Day 2: Teotihuacán

Trip Start Jun 30, 2007
Trip End Jul 07, 2007

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Monday, July 2, 2007

(Taken from my Moleskin journal)
  Right now Jamie and I are sitting at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun (second largest pyramid in the world to the Great Pyramid of Cholula in Egypt) with our feet hanging over the top platform or tier, just below the pinnacle of the pyramid.  It's partly cloudy and I can feel the sun baking my exposed legs.  There's quite a few people up here.  We met some from the Netherlands and two more from Denmark.  OUCH, some type of little black beetle just bit the back of my leg.  There are a good mixture of tourists out today.  Many Asians, only a couple Americans.  A lot of Europeans and native Mexicans are here.  We've got a great view of the Pyramid of the Moon from here.  OK, a bee is starting to get friendly with Jamie, time to get up.  We got plenty of photos and now for the trek back down these steep stone steps.  One slip from up here and it would mean your life.  We already saw an ambulance taking someone down as we began our climb to the top.  
  Let me go back to the beginning of our day.  My Timex Expedition watch went off at 5:30am.  We ate some meager breakfast food, got dressed quickly because our Radio Taxi was at the gate at 6:10.  We were dropped off at Casino de la Selva to get a Pullman de Morelos bus to Teotihuacán.  We decided that in order to survive this trip we would have to pay with credit card for the bus.  Well both cards we had were denied.  So we began to freak out a bit.  We really weren't sure what to do.  Fear and panic began to creep up on us.  So we finally found an ATM.  My first credit card was denied.  Yikes!  Fortune smiled down on us because the second was accepted.  We took out 1500 pesos or about $150 US.  We purchased our tickets and were on our way to Mexico City.  The buses from Cuernavaca can't get you directly to Teotihuacán.  We hit Mexico City right around rush hour and arrived at one of the city's main bus/metro terminals.  We found our guide Hadjia, who we decided to pay some money to get us through the Mexican subway system.  She was a very nice lady and took us on the subway and gave us directions and instructions.  She as well only spoke a few words of English, so thankfulness for Jamie and her Spanish.  It turns out it was a very good idea to hire this woman to guide us because we may not have gotten to the city's northern bus terminal.  It could have been a disaster.  Speaking of disaster, we both left our hats at Casa HOY.  My head will fry.  I'll have to find a hat at Teotihuacán.  We boarded another bus that dripped water onto my right shoulder near the entire trip as we drove through some very small and poor towns to get to our destination.  One of those were Tepexpan that I know of.  We arrived at Teotihuacán about 10am.  It was overcast and cool outside.  we came in at Puerta 1 and through a "souvenir" area, more vendors and their sales.  Well we stopped at a couple.  We bought a tour guide for the archaeological site, I have a "safari" hat that buttons up on two sides and we also bought an agua grande.  
  We entered though a building and walked directly towards the citadel or cuidadela, the geographic center of this once thriving ancient city.  After ignoring the pushy souvenir guys walking around inside the site we climbed into the citadel and could easily see the looming figures of the two pyramids in the distance.  We climbed up a small pyramid directly in front of Quetzalcoatl's Pyramid.  Unfortunately this was closed to the public as they were doing some excavation work.  Quetzalcoatl's pyramid has some excellent stone work on it with depiction of Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc, the rain god.  We left the citadel and began our walk up the Avenue of the Dead. It was a mile walk up and down steps and flat ground to get to the Pyramid of the Sun. Along the way we made a few stops to look at some murals and underground chambers.  We got to the base of the Sun Pyramid and admired it.  Then we climbed to the top and relaxed.   After we escaped the bee, we headed back down.  Stopping at each tier to get different photos along the way.  We walked to the Pyramid of the Moon and climbed to the first tier.  The rest of this pyramid was closed to the public, very unfortunate.  The views from the top are supposed to be magnificent as you can see all the way to the citadel and the Sun Pyramid.  However, the views from the first tier were also fantastic. 
After we climbed back down we explored the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl or the Plumbed Butterfly.  There were a lot of surviving murals here.  From the look of things they still have some excavating to do as well. 
  Getting hungry we walked towards the museum which is behind the Sun Pyramid.  We hit the bathrooms first and then took a quick stroll through their botanical garden of desert plants.  Then we found the Museum.  It was very nice with an excellent collection of artifacts.  They have murals, stone artifacts and skeletons of dead Aztecs.  At the museum's mid-point there is a scale model of the original city.  Massive.  They built a large, see-through bridge for people to walk over in order to see everything.  We finished the museum and walked out of Puerta 5 next to it, through the souvenir stands and out of the park.  We saw a billboard for what we were looking for, La Gruta.  The sign said La Gruta 500 meters.  We walked down a dirt road to what looked like nowhere.  There were some small rock formations and small caves along this path wide enough for a car.  We crossed a stray pit pull and kept on walking at a faster pace.  Jamie saw a local walk into a cave, pull his pants down and squat.  We reached La Gruta and were glad we did.  It's a restaurant inside a very large cave which is open year round.  After a lunch of fajitas con pollo, we came back and bought a gold plated plate featuring the Aztec Sun Stone (which is displayed in Mexico City).  We headed back towards Puerta 1, which took a while, purchased another aqua grande and waited for our bus to arrive.  We had a nice conversation with a homosexual couple from Texas while we waited.  The bus arrived and we boarded.
  The ride back was much faster.  We bypassed all the small towns on the way.  We arrived in Mexico City and confused on where we were we got up and asked the bus driver if we passed the Indio Verde stop yet.  He said no, so we sat back down.  A short while later, a woman with a baby at the front was pointing at me and saying something I couldn't understand.  It was our stop and the bus driver and this woman helped us out.  Even after we got off at our stop, she was kind enough to direct us to the subway entrance.  People here are very friendly.  We successfully navigated our way through the subway, thanks to Hadjia and got another Pullman de Morelos bus back to Cuernavaca. As we came over the mountains Cuernavaca was completely covered in clouds, must be raining.  We got home about 7:00pm and had some more PB & J.  We prepared materials for our trip back to the teen center tomorrow then went to bed.
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