Monday, July 18, 2016

Puebla - Day 3

Cholula should not to be confused with Chalupa. Cholula is a historical town about 30 minutes from downtown Puebla where as Chalupa is a tostada platter in Mexican cuisine. It came as no surprise that while I was asking around for the bus to Chalupa I kept getting sent to the market. "Excuse me, can you tell me where the bus to the tostada platter is?  Pronunciation is everything!

Cholula is a town at the base of a huge hill adored guessed it, a church. However the hill was not what it appeared to be as it turned out to be one of the largest pyramids and pyramid complexes in the Aztec world. The Great Pyramid of Cholula can be explored either via a labyrinth of interior tunnels, or above ground by walking through excavations at the pyramid’s base. Naturally I was going in through the tunnels.

The Aztecs were not a tall people and the height of these wondrous achievements are a testament to that. I would have been recruited for the local Aztec basketball  1000 years ago because I did not have much clearance. I had to duck in a few places and these bad boys could be a bit claustrophobic if that is your issues. Lined with modern lighting, safety barriers and metal grated foot walks the 20 minute hike through the complex was easy enough.

 sacrificial alter used for kids aged 5 to 7
When you leave the interior the sunlight blasts your eyes and when they adjust you are greeted by...a woman selling candy. So, playing along like she was an ancient Aztec vendor I dig into gummy bears and gummy worms which I am to understand was the snack food of choice of the ancients. I adore these true cultural food experiences.

The exterior of the temple are large and the excavating is a slow process. Like other sites I have visited such as Tikal Guatemala and Palenque Mexico there is not enough funding to dig up these ruins. From the looks of things this will be a major find when it is fully restored.

This is my 10 Aztec/Mayan historical site and with each visit the enormity of their influence and achievements becomes more profound. From Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador there are 51 know major sites all designed and built in relation to the earth, the stars, the seasons and each other. We as a "modern society" think we are so smart so toss in a bit of Inca, Egyptian and South East Asian temples of history and we do not even come close. Sure they had human sacrifices to their supposed gods but our staring at screens to the gods of consumerism may be viewed the same way in 1000 years, if of course the human race still exists. Mother nature has perfected mass extension and does so without impunity so my guess is that our abuse of the planet as we know it for the commercialization of profit will be taken care of in due time. Mother nature wins every single time.

 The hike up to the church atop the mountain was easy enough and the views were worth it. As I said I have seen enough Colonial Churches but I peeked inside and it was indeed quite beautiful as I have come to expect. Churches rich, people poor has any of that changed through history.

I wandered back into Cholula and as far as small towns go this one was quite nice. The building were all neatly painted and the streets were clean.  There was construction on a new rail line that looked similar to the one in Puebla so I am wondering if they are connecting the two towns with a new rapid rail system, that would be impressive.

Wandering was easy and as usual food was plentiful. I sat in the Zocolo staring at yet another yellow church eating a huge empenada and realized that I could live in this town. It is small enough to be quaint, has everything you need and is 30 minutes to Puebla so working and commuting is a possibility.  Although when you thin about it commuting is commuting and no matter where you are and regardless of how pretty the town is or whether by GO Train or Scary Bus ultimately commuting sucks.

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