After Jet lag won and I fell asleep at about 8pm last night I found myself awake at 2am and so I made good use the internet, 99% looking at memes and one percent discovering my Uber app works here, so transport to the airport would be easy. Before embarking on this trip we set our hearts on a trip out of Mexico City to the nearby remains of the Teotihuacan Pyramids. We had a rough plan of how to get there by public transport, it’s a popular spot after all but we had ended up opting for a private tour offered by our Hotel. Before we were due to be picked up we sat for breakfast and opted for breakfast burritos, preceded by a variety of fruits and complemented with orange juice and good coffee. The burritos, instead of the baby sized monsters you see at home, were small delicate things with no more than three ingredients. It turns out that most ‘Mexican’ foods are American creations and I’m not even a little bit surprised.
The tour we went on followed the same basic concept we have encountered all over the world. Get taken to the thing, get guided tour of the thing, go to a local workshop, get free tour from expert, get deposited in gift shop, spend money. I didn’t mind so much on this occasion because our tour guide was excellent, the goods on sale in the shop were conveniently things we were looking to buy and everything seemed to be good quality merchandise.
The pyramids were simply amazing. I’ve never been to Egypt or anywhere else to see them so I was positively overwhelmed at the size and scale of these feats of engineering. They are huge. Our tour guide was excellent and kept us constantly engaged with endless information. We learned all the basics, who built them and how old they are but our guide went into great detail about how they were built in line with Orions belt and that there are thirteen podium temples built just such that the full moon would appear above a different one each month. These guys had thirteen months, the way the calendar should be, not the ridiculous Roman nonsense we use today.
He also explained the Moon Pyramids role in this society and related it all to the phases of the moon, the female menstrual cycle and pointed out a distinct correlation between the numbers days, weeks and months of the year and the numbers of joints in the human body. I couldn’t even begin to explain it now but it made perfect sense at the time. It also left me feeling a spiritual connection with the place. These people looked for relationships and patterns in everything, of course they also raised people to be sacrifices, telling them it was their fate from early age! You can’t win them all.
The Sun Pyramid was more confusing, and a little counter intuitive to the opinion I had just formed of this ancient civilisation. This pyramid served to inform the people of the changing of the season, knowledge gained by observing where the shadows fell. It occurred to me that a stick in the ground would have sufficed but these people had strong beliefs in their Gods and went to great lengths to please them, ensuring a bountiful harvest. Apparently this Sun Pyramid was built over the top of a slightly smaller one inside that again was built over its predecessor. The tallest of the structures on this site made this pyramid the one we would ascend. There was no way we had enough in the tank to climb both. I still had to abandon H 3/4 of the way up as the last set of steps were very steep. It was worth the climb as the views from the top were simply awe inspiring and again I felt overwhelmed by the energy of the place.
We had a short interlude for the gift shop and the run through of how all the wares were made. The focus here is on obsidian and fibres gained from cactus leaves. There was also a whole area dedicated to Ofrenda’s that people had made as a sort of pop up art installation. They were all incredible but for me the one based on Disney’s Coco stole the show.
We had a quick look at the third of the pyramids, The Temple of the Feathered Serpent and it too was a sight to behold. The most ornate of the trio, it has many carvings and statues that are well preserved. We left feeling it had been a good day and well worth paying the extra money for a private tour. The place got very crowded once the buses we had planned to get started to arrive and the day was reaching it’s hottest temperatures. We were by no means alone when we got there early but it clearly got visibly busier by the time we left. Our driver recommended a restaurant and so we ate whilst once again being serenaded by a Mariachi band.
As we returned to Mexico city our driver, Rodriguez, pointed out the large settlement of small houses stretching up a hill. ‘That’s the real Mexico’ he told us., making a point that whilst 1/3 people live there, the City is the least Mexican place in the whole country. You could clearly see the smog from 90’s London has emigrated here, tainting the colour of the skyline but I doubt that’s what he meant. As we got closer we stopped dead in traffic, it transpired that armed Police had pulled over a small van and surrounded it. The locals waste no opportunity to sell things and this was no exception, a guy appeared with a cooler and went from car to car trying to make sales. He even blagged his way onto a coach. Meanwhile little stalls started to appear on the side of the freeway and folks were happily heading over to browse. Before long we got moving again and the crazy driving began once more. The rules of the road do not seem strict, our driver for example did not wear a seatbelt once despite there being numerous signs about it. People regularly drive in between lanes to gain ground and our driver actually reversed at a busy intersection. I couldn’t drive here. I’d be a massive ball of stress and rage quit! At about 3 o’clock, whilst this chaos was occurring it began to rain and the temperature dropped sharply by 5 degrees. I only knew that as the rearview mirror had a little HUD showing not only the temp but also a compass. It was about 26 degrees the first time I noticed it and was down to 14 by the time we reached our hotel.
Jet lag reared it’s ugly head once more and we snoozed away the rest of the afternoon. Our last venture, deciding to forget about the churros, was to obtain food and we chose a local trendy pizzeria with rave reviews on google. We got there, relieved it had stopped raining and an enthusiastic waiter tried his hardest to communicate with us despite the language barrier. He really wanted us to enjoy ourselves but it was made even harder by the overly red lighting and the loud rock music making it harder to hear him. Funnily enough the rock culture was the main attraction in going there in the first place. We managed to ascertain the correct size to order but could not glean much from the menu. H opted for the first one on the list and I opted for one with pepperoni. I openly admit that I did read the words, mashed potato in front of the word pepperoni but my brain couldn’t envisage that scenario and just outright ignored it. H was delivered a pizza that mostly has lettuce and sauces on, it was super spicy and neither of us managed to eat any of it. I took receipt of what was in fact a pizza base with nothing other than a layer of creamy mashed potato topped with slices of pepperoni. I convinced myself in the half light that it was just cheese but as soon as picked up my first slice, the whole lot just slid straight off onto the plate. It wasn’t good. I will never criticise anyone for putting pineapple on a pizza ever again. We paid and tipped but fled quickly in disgrace as we laughed at our own concoction of bad luck and stupidity.
That concluded our 2 days in Mexico, hopefully one day we will return and see more of the real Mexico, but for now our sights are set squarely on Costa Rica…