In December 2007, my best-friend-for-life Josie Bloomfield and I visited my good friend Jose Luis Carballido in his hometown of Puebla, Mexico, for Christmas week. (Please click on photos for captions and larger images.)

Although Jose Luis invited us to stay with his family there, we did not want to impose during the holidays, so instead we stayed at a 16th C. convent that had been converted into a boutique hotel.  It was located in downtown Puebla, so that on Christmas morning we could stroll out the door and join folks on the morning paseo.  It is a lovely hotel that still reflects its original purpose.

Jose Luis had recently become engaged to the beautiful and brilliant Claudia.  They have since married and have two three-year-old twin boys. We got to have a sumptuous Christmas dinner with Jose Luis, Claudia, and Jose Luis’s family.  Josie did a much better job speaking Spanish with Jose Luis’s sisters than did I!  But I did play a couple of flamenco songs on guitar and listened to his sister and his father play and sing, as well.  Sadly, his mother passed away shortly after this holiday.

Jose Luis and Claudia

One day Jose Luis took Josie and me to meet more of his friends from the University of Puebla, where he and Claudia are professors, in the nearby town of Cholula. We had lunch there and saw the pyramid, tunneling under it, although we didn’t attempt the ascent.  While in Cholula, Jose Luis got me my birthday present (my birthday is the day after Christmas):  a lovely embroidered red dress.

It was truly a Christmas to remember!

My birthday present from Jose Luis