A Travellerspoint blog


Mexico's Magical Long isolated State.

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02/10/2008: The whole morning after a breakfast of fresh fruit and fruit juice an rajas, we roamed the city centre and visited its markets, there are flea markets where you will find nothing but junk, and others selling handicrafts, antic furniture, silver jewellery. Markets are full of people and has a vibrant atmosphere. I was hoping that somewhere we will hear Mariachi bands playing, but were disappointed. Then we came to the Plaza Garibaldi, the Square which was renamed in tribute to Madero, the Mexican revolutionary and liberator who fought against President Porfirio Diaz in the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1912.

This square was a section of the old Market, dedicated to pre-Hispanic pottery. Throughout the vice-royalty, it was known as Plaza del Jardin ( Garden), until some of the old marketeers settled there. The Old Market was installed in the Plaza Mayor (Zócalo) since the sixteenth century. And part of it became the flea market, where the goods brought in by the ships and damaged in transit across the Atlantic, were sold or auctioned off as second-hand items and other articles which the neighbours sold or exchanged there. Later the market was moved to another site and found its permanent place at the present site. Much of the Plaza has been restored from time to time,The Museum of Tequila and Mezcal, and the school of mariachis has been established in the square.
the present site.

The bus for Oaxaca left at 13hrs, we took a taxi to the Estación Tapo, which was nearer from the hotel, than the Estación del Norte. The traffic was heavy and it took us 35 minutes to reach us, the fare was 45 pesos.Like the Station of the North, this also is a new and modern with all the facilities available for the traveller.

The journey took six hours and we reached our destination at 18hrs. After the long journey, non-stop loud music and cold air-conditioned bus, it was a hammer blow to step down from the bus in the hot temperature on the ground. We made enquiries at the Tourist Information about a suitable hostel accomodation and were told about a new hostel Nizadu(tlf. 044-951-204-6112) which had opened that very day and had en-suite bathrooms and free pickup from the bus station. The rate for a double bedroom was US$14.50 including breakfast. We however, chose Hostal Pochon, mentioned in the Lonely Planet Guide. Some time I feel that one should follow his instinct in choosing places of lodgings and restaurants, and not be guided or misguided by guides or guide books.

Hostel Pochon was run by a young American woman, when we arrived there, we met another young woman doing the books and a Mexican man, who tried to impress us that he was running the place. All very friendly. The double bedroom with a small bathroom cost 340 pesos, the room was unmade and we took the bedsheets & covers and changed them from the soiled ones lying on the beds. The room was sparse, instead of curtains, there were bamboo blind shutters. A tiny wash basin and a trickle of water. The inevitable sign on the wall, warning us to be careful with the use of water. We had hoped that the night will be quiet but somewhere nearby, a generator was going full blast, stopping, pausing, starting again every half an hour or so and by four 0'clock in the early morning the traffic started.

Later we went down to have breakfast. As I passed the men's toilet to go down the stairs, a very heavy stench of urine hit my nostrils, I dare say that it has not been cleaned in a very long time. There were large garbage bins lying outside the kitchen and another, standing without a lid inside the kitchen staring at us. It took away our appetite for breakfast, which consisted of three small pieces of fruit, two thin slices of bread, one egg omelet(it was omelet day we were told), cold frijoles and tea or coffee. Coffee was percolating in a pot and one had to ladle out the liquid in a cup. Imagine lading out coffee! The utensils were all of plastic, greasy (ugh) which we washed before use and which we had to clean again after use. The common area outside ( a patio) was untidy, uncleaned tables. And the stench from the garbage bins had already invaded the whole area. We decided to move to another hostel.

Posted by The Islander 10:30 Archived in Mexico Tagged landscapes mountains beaches churches buildings monuments backpacking air-travel Comments (0)


Human Sacrifice in Religions of Mankind

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The Aztec/Mexica believed that sacrifice to the gods was necessary to ensure the continuity of the world and the balance of the universe. They distinguished between two types of sacrifice: those involving humans and those involving animals or other offerings.
Human sacrifices included both self-sacrifice as well as the sacrifice of the lives of other human beings. For the Aztecs, human sacrifices fulfilled multiple purposes, both at the religious and socio-political level. They considered themselves the “elected” people, the people of the Sun who had been chosen by the gods to feed them and were responsible for the continuity of the world.

Human sacrifice usually involved death by heart extraction. The victims were chosen carefully according to their physical characteristics and to the gods to whom they would be sacrificed. Some gods were honoured with brave war captives, other just with slaves. Men, children and women were sacrificed. Children were especially chosen to be sacrificed to Tlaloc, the rain god. The Aztecs believed that the tears of new-born or very young children could ensure rain.

The most important place where sacrifices occurred was the Huey Teocalli, El Templo Mayor (Great Temple) of Tenochtitlan. Here a specialised priest removed the heart from the victim and the body was thrown down the steps of the pyramid, while his head was cut off and placed on the tzompantli, or skull rack.The chosen victim would be treated as a personification on earth of the god until the sacrifice took place. The preparation and purification rituals often lasted more than 1 year, and during this period the victim was took care of, fed, and honoured by servants(www.about.com).

However, not all sacrifices took place on top of the mountains.El Conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo, the discoverer of Yukatan in 1517, sailed from Cuba in search of new lands, landed on the coast of Campeachy in search of fresh water. Although they were received cordially by the natives, it soon became evident that they wanted the Spaniards to leave and Bernal Diaz and his companions saw some Indians who were coming towards them, all dressed in long white robes, their thick hair entangled and clotted with blood. These persons were priests.

