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  Cacaxtla and Xochitecatl,by Bruce McGovern
I think I have made it rather clear that I don't care much for 'tourist stuff'. However, sometimes, there is no graceful way out of going to a tourist site. When we visited Raul, he offered to take us to Cacaxtla and Xochitecatl, ancient sites near Puebla, and Margarita wanted to go, so I went along.

First, we drove to Cacaxtla. It is much more interesting than Xochitecatl. There is a complex pyramid from the last millenium, on a hill. There were originally many rooms in that pyramid. And, some of the walls still have detailed paintings.

This site is considered so priceless that the Mexican government built a large metal roof over the whole thing to protect it from further damage by the elements.

One pays at the gate, then walks maybe a quarter mile to the site. Of course, it's all uphill under the roof. There is a fenced walkway around the top of the pyramid, so one does not even touch the surface of the pyramid when walking around.

Signs point out the uncovered remnants of the buildings that were originally on the pyramid. There are a number of rooms still partly visible.

A large group of students were ahead of us, receiving a lecture on the pyramid and its history. Raul waited until they went ahead, so he could study the large, extremely complex mural on the north wall. He hoped to find a portrayal of someone having their heart ripped out; he did after quite a long time, and was pleased. He kept joking it must be Sherwin & Williams paint to last that long. But, the signs said the paint was made of natural substances.

For those interested in seeing ancient pyramids, I am confident it's worth the trip to see this site. The view, including Popo in the distance, and the surrounding terrain, would make it worthwhile without the archeological and historical value.

We decided to drive around the mountain to see Xochitecatl which is in plain view to the west of Cacaxtla. The fee we paid to get into Cacaxtla also let us into the other site. That is simpler, though they have not dug very much into the mound. The police carry shotguns, though I assume that is more for potential criminals than to protect a mound of rocks, but I am not sure. There is a small museum with an alarm system that plainly said it was not working because telecommunications was down. Maybe the crooks can't read English?

One of the mounds is a spiral, though we checked it carefully, and it is not truly a spiral. Not all of the circles have a walkway to the next.

This is also probably worth the time and expense for those who relate to that sort of thing. I won't go again, if I can avoid it, but since I felt compelled to go, it was enjoyable.

I have had problems before because I couldn't explain what was worth seeing in Puebla for tourists. Now, I have at least one answer beside the historical center in the middle of town.

Bruce McGovern

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