While in Mexico City I took the opportunity to get the truck serviced. Some of the mountain driving had been pretty hard on the transmission; I had some fluid added, the oil changed and the brakes serviced. The toll roads weren’t bad but the mountain highways were pretty rough and I thought that it would be better to be safe than sorry. Finding a service shop in Mexico City was not tough at all and I saw many familiar service companies like Jiffy Lube and Midas Muffler shops.
Once the truck was ready we continued south and the first town of significance along the way was Puebla. We had heard that one of the largest pyramids was here and that it was somewhat of a “lost” pyramid in that it had not yet been excavated. Apparently it had been mistaken as just another hill for quite some time and was only recently “discovered.”
We arrived just after dark and stopped at the Zocalo (town square) to orient ourselves before seeking out a hotel. I snapped a few photos of the cathedral and square (below). The town was almost deserted and we didn’t see anyone on the streets at all. I wondered if there was any crime but luckily, we found a hotel room with inside-courtyard parking at a moderate price. Once we were settled in we quickly fell asleep after the day’s long drive.
In the morning, Jeff and Robi went out in search of breakfast and I wandered around outside the hotel. I asked the hotel keeper where the pyramid was and he pointed to the hill just behind were we had slept. I looked incredulously, “Really? That’s a pyramid?” It even has a Catholic Church at the summit! And so I looked around; tequila sign, telephone wires, basketball court – hardly appropriate for a grand monument to an ancient people!
When Jeff and Robi returned I showed them the famous pyramid and they couldn’t believe it either. After we ate we boarded the truck and drove around to the sunny side to get some photos. Sure enough, when we looked at it from a distance you could see the outline of a step pyramid. But covered with grass and trees one would never know that a pyramid existed underneath. Some of the locals told us that it was the largest pyramid in the Americas; the base of the pyramid was much larger but as the soil level has risen over the centuries the base has become buried. I am not sure if it is the largest pyramid but it seemed pretty large.
As we toured around the Pyramid we finally came to an area that was being excavated and at the base you can clearly see the Pyramid stones. It really is hard to imagine that en entire building could be covered in grass, trees and a Catholic Church! It makes me wonder what New York would like after 500 years of neglect. We asked if there were tours but it seems that the church was not open for public visits on this morning and the excavation team was on break so we had to be satisfied with shooting some photos from a distance.
And so we began out trek to Oaxaca and along the way we shot photos of the changing Mexican landscape. The climate seemed to be a mix of semi-arid desert and occasional clumps of trees and bushes. We passed through little town after little town; each small town had a tienda (like a liquor store or “Mom-n-Pop” 7/11), a gas station and perhaps a cafe and a few houses.
Just north of Oaxaca it was getting late in the afternoon and we stopped for a nature call. The road continued to our left and we paused for a few moments looking to the west at the setting sun. It seems that the part of Mexico is sparsly populated and we hardly passed any other cars at all.
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