The Spectacular Teotihuacan

One of the beautiful highlights of my recent trip to Mexico was my visit at the magnificent ruins of Teotihuacan.  It is about an hour bus ride from the modern-day Mexico City.  And because there are massive information available online on how to get to these ruins by commute, I decided to do the adventure by following the instructions indicated on various blogs and web write-ups.  I could have simply joined a tour group but as usual, I challenged myself. 

courageously doing a commute at the bus station armed with a lot of things

I learned from my first few days that majority of Mexicans do not really speak English.  Thus, before I left for this ancient city, I armed myself with adequate internet data, the proficient Google Maps and reminded myself the simple steps to communicate, i.e. (i) speak English slowly; (ii) drop the articles as they only cause confusion; (iii) repeat the main concept two or three time; (iv) gesticulate; and, (v) smile a lot.

Teotihuacan was really overwhelming!  And based on various write-ups, no one knows who built this humongous ancient city.  It was so old that it was already in ruins before the ancient Aztecs were able to discover this old puzzling metropolis.  In 1987 this ancient city was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.  And since it is so close to the modern-day Mexico City, Teotihuacan has been the most visited archeological site in Mexico. 

on my way to the pyramids via calle de los muertos
pyramid of the sun
strike a pose! it’s one of the largest pyramids!
unbelievable! I had to pinch myself!
cleverly called… the avenue of the dead
mysterious!
i need to have a selfie! on top of the pyramid of the moon!
photo taken from the pyramid of the moon
i love this shot!

What for me is so cool about Teotihuacan is how spots in this ancient city were named and labelled.  Mexicans’ naming of the interesting places of Teotihuacan gave it more appeal and character.  Whoever tagged or named the places inside Teotihuacan are so smart and imaginative.

And since the term “Teotihuacan” meant as “the birth place of the gods” or “the place where men turns into gods”, it is but fitting that this ancient city has the Pyramid of the Sun (the third largest pyramid in the world) and the more gracious-looking Pyramid of the Moon.  There was even a location that is sensationally called the “Temple of the Feathered Serpent”! 

feeling happy & feeling blessed! pyramid of the moon at the background…
will definitely not forget this adventure

The coolest actually was how the main road leading to the pyramids was called.  The central 2.4-kilometer main road is called Calle de los Muertos or “the Avenue of the Dead”.  So when I was walking on this runway, it felt dramatic! I felt like I was being transformed by some creative spirit from being a human being to some sort of a god!  It was really amazing! 

Teotihuacan, built hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, will remain a mystery.  Little is known about its first inhabitants and why this magnificent place was later abandoned.  Whatever is the mystery behind the ruins of Teotihuacan, it remain to be something so pleasing and imaginative.  Its mystery definitely adds up to its awesome charm. 

Ispektakular! Ang galing!

A Surprise Visit to Himeji Castle

The highlight of my October 2014 Japan trip with Nengkoy was something unexpected.  When my mother and I flew to Osaka for an extended long weekend, the only thing that’s both in our mind was to do a little shopping and visit nearby walking distance places where my nephew and nieces are based.  We did not even had plans of riding the modern, intricate and very efficient subway trains!

But my sweet nephew Denden had a different agenda.  He along with his sisters (my nieces) Erika and Thatcher brought me and Nengkoy to one of the first World UNESCO Heritage Sites of Japan, the famous Himeji Castle located in Hyogo Prefecture (about an hour by speedy train from Osaka).

Upon reaching the Himeji train station, people will definitely not miss this magnificent architectural jewel for it dominates the whole place.  The 20 minute walk from the train station to the castle along a wide boulevard was also enjoyable for you will encounter arty pieces of sculptures lining the whole Otemae-dori pathway.

with my niece erika, enjoying the breezy walk along otemai-dori
with my niece erika, enjoying the breezy walk along otemae-dori

And when we reached the entrance, we were at awe on how magnificent the site was.  What I particularly loved was the bright white color of the building that contrasts the dusky overcast sky during the day of our visit.

There was a Japanese guy at the ticket vending machine who spoke in excellent English who explained to us that the castle is still under renovation and that we would not be able to enter the main castle’s interiors.  Notices posted around indicated that the renovation is expected to be finished by March 2015.  I guess in time for the peak ‘sakura’ spring season.

magnificent!
magnificent!
picture perfect!!! hahaha!
picture perfect!!! hahaha!

Nevertheless, we still purchased tickets and settled on what can be seen inside.  Indeed the view of the castle was spectacular while the Bailey and the accessible grounds that allows visitors were all fantastic.

To compensate for the restrictions to enter the main tower, the bailey and storehouses were converted into dazzling museums showing off many historical artifacts such as armor suits of shoguns, various building as well as the living quarters of Princess Sen and her multitude of female servants.

nengkoy and her beautiful grandchildren exploring the himeji castle complex
nengkoy and her beautiful grandchildren exploring the himeji castle complex
sakuramon bridge at the entrance and the moat surrounding the whole himeji castle complex
sakuramon bridge at the entrance and the moat surrounding the whole himeji castle complex
beautiful cobblestones leading to the west bailey
beautiful cobblestone stairs leading to the west bailey

Though we were not allowed entry inside the tower, I still was very impressed on what we have explored.  The whole surroundings and the atmosphere seem to remain authentic and true to its historical roots.  Indeed, our surprise visit was an overwhelmingly great experience.

Himeji Castle, is truly worth visiting when in Japan!  It definitely possess a grandiose class of its own.

Tenk yu Denden… sa uulitin…