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Pyramids and Pulque Day Trip Outside Mexico City

August 28th, 2011 1 Comment

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I’m so sorry to hear about Irene dominating the east coast.  Fortunately she’s losing strength, but according to officials, it sounds like the biggest threat of damage will be to the electrical system which lies underground.

Right now in Mexico City, it rains daily, but only for a half hour or so.  Afterwards, the sun rips through the clouds again and we are able to get out for another adventure.

An hour northeast of Mexico City are the ruins of the pyramids in Teotihuacan, a civilization that started around 100 BC.

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Gribran – our driver, tour guide, and Mason’s new BFF – took us around and told us a little bit of the history.

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The remains of the town span 22 kilometers of which we ventured around about a quarter. Built in alignment with the stars, the pyramids were used by the priests to worship and communicate with their gods.

All of the animals on the pyramid used to have obsidian eyes, but the stones were stolen over the years.

Whenever you see those big round circles on structures, those signify a god who is guarding the temple and people around it. (Apologies I forgot his name.)

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The entire town was painted/stained red with cactus juice so that when the gods looked down they would be pleased to see “blood,” meaning the people were sacrificing to them. Can you imagine having to do that??!

In those days knowledge was power so the priests who could “predict” rainy seasons, cold weather, etc were at the top of the food chain. They were smart guys and already understood how the sun and moon dictated the seasons, so they just got drunk on their ceremonial wine and spread the same messages as the years passed.

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See how the pyramid looks worn at the top? Well, it’s not due to weather. All of the peaks of the pyramids are gone because of the stupidity of a Mexican president who used TNT to expedite the excavation for Mexico’s centennial anniversary party. Unbelievable.

But thankfully that means the climb to the top wasn’t as long!

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It doesn’t look that steep, but oh my goodness it is! We learned that at the little platform at the entrance.

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On this trip I finally figured out how to dominate steps like these. I’ve done hikes up mountains and steps, and the idea to hunch over like I would on a spin bike never occurred to me.

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Lisa and I flew up that thing in minutes while everyone else trying to walk up standing straight were dying from burned out quads.

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Such a great day way to spend a beautiful day! When it’s not raining, the weather is a glorious 75 degrees.

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Gibran took us to a little local shop nearby so we could learn about the local products instead of just having vendors bombard us with trinkets.

This lady explained the differences in agave, aloe, cactus, and other native plants.

They have learned to fully utilize the manguey. From it the outer layers of the leaves they get natural paper, deeper in they discovered a natural soap, and in the center are natural fibers strong enough to make clothes with. The tip was their first needle.

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The juice in the middle is called aguamiel – a sweet honey juice that’s filled with vitamins and can be fermented into pulque, a deliciously smooth drink with a low alcohol content. Apparently it’s an aphrodisiac. Lisa was a huge fan.

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(You knew I was going to Instagram it.)

Cactus is a huge source of food and drink for Mexicans. Nopal is an alcohol made from cactus that is like a Mexican limoncello. Obviously you’re aware of the uses of agave. Mescal is a much stronger and smokier tequila. Locals love it. As for Renee and I, not so much.

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Of course they eat the cactus. I like it grilled for a veggie fajita. See it hanging out under the meat there?

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Before cactus flowers bloom, Mexicans cut them off to eat too. Called atun, the buds are sweet pulpy fruits filled with tough seeds.

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Finally, we come to the stones mined in the mountains. The most popular is obsidian, which they use to make idols and masks. Polished these are all really beautiful. The one in the back is gold obsidian.

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Ok, well, we’ve learned a lot today! Signing off from Mexico…

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Hasta la vista baby.

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  • Emme

    Hello,

    I found your blog Google BluePrintCleanse and so far I’ve found it quite awesome! I just wanted to point out an error you made, even though your entry is months old. The cactus flower bloom is not called atun, atun is the Spanish word for Tuna fish. It’s correct name is tuna, funnily enough : )