Teotihuacan and Some Mole, Please

“Not for the first time I felt myself confronted by the dizzying possibility that an entire episode in the story of mankind might have been forgotten.”

Graham Hancock

During my travels, I had some great tours and some not-so-great tours. Occasionally you come across something that truly hits the mark at being a one of a kind experience.

The tour guides are exciting and entertaining, the place captures your imagination, and the food is out of this world.

Most tours for me start like this, load the bus up, and drive to the destination. The first stop is a souvenir shop where you will spend most of your time; the second stop is the actual place you signed up to see, but you must hurry because you wasted most of the day at the first stop. Third stop, we are now in more of a hurry, and you only get 30 minutes. Next stop, souvenir shop, then we are now in a bigger hurry, so you only have 15 minutes at your last stop. Then drive home. 

I am not crazy about these tours because I feel like I am not traveling but looking through a glass bus at a safe distance. I can watch NatGeo or No Reservations from the comfort of my living room. When I travel, I want to explore, I want to taste, and I want to feel.

So it is no surprise that I reluctantly go along, but sometimes when you are with a group, you must go with the flow.

Sometimes, I am handed the controls, and that is when I can travel my way.

It was by chance I stumbled upon this one, and it was a wow!

I found this one through another blogger, A Gringo’s Guide to Mexico City. And when she said I don’t like tours, but this one blew my mind. I said Sign me up.

The tour is Teotihuacan & My Grandma’s Food – he had me at my Grandma’s Food. Run through Airbnb, these two brothers, Hugo and Gabriel, fifth-generation farmers and Pulque producers, first-generation tour guides, give you a local view of Teotihuacan and then take you home to their grandmother’s house where you actually eat her cooking.  

We (Aimee Murcia and I) met our guides around 7:30 AM at a Parque Mexico, and after a short introduction of who we were, where we come from, and our favorite food (mind had to be queso followed closely by tacos), we loaded up and headed out. The first stop….was a coffee shop, no souvenir shop for these guys because they understand the importance of coffee (and gas, the main reason was to fill up the tank, but the coffee shop was actually good).

We journey to Teotihuacan. Along the bumpy road, Latino music was playing, and we were chilling. 

Teotihuacan is huge. The brothers took turns telling us the story of the place, its history, and its history with them. They played on the ruins as kids, studied them in school, and now are tour guides.  

For those who don’t know, Teotihuacan is one of the ancient Mesoamerican cities of the world, located in the Sun Valley in the state of Mexico. This is before the Mayans and Aztecs. The city covers about eight square miles and is believed to date back to 100 BCE.

To see everything will take days, and more areas are being excavated. Unlike Chicken Itza, this isn’t a wonder of the world because over 40% of the city had to be rebuilt. This was because Porfirio Diaz, the president of Mexico in the early 1900s, decided he wanted it excavated in under a year and when no archaeologist would take him up (it would have been impossible for them to excavate it correctly), he hired Leopoldo Batres. Batres’s solution was to use dynamite, and you can guess what happened.

Yep, so this fantastic city will never be a wonder.

There are two main pyramids, The Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moons. Before Covid, you could climb it, but after realizing that the city (like most of Mexico City was sinking), the government decided having hundreds of tourists tramp up and down the ruins, might not be the best idea for preserving it.

You still get some fantastic views from the bottom.

As we walked around, we got a chance to explore the moon pools and learn about the importance of dogs to the Mayans. Dante from Coco was significant, not just some street dog. 

The second part of the tour was a quick stop at their uncle’s booth to explain the difference between real and fake Obisidian, a naturally formed volcanic glass. Obsidian was used for everything from sun disks (think of it as polarized lenses that allow the Mayans to study the sun) to weapons to art. They stop by their uncle’s booth because he allows them to scrape both the fake and real Obisidian. Then we were set out on our own. Those who wanted to do some shopping could, those who wanted to explore more could, and those who wanted to draw could (that was me).

We had another hour to wander around the ruins before meeting for the 10-minute journey to their grandmother’s house. Yep, we met Abuela, and we were guests in her home. We also met one of the sisters, an aunt and an uncle.

Food was served on a patio, and you helped yourself to apple soda (something I got pretty addicted to on this trip) and beer. We were served Mole Role and Mole Verde (not made with Mole, by the way).

Mole is not mole meat (which I initially thought) but a traditional sauce used in traditional Mexican cooking.

Afterward, we learned about Pulque or octli, why Corona Beer was the worst thing to be imported to Mexico, and the culture behind the Pulque. We got to try four different types of Pulque. Pulque is a fermented sap of the maguey plant (giant agave plant). One of the brothers explained that there was no way to bottle it because it continues to ferment even after it is done cooking and has produced the alcohol. And since nobody wants to export exploding bottles across the border to the United States, it isn’t found there. So not many people know about it outside of Mexico. One of their missions is to bring it to the world.

Because of Covid, one of the brothers has been working with Chemist and Distillers and was finally able to get it bottled without losing its taste.

Yes, I did purchase a bottle, but you can decide for yourself. Local distill a one-of-a-kind drink and a hand-painted bottle. Yes, please.

The ride back was a bumpy, but with a full stomach, I couldn’t complain.

Check out this tour if you are in Mexico City or the surrounding area. We had a great time, went to the main attraction and spent as much time as we wanted, and had great food from locals who know and love the area.

Check out the tour here.

If you are not in Mexico but want to support them or find out when and where they distribution of their drink will be happening, check them out on Instagram @Exlorewithalocal


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