In mid-December we flew to Mexico City to do some research on the Aztecs and meet up with an expert on the Mesoamerican ballgame. Jon had been to this amazing city before as a child, but it was my first time. I loved every moment of our stay, apart from the crazy taxi ride from the airport which was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.
Our hotel room overlooked the Zocalo or main square, where music blasted out day and night, and the space was thronged with Aztec dancers in feathered headdresses, shoppers, food stalls, mariachis, souvenir sellers, faith healers, Christmas carollers, clubbers, portable shrines, announcers with megaphones, organ-grinders, policemen, church-goers, marching bands, and little children bouncing huge inflatable tubes.
From our window we could see straight across to the massive cathedral built by the Spanish to replace an Aztec temple complex, and the Governor’s Palace, erected by Hernando Cortez on the site of the palace of the Aztec king, Moctezuma. We could also see an ice rink, a ski slope, and a snowmobile track all somehow installed under the tropical sun to bring a white Christmas to Mexico City.
Next to the cathedral were the ruins of the Templo Mayor. The funny thing is that while the cathedral is getting lower, its heavy bricks sinking into the swampy ground, the Templo Mayor stays level as it was built on light volcanic rock – so, soon the Aztec temple may once again tower over the buildings of the conquistadors!
We also visited the floating gardens of Xochimilco to see the network of canals and artificial islands (called chinampas) created by the Aztecs, and drove north of the city to Teotihuacan, where we walked along the Avenue of the Dead and climbed the mighty Pyramids of the Sun and Moon.
Next we flew on to Yucatan for the “End Of The World” celebrations on 12/20/12. More about that next time.
While in Mexico City, we spent a lot of time in the huge Anthropological Museum and that’s where we found the prize for our first Jaguar Stones Club giveaway. It’s a tee-shirt with Maya glyphs on it. I filmed it straight after we bought it and then, because we couldn’t read the glyphs, found a Maya expert to translate them for you – and filmed him too! Link
What’s the most exciting city you’ve ever visited?
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you most like to go?