Sunday, November 28, 2010

A full day of anthropology

Today,  we had a full day at the Anthropology Museum, which is located in the Bosque de Chapultepec area of Mexico City. This area is analogous to New York's Central Park, just less central and a lot more publicly used than I recall ever seeing Central Park (although I haven't been to NYC that often). Along the major throroughfares, there were sellers of various and sundry items, but if you just walked along one of the parallel paths, there were very few people, and no vendors, either.

We walked through the Botanical Gardens, and noted that single patches of different cacti, and we stopped to take some posed photos by them. Then, along the major boulevard separating one side of the park from the Anthropology Museum, we were treated to several blown-up photographs depicting the Mexican Revolution that took place starting about 100 years ago (and one of the things that the country is celebrating, along with it's 200 year anniversary of independence). Neither Rafys nor I knew much about the Mexican Revolution, (and it is something that I will be reading up on while going to Teotihuacán tomorrow).

Then we crossed to the Anthropology Museum - a massive edifice dedicated to the human history of the Mexican native peoples throughout history. Since the museum is open to the citizens of the city every Sunday, it was bustling with many, many people when we got there and were told that we had to each buy our 51 peso tickets, and drop off our bags. (Sidenote: I saw an example of a false cognate on the sign at the baggage check: "valores" means both "values" and "valuables", but we were asked to check our values and that they were not responsible for any lost values.)

There was a dance exhibition that was well underway when we entered; one that demonstrated the various traditional dances from different regions of Mexico. We stopped to enjoy it before going down to getting some food at the restaurant: sandwiches (tasty, but nothing special), coffee and soda. Then we entered the first hall: a special exhibition on the findings from Mayan ruins.

Then we continued to the rest of the halls, starting with an introduction to anthropology and the entry of humans into the Mesoamerican area. The next hall was on the early civilizations of Mesoamerica, and moved on through to the Teotihuacán culture, through to the Toltec culture, and beyond. Then we moved to the main hall, and was presented with the Mexica culture (previously known as the Aztec culture). This hall had many artifacts about the entry of the Mexica people to the region and the development of the city of Tenoctichlán.

By the time we were through with that hall, it was 4:30pm, and we decided to skip the other four halls (the Gulf peoples, the northern people, the (regular) Maya exhibit, and the western people) and go to dinner at the nearby branch of Sushi Itto. (We had a really tasty dinner of traditional and nuveau sushis.)

While coming back to the hotel, we got into a cab that was wanting to charge us 130 pesos to take us back, instead of the 30 pesos that took us from Ruta 61 to the hotel on the previous night. He also told us that he would take us to a different place, by a different road, etc., so we decided to get out, take a regular bus to the Chapultepec metro station, and ride the metro back the two stops to Insurgentes station and walking back to the hotel. In all, this option cost us 6 pesos each, instead of what would have been 65 pesos each, with the cab... Sometimes, fleecing happens in more obvious ways than others.

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