The Stairs of Sierra de Tepoztlan

My last day in Mexico City we drove to the Pre-Columbian village of Tepoztlan. Walking over cobblestone streets we made our way to the bottom of the Sierra de Tepoztlan peaks. With the many other tourists, in such a fashion reminiscent of modern pilgrimages, we mounted the cliff-face on ancient stairs.

Tepoztlan from El Tepozteco.

My road was long and tiring. I suffered from what we thought was the effects of a spicy breakfast tamale, but later humbly learned was altitude sickness. Light-headed and nauseous I slowly-slowly made my way up the cliff-face. A trip that took twice, and perhaps three-times, as long as it should have due to my condition. But, having easily completely a similar task in the recent past, I was determined to overcome my ailment and stand at the platform of the Aztec temple. I climbed.
Thus we came to be sitting on the walls of El Tepozteco overlooking the valley of Tepoztlan from high on the cliff-face. Our backs to the ancient ruin and our eyes soaking in the mountains and forests and valleys below us. And though my symptoms did not abate, I dreamed of climbing higher. Of flying in and out of crags and slices in the cliffs.

El Tepozteco
Not until we had had our fill of this glorious place, down Topezteco we went. Over now familiar steps and past huffing climbers. While I had struggled so to reach the top, a feat well worth the exertion, I could not reach the bottom fast enough. But alas, the altitude slowed my descent much as it had beleaguered my mount and at the bottom came the inappropriate ending to a potentially glorious day: painful dry-heaves.
My altitude sickness could not dampen my spirits. And during our journey back to Mexico City it came to us. The smell of rain. The small drops on the windshield. And in my embrace of the PNW I put my hand out the window to catch the cold wet. Unsatisfied as I was, M.I.P. obliged me and we pulled to the side of the highway, climbed the steps to a pedestrian over-pass, and danced together in the rain.
This moment would have, in itself, made up for the upset at Topezteco, but the night wasn’t over. I changed my clothes in the car, ruffled my hair, and put on some earrings. We ended that last day with cervezas and fantastic live music at King’s Pub in Mexico City.
The next morning I had one more task set forth before boarding my plane back to California: M.I.P. was to teach me to dance. One song and some easy steps. And though it was a beautiful moment made into a beautiful memory, I still cannot dance.

UPDATE: M.I.P. still thinks it was the Green Chili Tamal and not altitude sickness.


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