Mexico Part II

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Escrito por El Tacano () via proxy desde ( el día martes, 06 de abril, 2010 a las 21:05:57 horas :

Up at the crack of dawn feeling much more acclimatized. Walked a nearby neighborhood with neat houses, clean streets & nice local parks sprinkled throughout.

After another great breakfast at my favorite café consisting of hot cakes, tocino, café & juice (60 pesos) I was off to the visitors center I had spotted the day before. As this is the capitol of the State of Mexico lots of tourists but not of the Gringo variety. Ergo a bit of Spanish is necessary to communicate even at the tourist office. I received a map of the area plus directions to where to catch the bus to Calixtlahuaca known locally as Calix. A very short wait at the bus stop & I was off. A rather bumpy trip over all cobblestone streets up the side of a mountain from which there was a fabulous view of Nevado de Toluca the magnificent snow capped dormant volcano. It is surrounded by Passo del Quetzal a national Park highlighted by not one but two lakes inside of the Volcano. Unfortunately the heavy snow prevented a visit.

Anyways on to Calix. At the small neat village I was let off by the sign announcing the Site 800 meters away. As one that hikes 6 to 8 miles a day at sea level a short stroll at 9,000' should be a snap. Right? WRONG! What the sign does not say is it is almost straight up. So after a bit of a struggle (thankful for my Timberland hiking boots) I arrived at the museum which Alas was closed! As I sat recovering my breath a caretaker came out greeting me. He informed me that in the Winter the Museo is open only on weekends but the ruins were open for a 35 peso fee. We talked awhile both practicing each others language. He telling me that in actuality the site is over 10,000 feet high.

The highlight of the ruins is a round, flat-top pyramid. There is an entrance at the bottom that allows you to travel inside the structure up to the top where a stained glass altar sits. Not terribly tall but the passage is narrow & low. As there are very narrow steps on the back side of this structure dating back to 900 AD I chose to "butt" slide down these steps. A death chamber inside on that side gave me the feeling of ancient people & events. Truly a mystical experience.

As I again rested a local lady came through the site (only person I saw other than the caretaker) herding a flock of dark feathered Turkeys (like wild ones in the US) with help from her dog.

I returned to the village much faster than my coming up. I explored the village before returning to the bus stop after assuring my proper location by asking some local teenagers.

Back to Toluca by a circular route that was far more gentle than the trip over. I stopped for a sausage lunch at one of the stuffers before returning to the Tourist office for further directions.

I had read about the village Metepec, home to an art colony of potters who specialize in urns, Arboles de la Vida (Trees of Life) & Metepec Suns. While a number of the shops had mostly imported Asian knick-knacks, 6 or so had incredibly lovely vases, urns, sculptures & other works of art. Wish I had some way to bring one home but just not possible.

As I was tiring I spotted an upstairs cantina/café that looked interesting. Upon climbing the steps I thought for a moment I had gone through a time warp. 70's music, bean bag chairs & pillows scattered on the floor. The Pungent oder of MJ permeated the place so I chose an actual table with chairs at the far end of the bar with a large open window. I drank my Coke-Cola listening to the music of this throwback before leaving, catching the return bus to El Centro. I learned later that the best pieces are found at the workshops of the various artists that unfortunately are scattered throughout the 175,000 population city.

After a most excellent 4 course dinner at a lovely restaurant for 70 pesos it was to bed after watching a bit of cable TV (The American Channel) in my fine bargain suite. Left a wake-up call at the desk (amazing how much service you can get for $29 in Mexico) I was up at 6. A cab (100 pesos)to the Modern Toluca Airport for my early AM flight on Interjet to Acapulco ($64 US).

More later

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