austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Though I have to travel far

Thursday: our first full day in Mexico City. We slept in too late to get the breakfast that the conference was having for its attendees ... somewhere ... in the hotel, somewhere. We would spend several days not getting up early enough for that, and not being perfectly clear just where it was anyway. People kept insisting that of course we'd be able to find it. (We finally would, on Sunday, when the breakfast ran late. Given the choice between a free meal and sleeping in an extra half hour bunny_hugger kept coming back to sleeping, and I was never tempted.) Also at the risk of sounding like clueless tourists falling for legends: figuring how to do our morning routines without drinking the water. We had read a lot of warnings to drink only bottled water and while I wouldn't expect anything truly life-threatening, to lose a day or two to some nasty bug when we only had a week of time in the city would be sad. The hotel delivered a couple bottles of water each room-cleaning, and we would use that for brushing our teeth instead of the tap water, and it was several mornings before I forgot. Also the hotel had a hotel shower, with three unlabelled cubes set against the wall, so good luck figuring the hot and cold water and which one diverts from the tub to the shower.

While bunny_hugger spent the day at the conference I had to ponder: what should I do? Well, read my comics, on the sluggish and interruption-prone hotel Internet. Which grew more annoying because chose that week to change how it delivers comics pages. You know how web sites start out by just sending your computer all the information needed to show the page? And then they move to a scheme where they just share Javascript notices about what to download if you happen to look at the page instead? So you can't just open a page, let it load while you do something, and come back and read the thing? GoComics picked that week to deploy that. It never worked in Mexico, and it didn't work when I got back to the United States. GoComics' web site feedback didn't work either --- wouldn't accept any submissions --- and their official blog never responded to my repeated questions about this. I did finally get some feedback, when I e-mailed their International Sales department, the only e-mail I could find on their web site. Finally they jiggered something or other and my comics page will mostly load. But again it does that by loading some of my comics and then most of the time getting around to a loading a comic when I scroll the page down to it. You know, for the sake of efficiency.

But after that, then what? And I thought hard about going to the hotel pool and just reading stuff all day. You know, a real proper vacation. But I thought I should at try some attractions instead, and held ``just don't do anything'' in reserve for later. (And never ended up spending a day just lounging at the pool, incrementing the counter of multi-day expeditions in which I bring my bathing suit and never use it.) The conference had given a bunch of goodies, of course, including a couple of tourism flyers. One of them showed several neighborhoods with high concentrations of tourist-friendly attractions. None of these offered any hint about how near or far any of these neighborhoods were, though. But between that and Google Maps Only Slow I achieved successful plan-making. The Frida Kahlo Museum could be interesting. It had been her house, and it was in an area with a bunch of things in case that turned out to be dull. (I also considered: how often do I ever find a museum to be dull? Yeah, exactly.)

With considerable trepidation I went down to the lobby and asked the front desk if I could get a taxi. They pointed me to the concierge desk where I wasn't at all sure I was saying anything right, especially since, as noted before, I'm helpless in any Spanish that isn't ``counting to twelve in a Sesame Street jingle''. They knew what I was getting at, though, and flagged down a taxi that drove me past the university where bunny_hugger was conferring, and farther into areas that looked like the low-rise areas of Singapore that weren't home, back when I was there, but that were comfortable.

What I didn't see there was an Authorized Taxi stand or counter or sign or anything so I didn't know quite how I would get back. Also I saw the museum, once Kahlo's house. And an enormous queue in front of it. I walked a block west, to a convenience store where I got a Coke Light and a chocolate bar --- bunny_hugger and I wondered whether we'd find a new can't-get-it-here candy; surely nothing would compare to Star Bars, but there could be something wonderful anyway --- but this didn't do anything to shorten the line. The chocolate, a Carlos V, was a nice milk chocolate thing, although I kept trying to remember wasn't Carlos V the Spanish king so inbred he could barely close his mouth and whose death set off the 14-year-long War of the Spanish Succession, arguably among the earliest of World Wars? (The Carlos V bar is named for Holy Roman Emperor Carlos V, who was in Spain Carlos I. The catastrophic King of Spain was their Carlos II, Carlos V-and-I's great-great-grandson.) That didn't seem at all possible, but trying to work this out kept my mind surprisingly busy while I thought over whether this line would be worth it. This is why I can't interact with normal people.

Trivia: The bill moving the United Kingdom from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar [*] was debated in the House of Lords on the 18th of March in the year they termed 1750 and that the Gregorians would term 1751. Source: Marking Time: The Epic Quest to Invent the Perfect Calendar, Duncan Steel. [*] Steel goes to some pains to raise the question of whether what the British (and ultimately Americans) adopted really was the Gregorian Calendar, or merely something that happens to coincide in what it calls the various dates. He argues the Gregorian calendar was so inextricably a religious reform, based on correcting the dates of Easter, while the British calendar law works its way around suggesting that the Papists might have had anything at all right and that this was just a matter of fixing days in general.

Currently Reading: Superman: The Golden Age Dailies, 1942 - 1944, Jerry Siegel, Whitney Ellsworth, Joe Shuster, Wayne Boring, et al. (Book) Editor Dean Mullaney. And with a story featuring Lois Lane's tall-tale-telling niece (utterly forgotten for decades until, of course, Grant Morrison brought her back) and the Axis capture of Santa Claus and a 1944(!) incident of Jimmy Olsen being kidnapped by a foreign country with invisibility metals because he looks just like their king and I realize, a lot of what I thought was quintessentially Silver Age giddy nonsense was just baked into the Golden Age too.

PS: League finals! No actual finals depicted.


bunny_hugger working out which of these fine trophies she's going to take home. (We took 5th and 6th place, so were too low to get the top three trophies and too high to get the B Division trophies.)


``What should I do? What should I do?''


To understand why this is a correctly-formed pinball joke that is quite funny please consider that Indiana Jones is a pinball game on which you can expect to get 100 million points per ball without breaking a sweat, and that to score less than five million points on your first ball is an exceptionally bad, unlucky moment, and the score here is four million to two-and-a-quarter million.

Tags: mexico city, pinball

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