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The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

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I write, self publish and sell books about touring

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START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
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(see all 3 book)

Paquime Ruins: Casas Grandes, Mexico

(May 17, 2002)

We have both been to Indian ruins and old cliff dwelling sites many times before.  Living in Arizona and New Mexico you can not avoid it and places like Wapatki, Tuzigoot, and Chaco Canyon are everywhere.  The ancient ruins in Paquime were of the same era and similar in lifestyle.  Indeed, the Paquime Indians traded with these peoples in the north and had absorbed much of their customs and wealth.   They also traded with their neighbors to the south such as Toltec and the Aztec.   So we already knew the general story and layout that we would encounter.

The ruins were occupied from 900 to 1340 A.D. and at its peak as many as 10,000 people lived here.  The Paquimes built a complex web of canals with cisterns to irrigate their crops in this very arid environment.  They also built adobe cages to raise Macaws, their feathers were used for ceremonial purposes.  Artifacts found at the site included sea shells, hand made tools, matates, pottery (some made with black clay), jewelry made of puca shells and other articles from their day to day existence.  It is thought that their demise came at the hands of the Apache warriors.  This is believable because the Apache's lived in the surrounding area and made their living by raiding and pillaging other cultures.

What we did not expect was the ultra modern Mexican National Park that had been developed to show off this natural treasure.  The museum and visitor center was modeled after the American nation parks system.  The exhibits were in both English and Spanish, which at this point in our travels was very helpful because our Spanish isn't quite up to technical exhibits. 

While we were there, there were several school groups, who we could tell were on field trips.  There were several large busses in the parking lot and hundreds of middle and high school aged kids milling about the place.  Tim towers above everyone.   Because we were the only foreigners in the place they looked at us with great interest but they kept a respectful distance out of courtesy.  Tim pointed out that even though the teachers were greatly outnumbered by students.  The students were much more well behaved then their counterparts north of the border.  A big similarity was that the teachers looked haggard.  Teachers on both sides of the border dread the all day field trip.

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Special cages made to raise Macaw birds.  Their feathers were used for ceremonial purposes.

 

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