I was quite worried about Nathan this morning. He has been off his
food and was notlooking to great. However after a chat I determined
that he was just homesick and not actually sick So we talked about
having a good day out today and then we will be packing to go home
We went off to change some money into pesos at the Western Union. We
were surrounded by expensive jewelery and guards! We then went
underground to the Metro. We were enveloped by a seething rush of
humanity, almost overwhelming. Nathan had never seen anything like this
before so he was quite excited. We only had to pay 2 pesos (20c) each
and we could go anywhere on as many trains as we needed to. So we took
3 to get us to the Central bus station.Then we found the bus to
Teotihuacan. It was about an hours ride. We felt like we were in a bus
sandwich as we were leaving the Central. The buses negotiate so closely
to each other and other traffic, can´t understand how they don´t hit
each other. Also, driving through the city is fun, as you wait at
lights there are people constantly walking between the vehicles selling
stuff like ice creams, newspapers, yogurt, drinks, I honestly don´t
know how they survive. The traffic here does not stop for pedestrians.
Nathan loves the lights because the pedestrians have a countdown of
seconds tolet youknow how long you have to get across the road. There
are also woman traffic controlers at the busy city centre
intersections, blowing whistles and moving the traffic. There are
traffic lights but they seem to need the whistles to get the traffic
moving along. Just more noise to add to the rest!!!
As we travelled further from the city we passed hillsides covered
with houses, obviously a very poor part of Mexico. We had been told
that as the prople move here they build houses out of what they can
find and often do not have electricity or water. From there we saw rows
and rows of housing, all the same, like tenement houses. Then areas of
maize crops. Because tortilla are a main food here corn is a major crop
and it grows everywhere. Even up on the mountain sides.
We arrived and walked past the market area. Everywhere here there
are markets selling all sorts of stuff they think the tourists will
like.We began at the bottom of the Avenue of the Dead. It is a 40m wide
avenue stretching about 2km to the Pyramid of the Moon. The first area
was named the Citadel by the Spaniards. It was small in comparison to
the other areas. But it must have housed a temple at one stage. It was
originally stepped and quite ornate but it had been covered up in later
years as the architecture of the times changes, nothing new really
eh? It is surrounded by stepped walls and on each wall is another
smaller stepped pyramidic structure which also house smaller temples.
They sure liked their temples back then!
After that we tried to find some food for Nathan but nothing doing
so we wandered along the avenue towards the Pyramid of the sun. He was
not at all keen to climb both of the Pyramids and I said he didn´t have
to. To just choose one. All the time we were constantly being hassledby
vendors trying to sell us souvenairs. Whistles, statues of gods,
jewellery, rugs, etc it was quite a challenge to get rid of them, they
were a bit like sandflies, you had to keep brushing them off! We sat at
the bottom of the Pyramid of the Sun and drank water and ate chips, had
to get Nathan to eat something. Nathan is fascinated by small things
and while we were eating our chips he was having fun watching the fire
ants trying to tow away the bits of chips we had dropped.
After that we had a bit more energy so started the climb up. It was
70m high and quite a steep climb in several stages. There were signs
saying not to climb if you had a medical condition and there was a Red
Cross caravan nearby, so I guess they must have accidents at
times. We got to the top, quite a while after Jesika, but we made
it!! It was a great view from the top – you could see all over Mexico
City. Nathan & Jesika made it down before me and went
toinverstigate a musical instrument that Nathan & I had seen one of
the vendors selling. It fascinated Nate so Jesika managed to haggle a
good price. Nathan then decided he should go busking and earn some
money – he is learning a lot from the vendors here!!
We walked further up and down steps, the Aztecs sure loved steps! We
found an area that had had a mica floor. There was a small part of it
still there and it was boxed in to keep the tourists from destroying
it, a man was there and was happy to explain to us all about it.
Apparently all the flooring was covered in sheets of mica at least10cm
thick. It also covered the top of the Pyramid of the Sun so must have
been really very bright as it reflected the light. It would have been
beautiful at the time. However when the Spaniards arrived they thought
it was gold and stripped it all and took it away. They had already
fleeced the gold from Colombia and were looking for it here in Mexico.
The mica came from Monte Alban near Oaxaca. I was really fascinated to
see it in such quantities and to hear this story because I buy it in
small quantities to use in my art.
We walked along the Avenue, still being hassled by vendors, and went
to see the Temple of the Jaguar.It is underground and has some very old
murals which they are trying hard to preserve. The stone work all along
the way was interesting. It had many patterns and changed a lot, many
photos were taken! After a nice cold ice cream we decided we had enough
energy to climb the Pyramid of the Moon. It is much higher. I stood at
the bottom and said to Nathan – how on earth am I going to get up
there? He was so encouraging, ´´Just one step at a time Mum, and then
have a rest when you need to. Just zig zag across the steps because it
is easier.´ This is the lad who didn´t want to climb the pyramids and
was ready to hoon up the 2nd one for the day!!!
So We climbed 49 very large steep steps, then 37 smaller but just as
steep steps, then another 27. Each lot seperated by a flat area. Then
we had to scramble up a rocky incline to get to to the top. The view
was great as you looked straight down the Avenue of the Dead and could
see all the places we had already explored.
After this we decided it was time to climb back down and catch the
bus back to the city. It wa a reverse of this morning but rush hour
traffic so we were crammed in the Metro like sardines at times. We were
so hot and sweaty that we had to return tot he hostel to freshen up and
dump all the excess baggage. Then we went for a walk to find some food.
We had decided to shout ourselves a decent meal as it was our last
night in Mexico. We eventually found Cafe el Popular- and it was
popular and good. We all had a big piece of beef. Nathan commented that
he really needed some meat! So after that with full tummies we wandered
back to the hostel.On the way we watched the guys performing their
acrobatics again. Then a large loud vehicle came zooming around the
Zocalo – an army truck full of soldiers. There were a cluster of
policemen on the corner so we asked if we could take Nathan´s photo
with them – it was ok. It is very common to see them standing around
the streets fully armed in their bullet proof vests.
Well, I have to go pack now as we leave tomorrow. We have just had a
hilarious converstaion with a couple of guys who were here visiting
from another hostel. One English and one Dutch. The English one may
just come and wwoof. We have had a lot of interest from folk that we
have met so could see quite a few visit us in the future.
Nathan is a lot happier tonight. He had a good day. So hopefully
after a good dinner and a better sleep he will be okay tomorrow.