Round one of the highlights of our trip to Mexico City. I think the title explains it fairly well. The first two are sights that thousands of people before me have already immortalized, but the last one is all mine.
First, the ruins at Teotihuacán. There are two main pyramids: Pirámide del Sol (Sun) and Pirámide de la Luna (Moon). Here we're on the latter:
An entire town surrounds the pyramids, and some of the paintings have been preserved quite well. There are brochures and guided tours that explain what each brick used to be and what the residents most likely used each area for, but we had more fun coming up with our own explanations. Besides, I've read enough history to have a basic idea. Playing fields? Check. One-room homes? Check. Sacrificial altars? Check.
The brochure says it's four kilometers from the parking lot to the Moon Pyramid, so we walked at least 8K, and that's not counting the hike skyward. Ibis and I are both in good shape, but the elevation in Mexico City is nearly a mile higher than here in Zihua and my lungs could feel it.
The following day we went on a tour of downtown Mexico City. Yes, that meant more walking, but fortunately the majority of the trip was on a double-decker tour bus, aka turibus.
This is the Mexican white house -- El Palacio Prediential -- where Felipe Calderón does his thing. There was a small barricade surrounding the building, but nothing compared to the security in Washington, DC. I didn't notice many guards there (besides in the doorways) but another building on the plaza had at least 30 armed guards all lined up along the pedestrian pathway. Maybe Felipe was getting lunch there?
Finally, one bizarre story for today. You can't really see it, but in the middle of the block there's a blue sign that says "WC" (water closet). Yes, this is the infamous bathroom.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, a couple days ago I mentioned in the comments that Ibis and I used a bathroom in the heart of the city and had an experience that ranks up there as one of the most bizarre of my life.
We paid our three pesos each (four for me because I wanted paper -- shocking, I know) and were directed down a narrow passageway. There was only one entrance but a woman waved us both through. We stepped hesitantly into another hallway and were plunged into darkness. Plunged. Buried under six feet of dirt plunged.
A single beam of light bounced it's way toward us and a woman mumbled at me to go into another room off the hallway. I guess this was the ladies room. She held up the flashlight so I could see the row of cloth-covered doors, then ran away, leaving me back in the darkness.
I should point out that before I split up from Ibis, there were several people wandering the first dark hallway, all seeming a bit lost and confused. Ibis was shuttled further down that hallway and I never saw him again until he emerged back outside (after me). I did, however, hear his voice from time to time, and that made it all a little less freaky, although I never did figure out what it was he kept saying.
Back to the stall -- I locked myself in and tried not to think about what might be going on in such a weird place. It was quite cramped so I looked over my shoulder to get a lay of the land. Nothing. I was sure there was a toilet but I sure as hell couldn't see it. I was wondering what to do (for you men who've never had to squat over a toilet when you can't see what you're doing, this was quite daunting) when I noticed a small flashlight balanced on the edge of the stall door. Score!
I grabbed the light and set about doing my business when a woman came running into the room and started yelling at me. There were a lot of voices echoing in there so I couldn't quite tell what she was saying, but I did hear "lampara" (flashlight). There didn't seem to be anyone else in that particular room, so I knew she was talking to me, and man was she was pissed! I shoved it at her under the stall door and she snatched it away, plunging me -- you guessed it -- back into darkness.
Now let's evaluate the situation for a moment. Squatting, darkness, nasty cranky woman, and an inability to see ANYTHING. Yeah, I didn't flush.
I burrowed my way towards the light, yelled to Ibis (who I assumed was still in there) that I'd wait for him outside, and promptly ran into a man trying to enter the bathroom. As we were trying to figure out how to get past each other, a little girl opened the stall door (from inside) that happened to be between us. I never expected to play mediator between a grown man and a little girl in a Mexican bathroom, but that's what I did.
I stumbled outside, blinded by the midday sun, and wondered if I should stop the unsuspecting people heading inside.