Posts Tagged ‘earth’

Pyramids and town fair

1st May 2011 by Helen
climbing the pyramid of the sun

climbing the pyramid of the sun

Yesterday we were looking for the pyramids we knew to be in the area just NE of Mexico City.  We got sidetracked by the setting up of a town fair in Tecamac and camped in a nearby Pemex garage (another night with earplugs for Paul of course, me I just slept).

Anyway, today we found and explored the pyramids at Teotihuacan.   Paul in particular marvelled at the engineering feat in creating such a perfect layout of the pyramids so that the celestial sky was represented on earth and everything was level.

musical acrobatic display seen in several places around Mexico

musical acrobatic display seen in several places around Mexico

It wasn’t until we visited the Anthropological museum in Mexico city a few days later that we really began to get a grip on the culture and history of the site.  There are hundreds of artefacts on display there.  The culture seemed more advanced that we might have expected and the site itself is enormous. 

We did not fully understand the significance of all the tourist souvenirs being hawked by the hundreds of hawkers at the site – the obsidian heads, funeral masks, as well as various items of jewellery.  However these also made more sense once we had been to the museum.

brightly dressed dancers at Tecamac town fair

brightly dressed dancers at Tecamac town fair

Afterwards we returned to the town of Tecamac.  This appears to be quite a small town yet the extent of the fair is amazing.  We watched a troop of young musicians play some eight or more pieces of music, all with choreography, lasting at least half an hour.  There were some very energetic dancers, in traditional Indian costumes, who again danced for what was absolutely ages without flagging.

Tomorrow we are due to meet up with Jaime and travel into Mexico City.  So for tonight we returned to the Pemex garage on the way into the city.

Campsite – Pemex garage on Highway 57

Distance travelled – 117 km

Wherewith the tar baby?

19th May 2010 by Helen

I have always had a vision of Canada as comprising vast areas of land, beautiful scenery, largely unspoilt by the ravages of industrialisation.  An idyllic holiday destination.

But it seems I was wrong.  Or maybe I just believed the advertising.

Canada is developing an image problem.  Canada has tar sands, lots of it.  Of course Canada is not the only country with tar sands, but it does seem to have one of the largest deposits of it.

Tar sands is largely bitumen, on land, at or near the earth’s surface, that large oil companies are harvesting for use, and have been doing for some time.  In Canada this is since the 1960’s.  The problem is that the harvesting of this bitumen is energy intensive and causes significant pollution, requires the destruction of forests, and uses large quantities of water in the extraction process (not a problem in Canada but likely to be a problem in other countries where tar sands have yet to be exploited).  In pure energy terms it is one of the least economic energy products to obtain.

Shell, although not alone, is a key developer in the tar sands extraction, seeing this as having an important role in providing future energy resources.

Not everyone agrees with them.  Growing international awareness of the health impact of pollution, destruction of forests, and the need to be good stewards of the earth’s resources, have led to environmentalists and others campaigning against the harvesting of the tar sands.

As our journey takes us close to some of the many areas in the world identified as having, or potential having, exploitable tar sands, this is something we will have to look out for.