A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!


Visit Expedia…

Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

I was very pleased to win an award for this blog! Even better for you: click through for lists of all sorts of award-winning travel blogs.

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

My husband Kelly Hart is an ecological building consultant and writer who loves ancient ruins. He spent a long day roaming Teotihuacán alone. This chapter is his:

people swarming up the steps of the Teotihuacan pyramid of the sun

The lure of climbing the Pyramid of the Sun draws thousands.

I have heard about Teotihuacán for much of my life, but nothing can measure up to the real experience of being there and feeling the magnitude of these stone edifices. The scale of it all is enormous, measuring some two kilometers from one end to the other, and the whole site has yet to be excavated.

I could sense how it must have appeared to the original inhabitants, with the stone masses plastered with lime and pigmented in bright colors. What is visible now is the mere skeleton of the forms, and this skeleton itself has been “restored” in ways that do not necessarily reflect the original intent. For instance, much of the stonework mortar has been embellished with small imbedded rocks that give the overall impression of a studded design.

My awe was inspired not only by the structures themselves, but by the mystery of it all. Both the archeological history and my own impressions suggest that Teotihuacán has undergone many transformations. What intrigued me most were the earliest manifestations, which reveal a degree of craftsmanship unequaled by the later phases of construction.

Beautiful stone sculptures

These massive stone sculptures demonstrate the finest craftsmanship.

The image of Quetzalcoatl’s Temple shown above is an example of this artistry. Large, intricately carved and fitted stones depicting the gods Tlaloc (with the large circular eyes) and Quetzalcoatl (the feathered serpent) provide an impression of magnificence, spiritual depth, and intimacy.

Oddly, this powerful sculptural presence had been nearly encased within the walls of a pyramid built much later, in such a way that its magnificence was hidden from view. Evidently, the subsequent builders felt the need to mask the power of these images from the general public. The use of such finely carved, massive stones must have been much more prevalent in the early days of Teotihuacán, since remnants of this work are scattered around the site. Sometimes these large stones are incorporated into other construction, where the contours or carved designs are clearly out of context.

The overall craftsmanship of the later stages of building here is not nearly as fine as at El Tajín, where the stones – even though they were to be plastered over with lime and pigment – were carefully cut and fitted. At Teotihuacán, the general method of building was to use unworked, natural stones, mortared with mud or lime, which were later plastered smooth. For this reason, the overall impression of the remaining skeleton is one of stacked rubble, rather than fine masonry.

Newer steps built over older ones at Teotihuacan

A succession of steps over steps.

Above is an example of how remodeling obviously proceeded, with one set of stairs superceding another. When the site was excavated, this oddity was revealed. There are many such enigmas to be seen when strolling around the grounds. Sometimes, it appears that the restoration itself provided yet another layer of history to Teotihuacán.

[Next: Bernal, Queretaro, Mexico becomes one of our favorite places.]

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