MEXICO: Popo's Toll

When the setting sun tints the snowy slope of Popocatepetl, the 17,887-ft. volcano seems to float majestically beside its twin peak Ixtacihuatl, in the thin air over Mexico City. To tourists looking out from their hotel windows, the rosy mountain is enchanting. But to the primitive Indians living in the village of Amecameca at the volcano's base, it is frightening. Centuries ago their ancestors cast human sacrifices into the crater's fiery maw. Today Popocatepetl sleeps, but the Indians of Amecameca are sure that it is still hungry and jealous of its rights.

An Irresistible Challenge. Popo, as even the Indians...

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