The Great Depression Online

Great Depression Online Archive Issue:

Pyramids and Mangos

Great Depression Online
Oaxtepec, Mexico
July 01, 2008

Inside This Issue You Will Discover…

*** Pyramids of the Sun and Moon
“On the Mountain of Huajes
*** Why Ever Leave
*** And More

Pyramids of the Sun and Moon

It’s likely the ancient residents of the first great city of the western hemisphere thought that it would be around forever.  At its peak around A.D. 500 – after already flourishing for 500 years – the city was home to more people than Rome.  But like Rome, no great civilization booms forever.  For the lessons of history instruct that with each great boom comes a great bust…just as summer turns to fall…and fall to winter.

By the time the Aztecs stumbled across the great city’s remnants, it had laid in ruin over 600 years.  And by the 16th century it had been overgrown by so much vegetation and covered by so much earth that the Spaniards marched right by without even noticing it…like it had never existed.

We took the short trip north of Mexico City on Sunday to The Pyramids of Teotihuacán and marveled at what the Aztecs called “the place where gods were born.” 

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Aaron in front of Piramide del Sol

Aaron in front of the Piramide del Sol - Pyramids of Teotihuacan

At the end of a several mile corridor lined with ruins abounds the Piramide de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon).  And to its right is the Piramide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun).  We climbed up the steep step like walls of the Piramide del Sol and breathed in the sweeping extent of Teotihuacán.  Numerous broad grassy mounds outline miles of the surrounding area.  Maribel’s uncle Genaro explained that those are parts of the ancient city that have not been excavated.

Piramide de la Luna

Piramide de la Luna taken from top of Piramide del Sol -
Pyramids of Teotihuacan

Maribel and M.N. on top of the Piramide del Sol

Maribel and M.N. on top of the Piramide del Sol with the Piramide de la Luna in the background - Pyramids of Teotihuacan

That was Sunday…before we made the trip to Oaxtepec to visit more family and take a look around…

“On the Mountain of Huajes

“Hola Maribel…como estas?,” we heard as we stepped off the bus yesterday in Oaxtepec.  It was Maribel’s younger cousin, Faviola.  And she was helping Maribel’s aunt Fannie at their family bathing suit stand.

M.N., Aaron, and Tia Fannie in Bathing Suit Stand

M.N., Aaron, and Tia Fannie in the Family
Bathing Suit Stand - Oaxtepec, Mexico

Oaxtepec is a smaller resort town to the south of Mexico City.  And as you travel from Mexico City the elevation drops so that the climate quickly changes from a moderate and pleasant climate to a hot and tropical climate with densely vegetated, green and lush hillsides.

Oaxtepec is home to numerous pools, hotels, and aquatic resorts…and is a popular getaway place for people from Mexico City.  The pace of life here is much more relaxed and rural.  And while the town is small, the smiles are big.

Aaron's Cousin Daphne

Aaron's Cousin Daphne - Oaxtepec, Mexico

Aaron's Cousin Marifer

Aaron's Cousin Marifer, Oaxtepec, Mexico

Its name is from the Aztec Nahuatl language and means “On the mountain of huajes”.  Huaje is a fruit tree that’s a popular food in Mexico.

Maribel’s cousin Tocho took us up a scenic canyon ridge to a majestic waterfall that spilled into a wide open natural pool.  We climbed up on an adjacent ledge to the waterfall and jumped off into the pool below.  When we climbed up to do it again…a park ranger type of guy had appeared and told us we couldn’t be there.  He looked like he took his job really serious, so we went to some public swimming pools in the open park below.

Why Ever Leave

The water was cool, the sun was hot…with plenty of shade trees to relax under and plenty of fresh mango slices to munch on.  After spending some time in Oaxtepec, with its scenic beauty and its laid back lifestyle, you begin to wonder why in the world you’d ever leave.


M.N. Gordon
Great Depression Online

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