Thursday, November 7, 2013

2013, Day 310 - Gods of water

This morning we awoke to quite a chilly day.  We all broke out our warmest clothes which weren't really all that warm and layered up as much as possible.  When we left our room to meet up with our guide we could see the white plumes of our breath in the crisp air.

Monica, our guide, was only a few minutes later than we agreed and given that she had almost an hour drive I think we can forgive her for that.  She spirited us away and in moments we were pulling into the parking lot at the citadel, the first stop on our visit to Teotihuacan.  Within moments of stepping out of the car we had a white and black dog come bounding up to us with great excitement.  He had no tail but his whole butt was wiggling with joy at meeting new friends.  We decided to call him Spot and he followed us around with his friend for over an hour.

As we walked to the first pyramid Spot and his buddy followed, playing and wrestling the whole way.  There are two pyramids in the citadel complex, the earlier is dedicated to Quetzalcoatl and bears his image and that of the Tlaloc, the god of water.  The second was meant to replace the first is called the Adosada platform.  The platform is open to the public and as we climbed and descended Spot continued to follow, urging us to pet him when we were standing still and getting information from Monica.

When we left the citadel other visitors were beginning to arrive and Spot stay behind with his friend in their home range.  From there we got back into the car and drove nearer the site of the Temple of the Sun.  It is the largest of the temples at Teotihuacan although its ultimate elevation is the same as the Temple of the Moon because of the latter's higher elevation.   Undeterred by the height we ascended the pyramid which offers an exceptional view of the entire complex.

Once we descended it was back into the car to drive closer to the Temple of the Moon.  Here we were able to see some of the preserved paintings with all kinds of iconography intact.  We also had a display of how the red dye was collected that the residents used to adorn the stucco that covered all the structures.  It is extracted by grinding the eggs of an insect that nests on the cactus paddles and is then set using the liquid extracted from the same cactus.  The intensity of the color and the amount produced by a tiny collection of eggs was staggering.  At the Temple of the Moon we were only permitted to climb to the top of the first platform but the cloudy morning made for a spectacular view of the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl in the distance.

By this time it wasn't quite noon but because we had such an early start when Monica suggested we eat we jumped at the suggestion.  She took us to her favorite place where we had nice big breakfasts.  It was so much food that even though we were starving none of us was able to eat all that was set in front of us.

After lunch Monica took us by our hotel to help us arrange to have some laundry done before taking us back to the temple complex.  We continued to explore some of the smaller sites where people made their homes.  While these were small complexes of structures it was here that the best examples of the art was preserved.  We saw jaguars, coyotes, serpents, birds, gods, depictions of paradise, and all kinds of depictions of daily life illustrated on the walls.  It was very interesting and always there were images of the two sacred liquids; water and blood.

At one point I was able to distract Monica into examining some of the large spiders that spin their webs on the cacti.  When we discovered little fat grasshoppers in the tall grass she really started to take note.  Soon we were all looking at the grasshoppers who appeared to be having an orgy of sorts in the grass around the cacti.  It was a fun diversion and I think I got some good pictures.

Soon it was getting late and Monica told us that the archeological site closes at four o'clock.  I couldn't believe the day had gone by so quickly.  Although we got a chilly start it was perfect weather for running around and climbing pyramids.  Fortunately we have already booked her for another archeological site in a couple days, she was definitely worth the expense.

So we headed back to the hotel where we whiled away much of the afternoon reading and playing on the internet.  Although none of us had much of an appetite after our huge meal earlier we decided to go out and find a little something just to be safe.  I guess it is a good thing we only wanted something little because none of the restaurants was open, probably because temple complex closed hours ago.  Oh well, we went back to the bakery we stopped by last night and bought some bread and found some cheese at a little corner store and that was our dinner.  Now we're finishing up the day and getting ready to call it an early night.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
26mm, f5.6, merged layers of 1/800, 1/400, and 1/200 sec @ 100 ISO

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