Teotihuacan

06May10

We decided that we should visit the sacred site of Teotihuacan while we were in Mexico City.

We were to take the train to the end of the line and then catch a bus to Los Piramides, sounded easy enough. The subway system in Mexico is very easy to navigate, similar to Washington D.C., each line has two directions you can head. They are defined by the station names at both ends of the line. The trains are French and they are fast and quiet. Entrances to the subways are often poorly marked if all. But once you are on the ride is smooth.

Buses are a different breed, they come in all shapes and sizes priced accordingly.  Busing people around Mexico is a true art and science. Typically, buses have a driver and a helper. The driver drives and is not to be spoken too. The helper collects the money and yells out the destinations when we stop to pick up or drop off people.  The helper of today’s bus assured this was the bus we wanted, so, off we went through a bright but smoggy morning air.  Traffic was moderate in the city but seemed to get more congested as we got further out. The bus had music – good sign for a fun ride. It was starting to get hot. We couldn’t open the windows for long because there was just too much particulate matter in the air and we would get covered with dust and diesel fumes.  We kept chugging along in an ancient, semi-swanky Volvo bus with speed bumps every thousand feet or so. Progress was steady until we turned a corner in small town and were met with an on coming tractor-trailer with plenty of parked cars on the sides. This created an impasse.  Helper and a bystander started waving and signaling as the bus and truck inched for position. We weren’t sure how long this was going to take. Both drivers jockeyed for the next few moments and each gave up enough room for the bus to tear on through.

About an hour and a half later we arrived at the backside gates of Teotihuacan.  This Unesco World Heritage Site is hard to put into scale but we will try anyway. You can read more about Teotihuacan here if you like. There is also a botanical garden and museum here as well which are definitely worth seeing.

Through a scan of the next photos you might think that this is  an exceptionally surreal place. A place that you could lose your self wandering around its sacred grounds with birds flying above. You might if it were not for all the ubiquitous hawkers. They are vultures and you do not need to be dead for them to feed. Hawkers is a term used for someone trying to sell you something – anything. It doesn’t matter. Mexico is filled to the gills with salesman and women and children selling everything under the sun. Most can be deterred with a simple “no gracias” if you are not interested and they move on. Teotihuacan has some of the worst and most aggressive. The place was over ridden with them and they really detracted from what we were able to experience. Though it is a well visited site having a close proximity to a city of 24 million people, the vendors inside the grounds were bordering on harassment.

We didn’t take any close-ups of hawkers but we did try to capture what we saw that day which was an astounding effort of labor and design that happened a long time ago.

The approach (with legitimate vendors)

The beginning

half way up?

three-quarters the way up

from the top

Calzada de los muertos (Causeway of the dead) looking at Piramide de la Luna

Plaza de las Columnas

Piramide del Sol

view from Piramide de la Luna

Piramide del Sol in the distance

Piramide del Sol

prickly pear cactus

Artifact

Artifact

Stone carving

Skull and bones

note jaw tooth necklaces

model of the ancient city

Piramide del Sol at days end

entrance to Templo de Quetzalcoatl

my amazing wife Debra on top of the Piramide del Sol

Back to  the bus for a rush hour ride back into the city and then an hour or so by train back to downtown.

Take Care,

Bryan and Debi

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