18.01.2016 - 21.01.2016
After arriving at the airport in Mexico City, we took a bus to Cuernavaca where our friend Yolanda met us and brought us to her home in Tepoztlan. A story unto itself, we met Yolanda several years back on a boat in Halong Bay, Vietnam. She is a professor of educational psychology in Mexico City, and when we told her we might be coming to Mexico, she encouraged us to spend a few days with her and her husband Carlos, also a psychology professor.
Tepoztlan, about an hour a way from Mexico City, is a small town of perhaps 12,000 people. It is surrounded by mountains, and its steep cobblestone streets are home to a cosmopolitan mix of local indigenous folks, a number of expats, as well as artists and intellectuals such as Yolanda and Carlos, who choose to live here to get away from the huge city of Mexico.
Carlos was not feeling well when we arrived in late afternoon, and the following day Yolanda needed to go to university as the semester was just starting. We therefore had the day to ourselves, and spent most of it wandering the streets of Tepoztlan,
checking out the local market,
seeing the cathedral, and eating lunch at one of the more expensive hotels in town, which had a view overlooking the whole valley.
Although Tepoztlan did not seem very touristy to us, Yolanda said that on weekends hoards of people descend on the town from Mexico. Luckily we were there during the week. Yolanda’s condo was a mile or two from the town center, but no matter, we took our time and walked it in both directions, stopping on both the way in and out in one of the ubiquitous ice creams shops with hundreds of flavors.
Jesus in ice-cream shop with flavors along side of him
The following day Yolanda had the day off and took us Xochicalco, one of her favorite ruins an hour or so from Tepoztlan. More extensive then Monte Alban, near Oaxaca, it has several different levels and ball fields, pyramids etc. and we more ore less had it all to ourselves.
The most impressive part was the observatory, which is actually located in a made made cave. It has a hole in the roof of the cave which lets in a shaft of light. During the solstice it lines up with the sun in perfect position, and acts as a calendar.
Taken with flash
There was a guide at the entrance to the cave took us through, and knew just how to position us in the shaft of light to get impressive photos.
No flash this time
The ruins had quite a spiritual feel to them, and as always, I imagined myself among the crowds of the ancient city during a pelota game. The winning coach considered it a great honor to be sacrificed to Itzacoatal, a plumed serpent that signifies the meeting of earth and sky.
We left early the next morning for Mexico city, after spending a few hours on the phone to change our flight, as a big snowstorm was expected at Newark Airport on Saturday, our scheduled date of departure. We spent the day at the Frieda Kahlo Museum, Casa Azul, and nearby at the Trotsky museum, of particular interest to me, given my red diaper status.
And then it was back home for a week before our scheduled road trip to Santa Fe.