Somewhere in the center of Mexico there’s a place where the words “silence,” “dullness” and “average” don’t seem to exist. A place characterized by colorful, lively streets and a beautiful view of a volcano from almost everywhere you stand. From churches to nightclubs–every detail makes this place what it is. This place is Cholula, where I call “home.”
Located center west of the state of Puebla you’ll find Cholula. This town is characterized by many things. There are a few of them that make it well known in Mexico. The spectacular views it has of “El Popo.” Home to the largest pyramid in the world and the largest number of churches and chapels in Mexico. That’s basically what most people know about Cholula. But as a local, you always get to see and live things differently.
Cholula is also known for being a university town. You can notice this right away on almost every street. Bars, nightclubs, hipster restaurants and cafes form this city’s identity. Every time you’re out you can feel the young vibe that this place has. If you live in Cholula you already know that nightlife is one of the main characteristics of this town. From Monday until Saturday you can find bars open and most of them pretty crowded. The weekends here seem to start on Thursday, when streets are crowded with traffic and you see drunk people leaving the many clubs. On the evenings many streets seem to transform into a different place, leaving the colonial history behind. It may seem like it transforms into a place where only youth, fun and alcohol is in the air.
Although nightlife is an important aspect of Cholula’s identity, places attractive for students (many foreigners) are well blended with the locals and the traditions. You can always see people of all ages on the streets. You can go to the market and buy all sort of traditional stuff and also buy food collected locally. During the weekends you can see many families enjoying their days off and having fun at the plazas. You can always notice the authentic and unique Cholula in every aspect.
On many streets, and many times a year, you can walk or drive by a church that will have colored flags from the entrance to the other side of the street and flowers on the entrance to celebrate something. Every day you can hear church bells or music coming from a far-away town party. Sometimes you can find yourself stuck on a street because people are walking from block to block walking behind someone who is carrying a figure of a saint. And some other times you can even find entire streets closed since someone decided to use it to host one of their family parties.
This last one can be especially annoying, but it’s all part of living in this town. I don’t know if I would call this “balance,” but I do know that in rare cases you can find this perfect blend. Where culture and fun can take place in the same area and not necessarily have to be opposed. The blend where traditions are respected, and new ways are introduced without drastically affecting the surroundings.
I think all of this is what makes Cholula special. Because there’s no other place where you can see all of this happening at once. Because there’s no other place that can blend religion, nightlife and traditions so well. Because it’s when you can truly find yourself outside of a modern and chaotic city without the sound of cars and stressed out people; although finding chaos in a different form. Despite this unique chaos, in Cholula people don’t seem to be ever worried. People here always seem to be having a nice day. People here are happy.