Saturday, November 03, 2012

Hit or Myth?

Someone recently called me a skeptic. I can accept that name without hurt feelings, but I think it more accurate to designate me a realist. At least, sometimes.

A example at hand is the claim that the Plaza Grande of Pátzcuaro is "the second largest plaza in Latin América". The very audacity of the claim is ridiculous, but my reaction was "What does it matter?" The Plaza Grande is beautiful and gracefully proportioned. Does tourist bureau type hyperbolic comparisons make it better than it really is?

Plaza Grande: Big, bigger, biggest?

Another example comes to mind. The Great Pyramid of Cholula, near Puebla, México. Visitors may traverse the base of the pyramid via some man made tunnels, of which the most remarkable aspect is their uniform dullness. The visitors are told that there are some 17 kilometers of tunnels. I have to ask, "So what?". Whether it is true or false is irrelevant to me. The tunnels accessible to the tourists are maybe a half a kilometer in extent. More than enough to bore one in the first 5 minutes.

Pyramid of Cholula as it may have been.
Pyramid of Cholula now. (Use your imagination!).
I'm not sure this is related to the subject, but it's irresistible.
I am bursting to share this item I found in the book, Mexico Health and Safety Travel Guide, by Doctor Robert and Doctor Curtis Page. (Fortunately, I got this used book at a Pátzcuaro Biblioteca Book Sale, and didn't shell out any serious money for it.)
Here's the quote:
" A great ecotourist attraction just a few miles from Tuxtla Gutíerrez is the 2,625 ft. deep Cañon del Sumidero, created by the Río Grijalva following the completion of the hydroelectric dam in 1981"
underlined emphasis mine.
Cause and effect turned upside down.

Cañon del Sumidero, Chiapas. Worth a visit, despite the above nonsense.

We now move into the more recondite realm of caves . An acquaintance recently posted a query on our local Internet bulletin board. He had some circumstantial "evidence" that a cave opening on the brow of Cerro Blanco in Pátzcuaro was said to have wended its way to Tzintzuntzan. Furthermore, it may have been the route that the Purhépecha took to transport gold without being attacked by robbers along surface trails.

A-HEM. Naturally, my skepticism arose. I stated that it was geologically impossible for a cave, if it existed, to pass the lengthy gauntlet of valley and especially of the low lying Lake Pátzcuaro. He countered that maybe an earthquake cut it off.

View Larger Map

I later considered the question why the putative ladrones didn't lie in wait within the mysterious tunnel. It would have been easier to do their dastardly deeds in the dark of the caves. How is it that it's always only  the good guys who know where the secret entrances are to these limitless caves?

Of course, there's the question of practicality. How much more difficult would it be to traverse a cave passage of some 12 to 15 miles in length, as compared to a surface route? (I know that you are agreeing with me that the whole thing is ridiculous.)

After the third or so email exchange, he told me that he enjoyed thinking about such things such as transport by rays of light beams, and with that, he had me. I also enjoy such fantasies, except I take them with a costal de sal.

This is my own imagining. In the valley where we live, close to Buena Vista and the autopista to Morelia is a peculiar hill. It's neither the biggest nor the highest of the hills. Its salient feature is that it has a sloping summit, inclined upward from south to north. This gives it the look of artifice, somewhat resembling a huge, grass covered tank. But for what purpose?

When the hill is shrouded in mist, an overripe imagination may spin fantasies of alien bases, methane gas collectors, refueling stations, last redoubt of the Purhépecha kings, blah blah.

The low, central mesa may hide secrets.
Looks pretty mysterious, doesn't it?

The Hill: lower left in this image. Why the frequent vapor in this area?

Unidentified Flying Vapor
Aura of light hovering over The Hill

This, just in: Gas leak explodes and burns as an incandescent cloud.
Excesses of the Holiday Season resulted in this mole gas leak, which spontaneously combusted in the presence of a chile catalyst.
Who can say what is real and what is mythical? Believe what you will. Most of all, have fun. Here are a few of my own imagining.

Dragon fossil beds
Dragon Gizzard Stones
DANGER! Carnivorous plant

We'll close our program me this afternoon with this internet phenomenon of years past.

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