I thought I would show you some pictures of our 15 minute drive to and from day camp. Mexico City aka Mexico DF (DF= Distrito Federal, kind-of like Washington DC) is one of the oldest and largest cities in the world. The population is between 22 and 25 million depending on who you ask, though some people in the city say this does not count migrant workers, homeless people, or families that live in temporary/make-shift houses. No matter how you look at it, it's huge. Because it is built on several fault lines, there are not a lot of highrises (though this is changing as architectural technology designs skyscrapers that are more resistant to earthquakes). In the Aztec times, Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) was a floating city built with Venice-like canals on an island in Lake Texcoco. Some canals still exist at present-day Xochimilco (where we will be celebrating Tonio's birthday next week- look for pictures!) This water was later pumped out, but this depletion of water beneath the city is causing it to sink: the city has sunk 30 feet in the last century. As evidence, you can see the stairs they build UP to the Angel de la Independencia as the ground around it sinks, or the huge Cathedral in the Zocalo slanting as it "floats" on huge marble slabs.
It is 7800 ft above sea level (2400 meters), which is about a mile and a half up- I still sometimes get out of breath running up the stairs! When you land in Mexico City, the immensity boggles your mind- the valley between all of the volcanoes and mountains is blanketed with apartments and houses, with green patches, and long highways snaking through the cement cubes. The brightly colored houses are slowly crawling up the surrounding mountains, and have completely covered various peaks. On a clear day, the peaks of 2 well-known volcanoes can be seen: Popocatepetl and Itzacihuatl. The story that I have heard about these volcanos goes like this- Popocatepetl and Itzacihuatl were in love. Popo was an Aztec warrior who went off to fight some enemies, while Itza stayed behind and waited for him. A jealous person told Itza that he had died in the war, and Itza was so broken-hearted she laid down and died (they also call this mountain the sleeping woman). Then when Popo came back and saw that his lover was dead he knelt down by her body and also died. I haven't had my camera with me to capture the volcano image yet, but I will try to get a picture before I leave.
Here are some pictures on the way to day camp: