July 31st 2012 – Teotihuacan, Mexico

We joined a couple from lima. Peru and a family from Venezuela on a trip to Teotihuacan, an ancient city of pyramids just outside of Mexico city. Our first stop though was a really interesting place where they grow cactus to make Tequilla and Mescal. Me and Jane were given our own English speaking guide, and she showed us some fascinating stuff. She took us over to a giant cactus, which had the core cut out to allow the cactus juice to pool in the centre, and this is what they ferment to make the alcohol, lethal stuff! The worm that they put in Mescal bottles also lives in the cactus (apparently very good to eat). Then she took a hold of one of the cactus barbs and stripped it back to create a perfect needle with thread (fibers from the plant) already attached. Then she pulled off two perfect sheets of paper from inside the stem, and finally she showed us the centre of the leaf which was a fibre that she herself uses to make clothes and bags – oh, and you can eat it too. Clever plant or what?!

cactus

They make the alcohol from this one!

They also have stone carvers here that work mainly with Obsidian (a black natural glass) but a few other types of marble type stone too. Some of the work is amazing, mainly copies of ancient Aztec and Mayan artifacts (if you buy them, bizarely, you get a certificate of authenticity so that you can get it through customs – no-one leaves Mexico with a real artifact!) It was a genuinely interesting place, where we got a few free shots of Tequilla, and tried the disgusting Mescal, and bought the only Obsidian piece we could afford – a key ring:)

carvings

Mayan priest carving wearing Jaguar head (in marble)

The next stop was the Pyramids, and even though we have seen a few archeology sites now, this one turned out to be a real surprise. Its a massive site in an great setting, with the third largest pyramid in the world – and you can climb up to the top of it!

The first area of the site had some really cool carvings of jaguars, snakes and sea creatures, which were in amazing condition (they don’t know how old the site is but its pre Aztec) covering a stepped pyramid just beyond a huge amphitheatre.

stone jaguar

Carvings at Teotihuacan

Further up a long ceremonial walkway is the Pyramid of the Sun, (the biggy) and we climbed to the top for amazing views over the valley to the mountains beyond. Its a killer of a climb but well worth it!

Pyramid of the sun

Pyramid of the Sun

Another long walk, past a lot of stone platforms and structures that line the way, took us to the Pyramid of the Moon – and this gives the best view of the whole site – which is easily over a mile long and an awesome sight from the upper platform of this pyramid. What’s really cool about this place is that there is a lot of evidence that the whole place, every pryamid, building, walls and floors where all painted in bright colours, it must have looked pretty impressive… actually it still does.

Ceremonial walkway

Ceremonial walkway – taken from the Pyramid of the Moon (click to enlarge)

This is more Janes thing than mine, but I have to admit that Teotihuacan is worth seeing, in fact the whole day was very enjoyable, even if we did have to go to a church on the way back – Guadalupe Basillica – one of those places where five churches have been built, right next to each other because a “vision” occurred back in the fifteen hundreds. Yeah right. But heres a pic if you’re interested (I’m not)…

churches

Churches of Guadalupe Square

Our last night in Mexico was spent on Garibaldi Square, just outside our hotel, drinking beers and watchng the mad mexican world go by. I paid for a group to sing for Jane – it was hilarious, a guy in a red poncho and sombreo singing a love song to jane, with trumpets, guitars and backing vocals! Her face was a picture. Not sure I’m forgiven for that one… but what a laugh!

Mexico has been great, and it feels like we have been here much longer than a month as we have packed so much in, but it feels good to be heading for Florida tommorrow…..our last stop!

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