Diary/Photo Journal

Week of November 09, 2003

Seeing as we were fortunate to visit the 3rd largest pyramid in the world, we certainly could not pass up the opportunity to brag that we stood atop the 1st largest pyramid in the world. 

Cholula (Cho-loo-la), a few hours drive from Teotihuacán, is constructed differently and has been irrevocably altered as a result of a church being built over the previous summit temple.  The base perimeter of the pyramid was constructed of hand-hewn stone; however, the main towering structure was more crudely made of mud and rock.  Cholula does have a unique tunnel system (much like a labyrinth) that we were able to walk through and it remains today much as it was 1000 years ago.  

Piramide de
la Cholula
Plaza at base
and church
built on top
of old
Various tunnels
throughout the
pyramid -
G is near long
stairway going
down from grate
Like my eerie presence?


1) Snakes carved in altar
2) Small altar where they sacrificed 6-7 year old
boys to bring more rains/water
3) Remnants of a fresco
4) View from top out to neighboring volcano -
where's Cindy?



Now that we have climbed two of the three largest pyramids, we were off to find even more ruins.  We stayed outside of Nautla and by looking at the root of the city's name, you can guess where we camped...Yep! right on the beach on the Gulf of Mexico.  We have officially zigged our zag to the opposite coast.

We seemed to have fickle weather as we went from over 100 degrees and bathing suits,  to a cool rain and jackets.  We were able to take advantage of the sun, the pool and the gulf as well as use the rainy day for our excursion to the ruins of El Tajin (Ta-heen).  As fortune would have it, the same day we pulled into our park, a terrific couple from Vancouver, Washington pulled in alongside of us.  Dan and Pat (and we mustn't forget Cory, their Blue Healer - Australian Cattle Dog) have packed up everything and are on their way to relocate their lives in Cancun.  We hit it off tremendously with these fabulous folks and we took advantage of our blossoming friendship and ventured together to El Tajin.

Not much
better than
Cory -
our new
best friend

El Tajin is considered one of Mexico's most important and most mysterious archaeological sites.  Built around the same time of Teotihuacán, of the 150 buildings (edificios) identified at the site, only 20 have been excavated and conserved.  At least 17 ball courts have been found wherein the two teams would keep a ball from touching the ground (with use of their hips, torso and knees - no feet or hands used) and they would try to score through a vertical stone hoop.  There are two theories about what happened to the winner and/or loser.  One theory is the loser was beheaded and still glorified and the other theory is the winner would be decapitated and his head would be placed in the corn field as an offering to the god for a good harvest.  I think I would prefer to be the spectator.

1) El Tajin layout thus far
2 & 3) Piramide de los Nichos
(365 recesses - the sides were
painted red and the niches
were painted black)
4) Louise in front of
Edificio C

Various edificios and
Gerson, Dan, Pat and Cory
(in the 1st picture, look
closely at the wall behind
them...that was plastered
and brightly painted as a
large mural)


1) Gerson in front of
King Tajin statue
2 & 3) various edificios
and drainage system
4) playing field
5) stairway once covered
with plaster and painted

Carvings and
paintings found
at the ruins.  See how pillars
were made?

We were also fortunate to be at El Tajin when the Voladores (Indian dancers that perform a ritualistic pole ceremony signifying flight) gave a presentation.  The participants climb up an 80' pole and one plays a flute and dances on a very small platform.  Then, the other four dancers fall backwards and hang from ropes at their waist, slowly revolving and "soaring" around the pole, until the rope unwinds and the dancers touch the ground.  Early bungee jumping without the recoil!

and the

We found a terrific little place
for lunch that came with its
own entertainment - two
delightful little girls with
those huge brown eyes, white
smiles, loud giggles and
mischievous dimples.

We ended up staying another day near Nautla with the excuse of making some small repairs and adjusting a few things here and there.  Actually, it was just a good excuse to spend more time trading stories with Dan and Pat.   As it worked out, the four of us headed off to Veracruz together and the next day, separated on the highway.  Dan and Pat heading toward Cancun and for us, we were heading back to the Pacific Ocean. 

It don't get much fresher than this! In Veracruz, we camped just a few feet away.  Not the best
of facilities but the location
made up for the lack of
everything else.

A nice side note:  Dan and Pat celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on Sunday, 16th of November.  We took them out to a great dinner at an Argentinian restaurant and had the usual fantastic time.  It was wonderful to see each of their faces light up when they talked about how they first met and about the special happenings that have occurred in their lives.  We certainly hope to see them again in Cancun.  I believe there is a dive boat awaiting our reunion!


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