Today we walked up a narrow mountain road to Monte Alban, the ruins of one of the earliest known pre-Columbian cities. No one knows why it was abandoned. We were so tired once we got there it was all we could do to wander around listlessly and lay about on the tops of pyramids. It must have been a beautiful place in its prime. Now it’s hot and dusty and quiet, the remnants of a great civilization and a field of dry grass.

From the top of Monte Alban we could see out over the Oaxaca valley. In the distance a fire was burning on the side of the mountain, sending a billow of smoke mushrooming into the sky.