Mexico's Lady in White: A Traverse of Ixtacihuatl

By Jerry Fine with photos by Lee Waite

After the Climb:
We strode up to the doors of the Posada and knocked. The senora was actually out on the street and came up behind us to let us in. Jose greeted us warmly just inside. They wanted to know if we had climbed the mountain, and when we said we had, they seemed quite impressed. The senora immediately ran off to get started on our supper. We went to our room, and laid around drinking the beer and thinking about showers. There was hot water!!! Those showers felt very good. We had a great supper as well with more beer, and good conversation. Jerry called Socorro Alpino, and reported that we were off the mountain, after a successful climb. Then we went to bed, and slept the sleep of the dead.

Amecameca

The next morning, we got up around 8:30 and ate the nice breakfast that they brought us. We had decided to spend one more day at the foot of the mountain, before heading back to Mexico City. Dressed in clean clothes, bathed and shaved we took a collectivo to Tlalmanalco, and then grabbed a minibus which took us to Amecameca. We walked around the city, stopping in a pharmacy to call the states to report that we were ok. It was while talking with Julie and Sarah back in Indiana that tears came to Jerry's eyes for the first time on the trip.

Lee's glasses had been broken during the climb, probably having been slept on during the night. We got the glasses fixed at an optometrist. While waiting for the repairs to be made, Jerry got a haircut. The friendly young woman cutting his hair was a devotee of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and wanted us to stay for the saint's day. We ate a nice Mexican lunch in a restaurant on the town square. We did a turn through the market. We then walked up the Sacromonte, a high hill on the outskirts of town, which houses some ancient churches. We visited these churches, and yes we climbed the hill which was several hundred feet high. Our legs did complain.

At the very top was the oldest church, which looked like it was about to fall flat. We walked through the graveyard, and then down the hill. The view was superb from high up on Sacromonte. In the foreground, the city of Amecameca was spread out at our feet. In the distance, pieces of the two great mountains could be seen through rents in the clouds.

Our last stop in the town was the post office. We got stamps for our postcards and mailed a few. The efficient public transportation system had us back to Pueblo Nuevo by 5 pm, where we had yet another nice meal. We read and watched television for a while and then drifted off to sleep.

The next day was a Friday. We had debated what to do about lodging in Mexico City and decided to treat ourselves to a nice hotel. We picked the Radisson in the Zona Rosa. Jose Sanchez had arranged transportation for us with a friend, and even came along to keep us company. We settled accounts with him before leaving the Posada in the early afternoon.

Getting to the hotel took about 2 hours. It was quickly apparent that our driver had no idea where he was going, but he muddled through. We said a fond goodbye to him and Jose outside the Hotel around 2 pm. Checking in, we were impressed with how nice our rooms were. It was going to cost us $100 apiece for two nights, but it was worth it to upset the expedition balance sheet in this way. This hotel had cable television, CNN, everything. It also had a very nice shower.

We went out that afternoon and souvenir shopped at Sanborns. We also got a taxi to take us to the National Artesans Store, a government affiliated souvenir store. It was huge. Lee shopped for a chess set with Aztec figures. Jerry got ponchos for his four women. On the way back, the driver of the taxi offered to take us to Teotihuacan for $100. We turned him down.

We had supper at a Japanese restaurant. It was great. We sat and talked and ate tons of Japanese food, which according to Lee, and he should know, was quite authentic. On the way back to the hotel we pulled in at another shop, and got our boss, Bob Steinhauser, a big box of cigars. After reading and watching tv for a while we fell asleep.

The next morning, after breakfast, we decided to see how cheaply we could get to Teotichuacan. We got a paperback guide book for four or five dollars in the hotel gift shop. Then we walked out of the hotel, down to the subway station, and after a couple of transfers, reached the vast Indios Verdes bus station in Northern Mexico City. Cost of subway was just a few cents. We caught a cheap local bus, maybe a dollar apiece, which after taking many back roads, did drop us off at the main entrance to Teotihuacan. Yes, we did have to endure at least on onboard live music session. We had just about decided to tell the guy that we would pay him $20 just to shut up, when he did just that.

Teotihuacan - the final summit

We paid a nominal fee to enter the site, and using our little booklet, did a complete self guided tour in about four hours. The place was crammed with devotees of the New Age movement, holding prayer meetings everywhere from the top of the pyramid of the Sun, to underground excavations. By the way, our legs told us off for climbing the two main pyramids, but we did it anyway. We had a nice lunch in the restaurant back near the entrance, and then caught another local back to Mexico City. This one really seemed to take forever, and Lee went to sleep as we bumped along the dirt roads. The total cost of our makeshift tour: less than $10 per person.

We found the subway back to Zona Rosa and our hotel, and, after cleaning up, went out to try a Mongolian Barbeque. Nice, but not as much fun as the Japanese food. We were getting sated, and actually did not loose any weight on this trip.

The next morning we had breakfast in the hotel before taking a taxi to the airport. Lee found a group of Germans and engaged them in conversation. They were there setting up candy factories. At the airport we checked in with no trouble, and were soon bussed out to our Continental Airlines 737. After take off, Jerry looked out the window. There was Ixta, framed in all its beauty. The weather was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky. Jerry sighed with deep satisfaction and leaned back in his seat.

Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

If you like this web site why not try out our Kilimanjaro webpage?

If you have comments or suggestions, email me at lee.waite@rose-hulman.edu

Copyright 1997 by Lee Waite and Jerry Fine
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