Friday, September 14, 2012

Visiting Tepoztlan

Immediately after orientation ended, most of the Mexico YAGM volunteers headed to Tepoztlan, a small pueblo about a 45 minute bus ride from Cuernavaca.  Casey and Alicia are living and working there this year, which meant a perfect excuse to visit another city in Mexico!  As if that wasn't enough, this last weekend was the celebration of the anniversary of the baptism and conversion to Catholicism of Tepozteco.  This meant the weekend was full of cultural festivals and crazy adventures!

Friday, September 7th, was the one day all year where the hike to Tepozteco Pyramid is open at night (and also free, which is especially nice what with our small YAGM stipends).  Now, when I thought about climbing a pyramid, I pictured clambering up some steep steps in the pyramid itself.  Well, to get to Tepozteco, it's necessary to first climb up a mountain.

view of Tepozteco from Alicia's house - yes, the pyramid is at the top!

close-up view of the pyramid
Next, add in the fact that we didn't start our hike until about 7:45 Friday night.  This meant that it was pretty much completely dark about 20 minutes after we started hiking.  As frustrating as they were, the many police checkpoints meant to ensure that everyone had a working flashlight were a good thing!  Trying to navigate crazy stair-like rocks in the complete dark without a flashlight would have been difficult.

Once we arrived at the top of the mountain, the 6 of us YAGMs who made the climb were greeted by Tepozteco lit up, oddly enough, by purple and blue lights.

anyone else think this looks like a discoteca?

It was such a surreal experience to be standing in the middle of Mexico, on top of a mountain, next to a pyramid lit up like a techno club, with hundreds of other Mexicans at 10 at night.  Literally hundreds of other Mexicans were up there with us.  We wanted to take a seat on the pyramid itself, but that would have been impossible due to all the people residing on the pyramid by the time we got there.  Stretched out before us were the lights of Tepoztlan and Cuernavaca, and they stretched almost as far as I could see.
6 YAGMs on top of a mountain!
Even though the hike up was kind of tiring, and we were all exhausted and sick from the end of orientation, I would not have traded that experience for anything.  The entire hike we stayed together as a group and took care of each other.  It was definitely an accomplishment to go through that experience together, and I'm excited to keep working with the other volunteers throughout the year!

we had a little fun with the lights of Tepoztlan behind us
for reference again: that's where the pyramid was!
Saturday was another day full of cultural experiences.  In the morning we walked around Tepoz for a while, and just kind of took in the day.  The new seed mural was up in front of the church, and later in the afternoon we watched the reenactment of the baptism of Tepozteco.  The entire day, it kind of felt like we got lucky and were in the right place at the right time.
half of the new seed mural: it depicted the legend of Tepozteco

monks walking to the baptism of Tepozteco

the end of the reenactment, and the end of a long day!

1 comment:

  1. Saturday Sept 15 the Global Mission Committee from your synod, the Northwest Washington Synod of the ELCA met and discussed all the Synod's mission activity, and we projected your blog for the group.

    In our closing prayers you prayed for you, your health, your mission and the people you serve. G

    God be with you all.