austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Don't know anywhere I would rather be

As we rode in the taxi the driver and bunny_hugger spoke, albeit haltingly, mostly in Spanish. I could kind of follow along, at least most of the way. The subject matter carried me as far as I got. We were talking roller coasters.

The driver was delighted to talk about Montaña Rusa. It's the oldest wooden roller coaster at La Feria Chapultepec Magico, the amusement park in the Bosque de Chapultepec. The Bosque is a center of tourist-attracting items dense enough that I probably could have just gone there every day of the trip and amused myself. Montaña Rusa is, if we're not missing something, the oldest wooden roller coaster in Mexico City and possibly the oldest wooden roller coaster still operating in Mexico. (Oh, here. Wikipedia says it's the only wooden roller coaster operating in Mexico.) It dates to La Feria's opening in 1964. For eleven years it was the tallest roller coaster in the world, taking the title away from Revere Beach's Cyclone (which had been tallest for 44 years), and eventually beaten by Six Flags Magic Mountain's Revolution, which held the title for a year and is the one you see in National Lampoon's Vacation. It's a Möbius Strip roller coaster, with ``two'' side-by-side tracks that subtly swap over, so that if you leave on the left-hand side of the launch platform you return on the right. There's only three wooden M&oum;bius Strip roller coasters still extant; we'd been on its partners at Kennywood and at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. A surprisingly big part of how bunny_hugger decided to go to this conference was driven by the thought we might ride this particular roller coaster. Before the conference announcement we had figured we'd just never have reason to be anywhere near it.

The taxi driver told us a bit about the park and the roller coaster as a person who grew up with it. He talked particularly about riding it for the first time when he was eight. Either he happened to be eight when he first dared it, or they built the ride when he was eight. bunny_hugger's Spanish wasn't good enough to be clear on the point. My Spanish was so bad all I was sure about was that they were talking about roller coasters. Many parks and languages have ``Eight'' as the name, or a prominent part of the name, for roller coasters, since many early roller coasters have tracks whose footprint is a figure eight. ``Montaña Rusa'' is also a default name for roller coasters, more common in non-English parks. A ``Russian Mountain'' was in the late 19th century a term for a scenic rail-based ride, and many of the more exciting scenic rail rides blend into early roller coasters.

He also told us of how the track of Montaña Rusa was a representation, albeit abstractly, of the mountains that surround Mexico City. We'd never heard this before, in reading about the ride. It's a magnificent idea. I'm not sure this is plausible given the actual track layout. But stylized representations can be hard to recognize if you don't know what's being stylized well. And in any case it's a magnificent legend, even if it is only a legend, about the ride. Far classier than the legend that any given wooden roller coaster is sinking, which seems like all you get in the United States.

So this taxi ride, maybe a half-hour all told, was with the perfect driver. We were talking about, and readying for, and getting hyped about, the other amusement park we hoped to visit, and to spend the day at. He pointed out the window when we were first in view of the park, and of Montaña Rusa, as we came off the expressway and made our way through the smaller roads of the city park, up to the gates of the amusement park proper.

Trivia: B F Skinner's World War II ``Project Pigeon'', trying to train birds to guide missiles, got its first actual grant funding by the General Mills company. Vice-President of Research Arthur Hyde viewed the project as a public service rather than a potential product. Source: Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan ... And the World, Courtney Humphries.

Currently Reading: The Friendly Orange Glow: The Untold Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture, Brian Dear. ... It was running as recently as 2015? Wow.


PS: Hey, you know what, how about a full photo dump's worth of Anthrohio pictures? Thanks, let's.

SAM_3667.jpg

PunkCat and other fursuiters doing the Time Warp, again, at the final karaoke night.


SAM_3691.jpg

Something we'll only see the once: a surprisingly fine desk in a niche along the other, non-convention wing of the hotel. It blocks what would have been doors, if the space behind were regular rooms instead of the hotel exercise room that didn't need all those many doors. There was nothing in any of the drawers.


SAM_3693.jpg

Well hey, there was an elevator in the hotel after all! At the far end of the long corridor of rooms and matching the one at the far end of the convention's room block. There wasn't, as far as we could tell, one that was anywhere near the lobby.


SAM_3701.jpg

How you know it's over: they took out the Anthrohio events from the broken schedule boards.


SAM_3715.jpg

Returning to our temporary home, for the final time. Also yes, we were at the way far end of the ground-floor rooms. (Ground here as measured by the hotel lobby; at our end, we were one floor and a couple more steps above the ground. The parking lot's slope was rather a bit much.)


SAM_3718.jpg

You see what a mess we made of our hotel room by the end of the convention.


Tags: anthrohio, la feria, mexico city
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