I love Mexico for its in your face realism. Mexico City is no exception. This nitty gritty metropolis is a bit rough around the edges, and although I admit I was slightly nervous to visit alone (anyone seen Man on Fire?) I experienced nothing but kindness and helpfulness from the citizens of Mexico’s capital. Transportation from the airport to the city center is easy and cheap, and although I was only there during a 15 hour layover en route to Argentina, I was able to pack that day with enough excursions to make my sightseeing-obsessed mother proud! (Love you mom!) At the top of my MC to do list? The pyramids of Teotihuacan.
Built around the time of the birth of Christ, this massive temple compound wowed me just as it has millions of others for centuries past, prompting it to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. A wander through the small museum at the main entrance is worthwhile simply for the cringe-worthy stories and illustrations of the human and animal sacrifices that were made to bury within the pyramids to appease the gods as they were being built. Thus the name Teotihuacan can be translated as “the city where men become gods.” Cool, but count me out for the sacrifice bit thankyouverymuch. Vendors crowd the Avenida de los Muertes (Avenue of the Dead) hawking silver bracelets and frightening whistles that sounded like banshees screaming through the night–gods forbid anyone purchase such a thing for their small children.
Climbing the Temples of the Sun (third largest pyramid in the world!), Moon and Feathered Serpent was a mighty feat, with each uneven stone step sometimes over a foot and half high. Thigh muscles working to capacity, I made it to the top and basked in my own glory (deify me now!) before catching my breath enough to bask in the glory of the ancient environs. From the peak of the Temple of the Sun, one can see for miles on end into the Mexican countryside. Colorful cross-spangled churches peeked from behind lush treetops, and mariachi music drifted through air warmed by a mellow sun. I looked down at the Avenue of the Dead 246 feet below and–after I took a step back from the ledge–thought that being this high must have been chillingly spectacular thousands of years ago. This close to the wide blue heavens, no wonder the ancients felt like gods.