First objective at the airport: get some money. We'd called our banks to warn we'd be in Mexico City so trusted we could withdraw from the ATMs. If we found some ATMs. Took longer than you'd think. But we succeeded, and bunny_hugger went up to one with our credit union card, the one for household expenses and tapped on the right buttons and ... uhm ... we don't know why but nothing happened. I can't learn from experience, so I gave it another try, with my bank's card and that got us some money. We didn't try the credit union again, and just took out cash or paid for stuff by credit cards. You know I'm old enough that on my first overseas trip I used travellers cheques? Ask about them. (Oh, like non-old people are on Livejournal/Dreamwidth.)
Next objective: get a taxi back to the hotel. bunny_hugger had learned the only non-alarming way to get a taxi in Mexico City is to stop at one of the Authorized Taxi booths where you would negotiate the trip and pay for a fare at a dispatcher's office, and get a voucher which an affiliated taxi would accept, and in this way avoid being overcharged or taken on a tour through Queens or be nagged into taking side trips that run up the fare. Finding the Authorized Taxi stand took us on a hike through the airport, and the sidewalk outside the airport, until we finally succeeded and we could plunge through the city.
We'd heard how bad the rush hour could be and even with the advantage of getting through customs quickly worried we might still miss the conference reception. But apart from tangles getting out of the airport that seemed standard for, well, Newark, it wasn't bad. We got to more major streets and then to highways and drove through a sprawling city that felt, to me, very familiar. The sort of density of North Jersey, approaching the helix. Or of driving through the Bronx. The kind of colors and architecture, including many buildings with open or partly open walls, that I knew from Singapore. It was that strange feeling of being in a place that was completely new, but had enough familiar touches to not feel alien. I might giggle a little at finding a Best Buy. But to see a Sears? Only looking open and healthy-ish? We would later on find a Radio Shack too.
And then finally we got to the Hotel Royal Pedregal, as we'd written down on several sheets of paper and our iPods and, for that matter, the voucher from our Authorized Taxi. It's a great-looking place, the sort of four-star hotel where you have to pay extra for tolerable Internet, we would learn. And the main lobby had these great large open spaces and long escalators that seemed like there just had to be a major furry convention scheduled for the place. We had the time to get to our room and sprawl out a bit before going to the reception.
Before we would we'd have to check in, which for bunny_hugger was no big deal. For me, somehow ... it was. I think my status as a person not with any school and really just attending the reception, properly, baffled the people they had working the desk. They had to call other people in, causing bunny_hugger to almost die from an embarrassment I didn't understand. But all such confusing problems of people frowning at laptops at the start of conventions end, and I got a badge almost like those of the real attendees, and we went in.
They had a band that was always just finished playing. And appetizers, lots of appetizers, carried around by staff on trays just like you see at cocktail parties for rich people in the movies. All vegan food too, as the conference takes its animal-care attitude seriously. We'd circulate some, looking for people that bunny_hugger would recognize and me trying to not act like I was too much out of place. I forget whether this reception or another also had a TV set up showing music videos of the 80s when the band wasn't playing, but that was a thing that at least some of them had.
Well, we'd had a successful day. We had got the house secured, flown to Mexico City, reached the hotel without incident, ate, and got to at least see some of the conference attendees. We could go back to our room, get ready for bed, and get angry at the hotel Internet. Just a week to go before we'd be home.
Trivia: Before the Panama ``revolution'' the Columbian government received a $25,000 annual payment from the Panama Railroad for its transport rights across the isthmus. Source: The Path Between The Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870 - 1914, David McCullough.
Currently Reading: Superman: The Golden Age Dailies, 1942 - 1944, Jerry Siegel, Whitney Ellsworth, Joe Shuster, Wayne Boring, et al. (Book) Editor Dean Mullaney. Oh. Oh, dear, no, don't go ... Superman going undercover in a Japanese internment camp to find the saboteurs and yes there's a mention at the end of how none of the Americans held by America in concentration camps actually did anything disloyal but then it also has Superman say how easily he can disguise himself as a Japanese man and, Jerry, I'm going to have to tell you right there no. Stop. Sit down and let's try again from the start.
PS: And My Pi Day Stuff, bringing back some relevant old material for another look.
PPS: Hey, how about some of the local pinball league?
Hard at work. Figuring out the initial seedings and bracket pairs for the Lansing Pinball League finals, May 2017.
Um ... don't ever give up? (To understand why this is a correctly-formed pinball joke that is quite funny please consider that 10 million points is a great game that ordinarily wins this table.)
bunny_hugger having one of her moments of glory as a junk champion: her initials on the collar of Spike the Junkyard dog. (Many pinball games from the 90s on let you enter your initials not just for a high score but for specific accomplishments, and she managed it just before this game.)