Monday, November 8, 2010

Tim and Sheryl Beach's Maya wetland research

Nice article in Nature (with links) on Timothy Beach and Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach's work on ancient Maya wetland agriculture.

I can't say enough about the quality of their research. They are dedicated, adept, thoughtful, and cautious scientists. The best of the best.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Teotihuacan at Dawn

I was here a couple of weeks ago. It can easily cost US$100 to get a tour or taxi to Teotihuacan from downtown Mexico City. Taking local transport is very cheap. Take the Metro to the Autobuses del Norte station. The bus station of the same name is directly across the street from the subway exit. Veer left inside the bus station and the narrow ticket counter for the local bus that goes to the ruins is the second- or third-to-last ticket vendor from the left-hand end. The small sign is yellow, and the buses go to San Juan and San Martin. The one you want is the "Piramides" bus. Tickets go on sale a few minutes before 6:00 am. Since the Metro starts running at 5:00 am, you should have time to get to the bus station before the ticket window opens so you can catch the first bus to Teotihuacan if you want. Not knowing how long any of this would take, that's what I did: the first Metro train and the first local bus. I arrived before 7:00 am at the gates of Teotihuacan. There was a night watchman hanging out in the gatehouse, chatting with random employees or friends. A couple of employees went in and out. It was absolutely freezing in the pre-dawn air at about 2300 m (7500 feet) above sea level. I had on an extra shirt, but I was jumping around and shivering anyway. The locals were all wearing jackets. It didn't help that I needed to pee something fierce. I finally asked the guard if I could use the restroom, and he let me in.

Here's Teotihuacan at dawn with no one else around.
Pyramid of the Sun from the west, with the sun rising behind.

Pyramid of the Sun again.

Another image.

Pyramid of the Sun yet again.

More of the same.

And one final image:

Actually, there was a charming group of giggling high school students who had just emerged from the tunnel under the pyramid. They were hidden behind something, so I didn't see them until I got right up to the pyramid. They were having a great time and we had a fun chat.

Here's a nice one of the Pyramid of the Moon taken in the dawn light from atop the Pyramid of the Sun.

Feel free to use my photos for non-profit educational purposes provided you attribute them to me, the photographer.

The bus was a comfy modern contraption. The movie on the way back was great, although I didn't see the whole thing and didn't catch the title.

Fun trip!

More photos to come, if I remember.