Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Viaje a Mexico D.F.

So on Thursday morning, I woke up super early and got ready and called a taxi all by myself to take me to the University. We had to meet there at 6 a.m.

I slept a little on the bus ride, and then we watched some movies too. The ride there, a 7 hour trip, didn’t seem too long. The views out of the window were really pretty too.

When we arrived, we checked into our hotel. It was okay, nothing special. I was worried because I had read that it didn’t have air conditioner, but I was surprised when I arrived because we didn’t really need it. Mexico City was cool, a lot cooler than here, and it was rainy too. We didn’t have long until we had to be at the bus again to start our city tour.

First we went to The Historical Center of the city to the Zocaló, which is like the “town square”. A “town square” for a gigantic town! I still was never told the verified truth, but I know that Mexico City is either the number 1 or number 2 largest city in the world, competing with Tokoyo. In the photos, there is an old building behind the gigantic Mexican flag, and then on the other side, there is the “city hall”. Notice the tents in the middle in front of the buildings – political demonstrations protesting the new President.

We visited The Palacio Nacional [National Palace] which was the meeting house and home of Presidents in times long ago. Now it is a museum and still hold offices for tradition’s sake.

Inside the National Palace were tons of Diego Rivera murals. It was really pretty inside. We visited the section of the Palace where Benito Juárez, a former Mexican President, lived.

Next we visited the Templo Mayor [The Great Temple]. The Templo Mayor is ruins of Aztec pyramids. In the 1970s, there were construction workers digging for a subway or for electricity lines and they discovered these ruins. We got to walk around them, then there was a museum to visit that held all of the artifacts. We even got to see the part of the ruins where they did human sacrifices!! < <--- ruins in the middle of a city <--- you can still see red from blood!

This is me with the ruins and the cathedral that we visited next.

The cathedral was gigantic! Apparently, Mexico City was built on a big lake and the cathedral sank into the ground every year in the past. Well, in 2000, they succeeded in fixing the sinking problem, but they are now restoring the inside of the building and still some of the outside, so we didn’t have all of the very best views, but it was still beautiful.

Then we walked to another museum with a private collection, so I couldn’t take pictures there. They were interesting paintings – and that’s about it. Then we headed to a hotel where they had arranged a dinner for us. It was yummy. I had chicken tacos, fried and beans and guacamole. They had a cute, tiny balcony to take pictures from.

That was the end of Thursday night. We went back to the hotel and crashed into bed.

The next day we got up and ate the breakfast buffet at the hotel – nothing like beans and tacos for breakfast!

Then we headed outside of the city a little way. Our first stop was La Villa de la Virgen de Guadalupe [The Village of the Virgin of Guadalupe]. This has an interesting story/history, so I will type it. I say story/history because when Holly was doing a report on it, she kept calling it a story and our lady, Hilda, got offended and said it wasn’t a story, because a story is fiction and this is history and fact.

Well, a long time ago, an indigenous Mexican – Juan Diego – was walking and received a vision of the Virgin. She told him that she wanted him to go to the archbishop and have them build a chapel for her. Well, he went to tell the archbishop, but he wouldn’t see him. After 2 times, he went back to the Virgin and told her that he needed a sign to prove to the archbishop that the Virgin really had appeared. So, the Virgin told Diego that she made some roses grow, which was a miracle because it was the dead of winter and very cold. She told him to pick the roses and carry them in his tunic to the archbishop and to not show anyone but the archbishop. Well, when he did this, the archbishop finally agreed to see him and when Diego lowered his tunic to drop out the roses, there was a painting of the Virgin on his tunic. They say that a ton of studies have been done on the painting and it’s pattern is impossible to develop with a human painter, and even NASA has studied it and if you use really high powered cameras, you can see images such as one of Juan Diego and a few more.

So this is what this village is dedicated to. We got to see the tunic with the Virgin on it. The village has all the temples that have been built to her over time. The last one built, where she is housed now, is very modern, despite it being built in the 1960s. The one before that is amazing, because this is yet another place built on water, yet there is still water underneath it, so when I stood next to the old chapel, it looked as if it was ready to fall over at anytime! I mean, the leaning tower of Pisa has nothing on this crazy leaning building.

Next we went to Acolman which was a Convent of San Agustin Acolman which I think was a Franciscan monk church. It was kind of creepy because we were the only people there and I think old buildings like that are creepy – and there were no lights.

Next came my favorite part! The Pyramids of Teotihuacan. They were so cool. And these pictures can't even begin to show how huge they were! One big one is the pyramid of the moon, and the bigger one is the pyramid of the sun. We climbed both of them, and it's seriously like climbing a mountain because the steps were so big and steep. I was sore the next day! It was a really cool place to see and I bought a little book, so I can learn more about thier history, so when I get back, you can ask me about it because I haven't had time to read it yet!

Next we went back to the city and had some free time. Me and some girls went walking to a nearby museum called the Palace of Fine Arts, but unfortunately the rooms and stuff were closed in it, so we just went to eat! Oh, and walking down the street, there are all of these small billboards with art and quotes from people about the political situation in Mexico right now. And people opposed to it have gone through and sliced the billboards, and then other people have taped them back up. Really interesting.

<---- our restaurant where they treated us very nicely and the mngr wanted to practice his english on us . . . <---- our view from the restaurant window!

We went to Starbucks in Mexico City too, so of course I had to commemorate that occasion!

The next day we went to Chapultepec, which means hill of the grasshopper. It is the park that houses the castle of Maxamillion, who was a cousin of Napolean who overtook Mexico for 3 or so years as emperor until he was overthrown. It was really a beautiful place. It was on a huge hill, so you could see all of Mexico City at the top.

Next we went across the street to the National Anthropoly Museum. It was pretty cool, and we ate there too. Before we went in, we saw these flyer guys who climbed to the top of a pole and wrapped their ropes aroudn the pole and aroudnd one of their ankles, then they spun down to music. After we came out, we saw some Indians doing a dance before we left!
<---- This is a statue from the pyramids that we saw the day before! <--- this is a game like basketball, but harder. they play it in the movie el dorado, if you've seen that, but our guide told us that whoever won the game, it was their honor to be sacrificed to the gods! <---- This is the real artifact of this Aztec calander [not really the Aztec's, but i forgot the real name] and apparently the most expensive archeological artifact in Mexico. <--- this is another human sacrificial stone, so that's pretty gross/awesome that ther is a blood drain on it!

Then we had a long bus ride back home. Unfortunately I got a little bus sick, but I am more than recovered now.

I will update again soon because yesterday Holly and I went horseback riding! Whoo hoo!


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