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¿Con güeros? ¡Si!

The world's largest pyramid by volume, and second largest by height (as best I can extract from contradictory sources) is at Cholula, and was the contemporary of Teotihuacan. It ain't much to look at. When the Spanish fronted, it was so neglected and overgrown they took it for a convenient hill and built a big old church on top. They would have done that anyway, had they known it was a pyramid, because that's how they rolled, so everyone was happy. Except for now, because the church is a colonial monument and they can't dig up and restore the pyramid. Nuts to that.

So, Nae, myself, and Gaby from downstairs took the bus out to this fair town, where the Aztecs tried to ambush Cortes, but being that all the other natives hated the Aztecs (noble savages they were not) the local 'allies' sold them out and the Spaniards went to town with the battling. In this context, I suppose that's literal. Victorious, Cortes vowed to build a Christian church on every hill, or for every day of the year, or something grandiose lost to the fog of time, and now Cholula has many a church (but not 365). Having many nice old buildings, they conserve them well, something Melbourne could learn from if it wants to have a historic centre in 150 years (or even 15), and part of this is telling corporations they may only have little signs that don't detract from the building. This is the way in most Old World cities, but it's something unique in the New World and something many cities could learn from.

A pattern that came together in my mind in Cholula is that most corner stores / milk bars / whatever your term is are named El Güero or some variation thereof. This is the Mexican Spanish (and it turns out, Cubano,) word for Blondie, or Whitey the White Guy, and is more or less the equivalent of the Chinese Guǐlǎo, white ghost or white devil. Imagine Eli Wallach yelling this after Clint Eastwood and you get the idea. I have been told I am güero, but 200%. And, for one of the few times in my life, I get to say this: "I'm taking it back".

Anyway, moving from my milk bar on the central square, we headed for the pyramid, and I added yet another creature to the list of those I have digested. Langostas. That's right, as careful readers will observe, I ate roasted, salted, lemon-juice-dressed grasshoppers. They catch 'em, whack 'em in a bag and leave them their until they are purged of stomach contents, cook 'em, bag 'em, sell 'em, and you eat 'em whole. They aren't bad, except for knowing that grit between your teeth is carapace. I managed 2, Nae 1 and Gaby 1, making me the insect eating champion. Photos are duly posted to the Cholula section.

Anyways, the pyramid was okay, and had some fancy-pants sacrificial alters, one with the Plumed Serpent. There was a tiny lil pyramid that I quipped was for babies to climb up, and then we found out that was indeed where the chiluns were sacrificed. Nice, that. As the Meso-Americans built a new layer on their pyramids at the end of each cycle (for the Aztec, each 52 years), this one has tunnels dug into it to make studies, and while usually open to the public, they are closed when archaeological works are in progress. Guess what's in progress right now? The church was also nice, but nothing to write home about. So I won't.

We bought some rompope made by nuns (if you are just sitting around in a cloister all day, you might as well make awesome beer or wine or things to eat) and headed to Puebla, a city named Village in Spanish. Okay. But, it is where mole, the sauce pronounced 'mo-lay' to distinguish it from a digging blind thing or two point oh nine by ten to the twenty-three of something, was first made and where the best examples are still found. Being that it was late at night, Puebla, nicer than the D.F. but still resentful second fiddle, need a better exploration one fine day.


In administrative news, the galleries are now totally up to date to this point, so check 'em out.

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