Cafe Tacuba

By John Samuel Tieman

When I lived in Mexico City, I now and again stopped at the Cafe Tacuba, just a few blocks from the Zocalo, the city center. The Cafe Tacuba is a pastry and snack joint built in a colonial nunnery. It’s a popular lunch spot for government workers. It’s built right on the old Aztec causeway leading in and out of Tenochtitlan. Of course, today it’s just one of the many doors in the many high rises in the center of Mexico City.

It was along this very street that Cortez and his crew were run out of town on the Noche Triste, 30 June 1520. Somewhere, right here somewhere, he and his crew dumped the entire Aztec treasury, this to lighten themselves for their getaway. Those who did not, those soldiers who kept the gold in their boots and uniforms, sunk down into the mud beside this one causeway out of town. Later, after Cortez slaughtered the Aztecs, he would try to find the gold, but the mud is just too deep.

So, today, everyone knows it’s right here somewhere. Within yards of this very bagel is a gold plate engraved with the finest Aztec workmanship, a plate from which the mighty Moctezuma II himself ate his very bagel. But today, that million dollar plate has a fifty million dollar office building on top of it. So there your fortune sits, just sits. Right here somewhere.

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