Monday, October 12, 2009

Mexico Day 2: DF

Mexico City is an enormous, chaotic place. A testament to organic 20th century growth, its sprawls for miles with no method to the madness. Our friend Eric's place is on the outskirts of the beltway that surrounds the city proper. 45 minutes and 200 pesos to anywhere in the city we cared about.
Eric offered us a tour of the poor areas next time we come. It will be a driving tour, as it's too dangerous for us to walk ("rich" gringos). It may be too dangerous to even follow traffic laws.

The night we landed we cracked open some 12 year old scotch to commemorate our safe arrival and thank our guests for having us.

The following morning, we set out.

Mexico City's Museum of Anthropology was the first (and only) destination. The facility is enormous, wrapping around a central roofed courtyard. The roof is held up by a gigantic pillar.

The remnants of their 60th anniversary party (held the night prior) is in the foreground.
Normally the space surrounding the pillar is a fountain. There's a bunch of carvings symbolizing a bunch of stuff all over the pillar, but since you didn't spend 50 pesos on the voice tour, you're S.O.L.

The museum is spread over the different areas civilizations arose in Central America. The prehistoric peoples, the Olmecs, the Michoacans, the Mixtecs, the Aztecs, the Mayans, and more. Each first floor is the anthropological/archaeological stuff - finds of prehistoric peoples, the pottery/technology, and ruins.

Since I paint miniatures, this diorama was amazing to me. It's based on a fossil find of a mammoth with stone tools, indicating the mammoth was hunted and slaughtered for meat or gladiatorial sport. (WHO KNOWS!)

When looking at this diorama, you're standing over transparent glass, and below you is the recreated mammoth dig site.

I didn't get a picture of that because I'm an idiot who doesn't know about pikchurs.

Here's a picture of part of a temple in another section of the museum. Since I don't know pikshurs and the museum doesn't allow flash, I consider any picture less then slightly blurred to be an act of will surpassed only by Lance Armstrong's battles during the Tour de France.

This is one of at least 8 partial temples in this museum; most regions represented had at least part of a temple.

The rest was a blur.

We saw the famous Aztec Calendar (most famous because it flawlessly synchronizes with Microsoft Outlook, the first and last device to ever do so)

And this guy which is famous for a bunch of reasons, none of which I can remember. (I used to be SO GOOD at education, too!)

He might be the first representation in stone of King Hippo, who later rose to prominence in the NBL.

Finally, this is one of the coolest things about the Mexican cultures - a reverence to the dead, and a belief that they rose every year on Dios de Muertos.

(Central) America, Fuck Yeah!

The sheer amount of skull iconography throughout all of the cultures is fantastic.
Probably unsurprising that many were involved in human sacrifice.
Later in the trip we see both a necropolis (at Mitlan) and a place where human sacrifice definitely occurred - Teotitlan, which is now covered by (and later discovered/uncovered in) Mexico City.

edit since I'm an idiot:
Teotitlan's where we bought some rugs. I meant Tenochtitlan.

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