There is evidence that ritual human sacrifice was prevalent in Celtic society 2,500 years ago. The ritually sacrifised their kings to honour their gods. The evidence for human sacrifice in the period of the Iron Age is most prolific in Denmark, Germany and Holland, where many bodies have been found completely preserved in peat bogs. Some were hanged or strangled, the noose still around their neck, and others were bludgeoned on the head or had their throat slit. According to Diodorus Siculus, the Gauls 'kill a man by a knife-stab in the region above the midriff, and after his fall they foretell the future by the convulsions of his limbs and the pouring of his blood'. gladiatorial games and feeding people to lions were regular sport, whilst many thousands of conquered Celts in Gaul were victims of Roman atrocities, such as cutting off their hands and feet and leaving them to die slowly(BBC-Ancient-History.co.uk).

There are many passages in Bible about the ritual human sacrifice, rape, murder and slavery and so are
the details of the Evil of Torah. The ancient civilizations of Canaanites, Etruscans, Celts, Romans, Guals, Minoans, Carthaginians, Scythians and Chimu, all practiced rituals of human sacrifice.

Posted by The Islander 04:58 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)


The mythology of Aztecs, Mayans and other ancient civilizations

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From time immemorial, man has erected shrines, temples, monuments, to honour his gods and from ancient times, these have been built in mountain caves, on mountain peaks. Perhaps man believes that one feels more near to his gods on a mountain top, on the heavenly heights than he does on the ground.

Toltecs and Aztecs in Mexico, Incas in Peru, Hindus in Hindustan (India) built their places of worship on mountain tops. Lord Shiva "The Destroyer" among the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the Divine, is believed to live in Himalayas, and Kailash Parbat (mountain of Kailash, one of his many names) is his abode. The Pantheon of Greek Gods was Mount Olympus, Moses received his Ten Commandments at the site of the burning bush, located on Mount Horeb.

As a powerful religious symbol, the burning bush represents many things to Jews and Christians such as God's miraculous energy, sacred light, illumination, and the burning heart of purity, love and clarity. From a human standpoint, it also represents Moses' reverence and fear before the divine presence.

Prophet Mohammad also went to the Mountain to pray to Allah The All Merciful, because the Mountain would not come to him. This saying has its origin in a legend about Mohammad when asked to prove the power of his teachings, raised a hand and ordered a nearby mountain to come to him, so that he could pray Allah The All Merciful from the the mountain top. The mountain of course, did not come and Mohammad then declared that this was proof of God's mercy, because if God had granted his wish, he Mohammad and those around him would have been crushed by the mountain. He then said he was going to the mountain to pray and thank God for his mercy.

The Japanese worship the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. The Ise Shrine located in Ise City, Honshū, Japan houses the inner shrine, Naiku dedicated to Amaterasu. Her sacred mirror, Yata no Kagami is said to be kept at this shrine as one of the Imperial Regalia of Japan. At this shrine, a ceremony known as Shikinen Sengu is held every 20 years to honor Amaterasu. The main shrine buildings are destroyed and rebuilt at a location adjacent to the site. New clothing and food is then offered to the goddess. This practice is a part of the Shinto faith and has been practised since the year 690.
The worship of Amaterasu to the exclusion of other kami has been described as "the cult of the sun"and the worship of the Sun itself.

In the ancient Persian mythology were two powerful gods, sometimes presented as twin brothers. Ahura Mazda was the creator, a god of light, truth, and goodness. His enemy Ahriman, the spirit of darkness, lies, and evil, created only destructive things such as vermin, disease, and demons. The world was their battlefield. Although they were equally matched during this period of history, Ahura Mazda was fated to win the fight. For this reason, Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord, was the supreme deity of Persian mythology. The Zoroastrians identified him with purifying fire and therefore, tended fires on towers as part of their worship.

The ancient Persian pantheon also included Mithras, a god associated with war, the sun, and law and order, who became the object of a widespread cult in the Roman empire. Anahita was a goddess of water and fertility. Verethraghna, a god of war and victory, appeared on earth in ten forms: as wind, a bull, a horse, a camel, a boar, a youth, a raven, a ram, a buck, and a man. Zoroaster reduced the role of these and other traditional deities and emphasized Ahura Mazda as supreme god. Religious scholars see this move as an early step toward monotheism. However, Ahura Mazda was said to have created seven archangels, called the Amesha Spentas, who represented truth, power, immortality, and other aspects of his being. These archangels may have taken over some features of the pre-Zoroastrian gods.

The ancient Egyptians built their pyramids to bury their dead, like Hindus, Chinese, Japanese and other ancient people, they believed that The Soul is trans migratory and the dead will need all the amenities, food etc, and money to pay for their passage through many trans migrations. Gold was therefore, considered the most appropriate metal, since it does not tarnish like other metals and its purity was the symbol of its worth as an offering to their gods. Images of gods and deities could be found, even today, in temples and churches.

Toltecs and Aztecs built their pyramids in honour of their many deities. Among the most important were: Quetzalcoatl (Keh-tzal-coh-tal) the most powerful deity, the patron of learning & knowledge and creativity, who lived among the Aztecs and promised to return to them. He preached the people to believe in non-violence, without any human and animal sacrifice. Huitzilopochtli (Weetz-ee-loh-Pocht-lee) who led the Aztecs through their migrations and were led by him to the promised land. Tlaloc (Tlá-loc) the god of rain, agriculture and fertility. And Tonatiuh (Toh-nah-tee-uh) the sun god. He was believed to provide nourishment and energy and needed sacrificial blood to sustain him. The sacrifice of animals and humans was not the isolated practise of the Aztecs.

In the next blog entry I will tell about these sacrifices. Hope you all enjoy reading about these interesting facts and fables.

Posted by The Islander 04:56 Archived in Mexico Tagged mountains beaches churches buildings landscape monuments backpacking air-travel Comments (0)

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