your own style.
Without the stress and cost of embarking on guided tours.
Head into any of Crete's major cities such as
Hania, Rethymno or Iraklion and you'll be bombarded by rent-a-vehicle establishments, all
of which are fiercely trying to