Mexico Part 2.

And now for your enjoyment, pictures of the pyramids we saw at the ancient site of Teotihuacan.

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The pictures do the place precisely zero justice. This is not Snorth’s fault. The area is massive and when you get up close to something you can’t photograph it then either because it’s so freakin’ big. Wikipedia has a pretty good shot taken from the top of one of the pyramids that conveys the immensity of the place a bit better.

Similar shot, more biggerer:

When we arrived we were standing in a little field in the upper left corner of that picture. The field was meh and the pyramids looked really small and I was thinking, “Okay, this is fine. I mean, after Machu Picchu you can’t expect to be blown away by all the ruins.” I was woefully incorrect. The guide said we had to climb one of those little flat pyramid things and both Snorth and I were like, “Pass.” I still remember the steps of Peru. They haunt me to this day. The guide said, “You really should because how you see the ruins now is not how they were back when the pre-Aztecs built these structures. They were covered with stucco that had paintings and there were carvings. If you climb those stairs you’ll be able to see some of those-” I was off and climbing. Badly. On all fours like a toddler. But I did it. And it was totally worth it.

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Look at those giant weird heads! I thought the heads along the sides of the stairs (those stairs are enormous btw, around upper-shin-high) were jaguars but it turns out it is Quetzalcoatl the feathered snake, a very important deity in the pre-Aztec religion. The cube-shaped heads are crocodiles (the guide said you could tell by their “tusks” which delighted me no end) and the doughnut shapes are very sacred and represent water. Interesting fact: this whole giant religious place (no one lived here, it was just for ceremonies) was built without wheels and the thought is that the wheel shape was sacred and was not used in construction. I think they used logs, or possibly the same technique used to move large stones in Peru, which is covering the path with smooth cobblestones and sliding them. Nobody knows because this group of people had no written language. Another fun fact: they didn’t use any animals for labor. They didn’t have horses or cows or sheep yet, there are no llamas in this area and both deer and bunnies are notoriously bad at being pack animals so it was all man-strength. When you see how many buildings there are in this place you really appreciate how long it must have taken to build this.

In addition to the cool carvings the whole place was covered in stucco that was in turn painted with ground-up stone pigments. Bits of it remain but it is sparse and in poor condition as one could expect.

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In addition you’ll notice that in the picture above there’s that pattern with the main stone put in the cement and then wee stones peppered around it. That is so you know it’s a rebuilt portion, not original. It makes seeing the original parts much easier. Apparently there was a lot of wear and tear from the elements. A good example of that is the next picture. The part above was exposed. The part below was not. Look at the differences in the faces of the critters on the side. They used to be the same.


I highly recommend if you’re in Mexico City you go to Teotihuacan. It is an amazing site and well-worth exploring. Bring walking sticks because if you go up and down the stairs there are no railings and the stairs are unforgiving.

After being there for several hours Snorth and I got back to the city and went on a city tour. This is where The Incident happened so I wasn’t paying the correct amount of attention because of the trauma of the theft and the hot booger sauce that had covered my forearm, but I absorbed some information. The first place we went was the parliament. Now, back here in the good ole U.S. of A. in a government building we would have murals of Washington crossing the Potomac or something, right? Not in Mexico, oh no. The government commissioned giant murals from Diego Rivera, a known Communist. And he painted what he wanted. As you come up the stairs you are greeted by the central part which is a giant battle between the indigenous people and the Spaniards.

Okay, fine. However, the mural off to the left takes a whole different turn. At the top is Karl Marx like Jesus and if you look about halfway down you’ll see a woman with her boob exposed making out with a priest (representing the church) and he’s putting money and a cross into her hand. Did I mention this is in the main government building? And the stairs are the only way to get to the second floor?

Off to the side are several smaller murals depicting the life of the people up until the Spaniards arrived. They show how corn was turned into tortillas and how the food was grown and how the dentist worked, basic village life-stuff. But it was not all sunshine and rainbows. In one of the market scenes there was an Aztec prostitute with creepy red teeth being offered a human arm for her services. I would pay someone to take the human arm away, but that’s just me. Once again, main government building.

Mexico, Mexico City. Murals inside the National Palace painted by Diego Rivera, Mexico CityThe murals decorate the stairwell and middle storey of the main courtyard and depict Mexican History from the life of Tenochtitlan through to the Spanish Conquest,

I highly recommend seeing this in person, frankly it’s pretty great. I mean, it’s weird as hell, no doubt about it, but awesome.

We also saw the Building of Lies, also known as the big Beaux-Arts building in the center of town. Look at it, isn’t it gorgeous with its Art Nouveau and its roof and all that?


Inside should be similar. NO. LIES. The inside is Art Deco. Art Deco and dark. You can’t even see the ceiling from the inside. I was so bummed.


It was cool to see that outside there was a Metro station from Paris.


And gorgeous jacaranda trees all over the place.


I think it is a testament to Mexico City that even though my phone was stolen I would still totally go back. I loved it there and I need to see more of it.

Next entry: my beading workshop and some of my purchases.

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