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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mexico City: Dia Tres

Day three was by far the most laborious, yet also rewarding, day of the weekend.

No these aren't terrible photo taking skills...
This church, where St. Juan Diego's tilma with the image of La Virgen de Guadalupe (or Virgin Mary) was once housed, is in fact sinking because the Mexica, as many of us know, built Mexico City (or Tenochtitlan as it was first called) on a lake. To become more familiar with this story, and really the history of the churches below, you can check out the story of Saint Juan Diego and Our Lady.

We checked out all of the commotion at the plaza, filled with a vibrant sense of community as people from different towns far and wide all gathered to perform local dances and traditions. Sidebar, we went on a Sunday, so you can imagine.

We set forth toward the new, more modern church which currently houses La Virgen de Guadalupe;
it was designed by the same architect that designed El Museo de Antropologia.

It was moving to see so many people bringing portraits of La Virgen Maria from home, as a tribute to her.

Our group of seven was separated as we made our way behind the altar to get a glimpse of the image.
We were moving so slowly, as a herd, only to get whisked away by those rolling floors (escalator-like with no ascension) the church strategically placed so that visitors wouldn't linger in front of the the Virgin.

It was also touching to hear this group perform after visiting the church inside. They had solemn looks on their faces, and constantly emphasized that their performance was for La Virgen, which garnered applause and joy from their audience.

Let's hear it for the Precious Moments inspired Virgin Mary.
That made me chuckle.
We were going to buy a Virgin Mary engraved in fake leather,
but couldn't decide whether to hang it next to our mezuzah or the hamsa, so we passed.

And, thus, the souvenir shop concluded our visit to the Basilica.
We set forth toward Teotihuacan, and other (unbeknownst) surprises.
En route, we passed through miles of a town that foreigners would easily assimilate to a slum.
Sturdy housing, but with minimal water.
It was painful to drive through some stretches, but the clutter that filled the hills all around and before us was impossible to ignore.

Our tour guide didn't let us eat back around the Basilica, instead we waited until we were closer to the pyramids at Teotihuacan. This is about the time where we can start zooming in on the suspects that led Queridis to be sick in bed, and gave me a mild food poisoning later on that night.
Below left: michelada Right: ant eggs and guacamole.

We made a surprise stop at a joyeria that had agave plant tutorials, and I thiiiink they made tequila there, too.
Here's a tearjerker of an image for my father, if I ever saw one:

Our guide, Jesus, hilariously explained the multi-purpose functions of the agave plant. Slicing leaves deftly, he demonstrated how the plant provided the first paper for the Mexica, by rubbing a part of the plant he produced a foam he claimed was one of the first shampoos, he pointed out its antiseptic properties, and most impressively, he cut the plant at an angle that produced both a sharp needle-like point with an adjoining fibrous thread that one could successfully sew with (these points are also speculated to have punctured early piercings).
He explained how the heart is cut out and how the nectar percolates neverendingly, and
we all tried some of it which basically tasted like sugar-water.

The guide showed us their workshop where they heat and process silver to make jewelry and sculptures out of obsidian, as well as different types of this rock- the most beloved being obsidian gold.
Personally, I prefer the more opalescent one.

Our brief tour was concluded with a more interactive demonstration on how to properly have a shot of tequila.
Evidently, sprinkling salt on your hand, sucking a lime and taking the shot was the method popularized by Hollywood in the 1950's, or what Jesus called "the gringo way."
The proper way is to sprinkle salt on lime, suck that mixture and retain the juice, then take the shot, mixing everything together in your mouth.
Either way, everyone's stomach was hurting sooner or later.

The site of Teotihuacan lasted approximately from 200 BC to 700 AD.
Around its hey, far-reaching regions like Veracuz and Guatemala recognized it as an empire.
(They've found seashells at the site, which implies that Teotihuacan had been in contact with more coastal peoples)

Our crew set forth to conquer the grand Pyramid of the Sun...
But first, we had to conquer the long line (our conquest was actually only 10 minutes).

After climbing the 270 + steps up, we were rewarded with fantastic views. We even touched the center of the pyramid, indicated by a small metal marker, with all of the people in the photo below. Touching the center is said to give an energizing feeling and good luck. The other pyramid shown here is the Pyramid of the Moon seen from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun.

We walked down the Avenue of the Dead afterwards toward the Pyramid of the Moon before we unianimously decided to call it a day.

A bottle of tequila and three and a half cases of Montezuma's Revenge (I recuperated after 5 hours, believe it or not), everyone's back home with plenty of fun-filled memories over the course of three (long) days.
Adios, Mexico!

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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?


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