We went to bed early last night to prepare for today; a full day tour to Teotihuacán. Around 50 minutes from the city’s center, Teotihuacan was built by a lost civilization. We had so many questions about their government, hierarchy, beliefs, and building methods. All went unanswered. No one knows why they left their establishment. All of the normal theories exist. Plague, civil war, or maybe they ran out of food when the river dried up. All that is known is it was built around 100 BC and somewhere around 700 AD everyone left or died. The site is under ongoing excavation and archaeologists are continuing to find more artifacts.
Before our tour began at 8am, we woke up at 5:30am in order to get breakfast. Another recommendation, Fonda Margarita was definitely a place for locals.
We all left with our clothes stinking from these giant, steamy vats of various meats and stews.
The one thing I’m going to take away from Mexico City is just how delicious black beans and eggs can be if the flavor is right. Throw in some hot sauce and man is it good! At Fonda Margarita they serve a sweet coffee. While I’m not usually a fan of sweetened coffee, Cat and I both really liked it here.
When we got to Teotihuacan it was very foggy. You couldn’t see very far, and from the entrance the main pyramid was completely invisible.
The guide explained what’s going on here. The temple with the more rigid lines is the new temple. They built it directly in front of, and larger than, the old temple to hide the old work. We still aren’t sure why the old temple was so much more ornate, but it’s a good story all the same.
You can see on the face of the old temple the original version of the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, the Museum of Anthropology has a complete recreation of this facade.
This is the view from the new temple of the old temple’s facade.
Check out the snake sculpture running along the bottom.
They call the large pyramid the Sun and the smaller pyramid the Moon.
Another example of the old and new. You can see that the lower stairwell was covered up and overwritten by the upper staircase. That is until excavation revealed the lower steps.
Here we are at the base of the Sun pyramid. That orange line that you see is a plastic corral to keep the crowds organized. Even though it seemed busy to us, apparently this is a fraction of the normal visitors who climb the pyramid everyday. When we were leaving we could see the line to get into the parking lot. Our guide told us that the line just to get into the parking lot can be up to 2 hours on busy days.
The view from the top.
The stairs were surprisingly uniform, although you could tell the pyramid was built in different stages. While each section’s stairs were consistent, from section to section the stairs were different sizes and the incline changed pretty drastically.
They call this road that runs between the Avenue of the Dead. In the distance you can see the Moon pyramid.
There are a lot of very beautiful frescoes preserved in the pyramids and in the residential areas of Teotihuacan. Here is a perfectly preserved bird.
After a really great tour, the guide screwed it all up. We read in the reviews about the tourist trap restaurant that the guides would push on us, but when we left we were hungry and knew that we were more than an hour from being back in the city, so we relented. The food was buffet style, made with tourists palates in mind, and tasted bad for the most part. After the buffet lunch, we were taken for tequila tasting. The tequila was awful, and it was less tequila tasting and more an overpriced gift shop. When I say overpriced, I mean it was significantly more expensive than any other shop we would find ourselves in the entire trip. The staff was pushy and rude. It was not a great experience. Above is the ONLY interesting part of the entire experience. We learned that the agave plant made paper, thread, and even the needle. If you want to see almost exactly the presentation we were given, check out this YouTube video.
We would later find out that some of the best souvenir shopping in all of Mexico City, against the advice of our tour guide, would be the vendor selling things on the ground here at Teotihuacan.
We asked the tour guide about a good market to buy food goods to take back home. We were hoping to find things like jars of hot sauce or dried spices. She dropped us off at a market not too far from our apartment. Before going in, I saw this piece of meat being unloaded.
The market was similar to the Bến Thành Market in Vietnam. Narrow pathways lined with stalls selling meats, produce, spices, and even prepared food.
There is art everywhere. Graffiti, murals, and these sort of screen printed paper pieces cover almost every wall in the city.
See the stained blue hands on this woman holding that blue dough? Yep, same blue corn tortilla taco lady at the end of our street.
Now for our first meal at Mexico City’s high end food scene at MeroToro.
I can’t remember all of the dishes, but this was octopus and sweetbread and it was fantastic.
Mussels and Mahi Mahi
The days are starting to get busy now. More businesses are open and the streets are getting more lively. There are street vendors everywhere that weren’t there 2 days ago. Shops on our street that we didn’t know were stores have opened. Traffic has gotten worse, but it’s nice to see the city come alive the way we knew it would.