By aaron.axvig, 18 December, 2006

Yesterday Javier, Javier, Julia, Daniela, and I went on a trip to Chapultapec.  This is an area of the city that is sort of like a giant park/historical zone.  The first place we went to was the Anthropological Museum of Mexico.  They had a temporary exposition on Persia which was pretty interesting, and then we moved on to the main part.  It is arranged around a central courtyard area which is half-covered by a roof held up entirely by one big pillar in the center.

The first building we went to was about the beginning of man--not specific to Mexico.  They didn't have any clothes on the models.

The next building showed after man learned what clothes were (good thing too, because they were hunting woolly mammoths in the snow).  And it was more Mexico-specific.

The rest of the buildings were more interesting.  They covered the Mexicas, the Aztecs, and each of the regions of Mexico (North, South, and Central).  I thought the one about the construction of Tenochtitlan was really interesting.  The tribe was told by their god to find a place where an eagle is sitting on a cactus with a snake in its beak, and to build their city there.  As luck would have it, they found that eagle in the middle of a lake.  So they drove piles of some sort of water resistant trunk into the lake and built their city on top of that.  The problem here is that Mexico City was built on top of this city after it was conquered. Downtown Mexico City (located precisely over the center of the old city) has many heavy buildings, like...a cathedral and an art museum made of marble.

Daniela says that the art museum is actually sinking 5-or-so centimeters per year.  The government is considering moving it.  When I visited the cathedral, they had a pendulum hanging in the middle of it to show how much it was leaning to the side (a foot or so, with a pendulum length around 100 feet).  It is also sinking.

After the museum the Javiers and Julia went home.  Daniella and I went to the castle that's in Chapultapec, which was built by an emperor they had from Europe.  Mexico's presidents have also lived there, up until 1939 when it was converted into a museum.  We saw lots of paintings and murals inside, along with lots of old furniture and exhibits of old stuff.  I think my mom would have really liked it.

Then we went to the zoo (also in Chapultapec) and ate at the TacoInn.  By the time we finished the zoo was closing, so we didn't get to see much, except for some birds.  There were a lot of people leaving the zoo though--apparently it's very popular.

We got some cotton candy on the way out, and rode 3 buses home.