Mexico Trek!   Trekkers DISPATCH: August 20 Shawn's Log

Day one (¡¡¡Arriba!!!) in Mexico City - Aztec dancing, Aztec ruins, modern day cops
Part 2

PoliciaGo to Part 1 of Dispatch
(Click on any picture to see it larger.)

CathedralThe mood was pretty intense, and it didn’t help that there were also hundreds of policemen in riot gear, and many people begging for change from the tourists. Silvia and I made our way around the majestic Metropolitan Cathedral to the Templo de Mayor. The Cathedral was built right on top of the Aztec’s "Tzompantli" or ‘Wall of Skulls,’ a sacred place where they honored the gods and everything Old Templo Mayorthe gods had done to give them life and everything else in the world.

The Templo Mayor is what remains of the huge pyramids that were at the center of the Aztec capital. One was for the god of war, Templo Mayor todayHuitzilopochtli, and the other for the god of rain, Tlaloc. The god of war told the Aztecs what to look for to know where to found their city. He told them in their dreams. Do you know what they were looking for? The ruins of the Templo Mayor were only discovered thirty years ago when people working on the subway came across them!

Aztec DancersIn front of the Plaza Mayor there were some people in Aztec dress performing a dance ritual around a drum. The dancers were of all ages and were decorated with feathers and beads that rattled as they danced. Quetzalcoatl

Suddenly, there was a cry from the crowd "POLICIA!" and people started running in all directions. The pandemonium was caused by a brigade of police with shields and clubs that came charging onto the plaza grabbing the street vendors, confiscating their wares and piling them onto their trucks. Apparently selling is not allowed on the Zocalo. Most of the people managed to wrap up their things and escape, but a few unfortunate ones Vendors being taken awayhad their wares seized and were thrown into a police van. I was shocked at how roughly the police treated everyone, pushing people Trivia!around with their shields and clubs and occasionally smacking someone. One officer even grabbed me and said "vamos" (‘let’s go’). This chaos lasted for about half an hour and then the police just lined up and marched off.

One person we talked to said this happens several times a day. The vendors lucky enough to get away simply come back as soon as the police leave. The merchants were indeed persistent - when Silvia and I came out of the temple museum, the square was packed with colorful things for sale, just as it was when we arrived.


If you want to know more about Tenochtitlan or the Tempo Mayor, visit the Guide Book. To see pictures of these gods visit the Templo Mayor Museum site


Related Dispatches: 
Shawn: Day one in Mexico City (Part 1)
Shawn: Day one in Mexico City (Part 2)
Sylvia: What to do when people WON'T TALK!

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