A Travellerspoint blog

February 2014


The vibrant and beautiful city of Mexico

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We left our backpacks in the room at Hostel Pochon (checkout time 11.00hrs) and went out, found a laundry and left our dirty clothes there and strolled up the street. The girl at the checkout at hostel Pochon suggested Hostel San Mateo, a dreary place at 340 pesos per night. So we walked on and entered Calle Faustino G. Olivera no. 203. A woman was cleaning the steps and the door was open, we could see a very clean patio, with a fountain in the centre and trees and potted plants, so I said good morning and enquired if she rented rooms for travellers. The house was newly painted and looked like a private house. The lady very graciously told us to wait, went inside and a few minutes later, came back with another lady, who was the owner.

We said good morning again and were told that rooms were available for rent. So we entered the house and chose the room on the first floor, a very clean room with fresh bed clothes, two beds, bed side table lamps and a table and chair to sit on, with a potted plant, in which later I found a huge butterfly, snuggled among its leaves. Attached bath room was gleaming clean as was the whole house, inside and out.

The rate for the room was 430 pesos per night, but after talking about the world economic situation in general and the economic situation in Mexico in particular, higher prices of corn, wheat and rice in Mexico and how the tourism had caused the prices of hotel accommodation to shoot up, the rate was brought down to 350 pesos. Both parties were satisfied and we went back to hostel Pochon, took our backpacks and settled in our new lodgings. The huge butterfly had not stirred a bit. May be it was the approaching Siesta Time for the resident butterfly too.

The tourist guides describe Oaxaca as one of Mexico's beautiful and vibrant cities and this is true. A colonial city with tree shaded Central Square (EL Zocalo), its Cathedral and many churches, art galleries and even a book store selling English books. It is city to relax, to take cooking lessons and learn spanish. (The young woman running Hostel Pochon also gave cooking lessons and charged US$20.00 per lesson). Calles Alcala and Garcia Vigil, two parallel streets will take you down to the city centre and you can sit on the terrace of a Cafe or a restaurant, have fresh fruit juice, sip a cold Corono or Dos Equis, maybe a Mojito or two ( a mojito is a traditional Mexican cocktail that consists of five ingredients: white rum, cane sugar (traditionally cane juice), lime juice, sparkling water, and mint leaves) and then stroll further down to the muncipal markets in calle 20 de Septiembre (on this date in 1596 was founded the city of Monterey).

There are two municipal markets, in one you will find clothes, hats, handicrafts etc, and in the other, just across the street, a maze of stalls selling fresh bread and cakes, pastries and chocolates, food and spices. A separate section is just for cooked food, fried and grilled meat an sausages, green chillies and fried grass hoppers. For 50 pesos you can have a basket of 500gms grilled meat. Salads are 10 pesos each, tomatoes, onions, guacamole, cucumbers, a real delight. Fried grasshoppers are very popular and women hawkers sell mounds of this delicacy on the streets and inside the market. Alex and me had a plate each. Crunchy and tasty. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Posted by The Islander 10:37 Archived in Mexico Tagged landscapes mountains beaches churches buildings monuments backpacking air-travel Comments (0)


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)

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