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26.11.04

Greetings from Down Under

TeotihuacanHaving a great time! Wish you were here. Well, that probably wouldn't work this time, but if you haven't been to Mexico City yet, there's a lot of art to see. My first work of art was dinner and a beautiful plate of stuffed chilis it was. That was a first-night splurge with friends, but most of the food we'll eat will be simple and as authentic as possible and that usually means inexpensive. Today the paso is 10.18 to the dollar, so this is a much better deal than Europe for sure. The major obstacle to seeing what Mexico City has to offer is TRAFFIC! There are options, but if you are traveling with children, hire a driver, if the budget allows. We did and have seen a lot in a short time.

Our first venture out was to the spectacular Pyramids of the Sun and Moon at Teotihuacan (c. 150-450 A.D.), where the new pyramid to Wal-Mart (see Ionarts post from October 22) is close by. It's no small feat with the change in altitude from Baltimore, but we climbed to the top of both pyramids. What a view. You can feel the mystery that surrounds this site and the many secrets that disappeared with its inhabitants.

Milagros, GuadalupeAnother stop was to the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's holiest shrine (official Web site). This is where the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared before an Indian named Juan Diego, mystically imprinting her image onto his clothing, creating a sacred shroud. Pilgrims come from all over Latin America to view this icon and to leave Milagros (charms) asking for their wishes to be granted. Three basilicas have now been errected over the years to handle the larger and larger crowds coming to worship, the last being a modern specimen that I don't care for. The original small chapel high on the hill over looking the main plaza is beautiful. I find this to be a common occurance: as the demands on a religious site grow, the true essence or simplicity tends to get lost. It is quite wonderful to see how much faith and the need to believe is so important to the human race.

I'll write more as time permits. I'm in search of Diego and Frida.

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