austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

You're faced with the easiest task

For Monday bunny_hugger thought hard and decided she needed another day away from the conference. This might sound like it needs justification: going all the way to Mexico City for an academic conference and taking a second working day away from it? But remember that the conference had scheduled activities for seven days, and for most of those eight hours of activity each day. Nobody attends all of that. Many people flew in just for the day they were presenting, or for one or two key events. We thought about flying in just for a couple days, when we got the schedule and learned it was theoretically possible to attend the state pinball championships and make bunny_hugger's scheduled presentation, the last full day of things.

Plus, after my visit the pyramid at Cuicuilco bunny_hugger was envious, and wanted to see something of normal-person historical interest. So we took the day for that. And yes, it meant I'd go to see Cuicuilco, not a very large or deep place, twice. But part of venturing to a new place, and to fighting homesickness, is a bit of retrenchment, a day that isn't about finding new stuff or doing anything big or exciting.

We way missed the conference-organized breakfast. We were also late for the hotel restaurant's breakfast but were maybe early for lunch. That looked overly expensive for the number of vegetarian choices. So we went back across the highway to that little mall where the Best Buy and the crepes place were. There were several restaurants there and we gave in to a slightly silly impulse. We ate at the IHOP.

How is the International House of Pancakes different in a foreign country? Surprisingly non-different, really. I think the only significant thing we noticed not being on the menu was lingonberries. They did ask our name for the reservation book(?), although they had a table right there for us. And we complicated things by having bunny_hugger give her name. Her real-life first name is one that just doesn't exist in Spanish. She tried to spell it out and couldn't remember how to say 'H'. She offered finally that she could write it out, and that was good enough for them. In hindsight, we really should have given my name.

Although our waitress didn't speak English we did all right ordering, since context clues helped us along. The major confusion early on was my being asked what kind of sauce I wanted and just not getting this salsa question. She brought mild and hot sauce. Also, turns out hot sauce on an omelette is a good move. So this and the catsup/queso on the cheese fries at Six Flags Mexico show that I just can't handle follow-up questions about food. The major confusion later on was after we asked for the cheque, and we couldn't understand a follow-up question that she had. The waitress had to find someone else who did speak English. The question was whether we wanted to leave a tip. A good question since we didn't have any idea what tipping was like in Mexico, or Mexico City particularly. We just hadn't eaten anywhere that might have tipped.

At the end we paid by credit card, saving our cash for places that needed it. And they brought out the credit card scanner to the table for us to witness and here we realized a practice that had been going on all around us. When we charged something, which had mostly been amusement park ticket or souvenir purchases, they showed us the amount on the card machine before going ahead. Good practice, honestly, even if I don't envy restaurant staff having to figure out where the credit card machine's gone off to now.

Then, feeling a touch ridiculous for having used one of our few chances to eat in Mexico City on IHOP, we set out for the pyramids.

Trivia: The Mountains of Kong, a range lining the northern edge of Upper Guinea, last appeared on a map in 1890 published by Rand McNally, although the 1928 edition of Bartholomew's Oxford Advanced Atlas listed the mountains in its index. There are no such mountains. Source: On The Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks, Simon Garfield.

Currently Reading: The Mismapping of America, Seymour I Schwartz.


PS: Walking back to give the Sea Dragon one last ride if we're lucky?

SAM_3956.jpg

It had seemed to me like the flamingoes tended to keep the same leg as their flock-mates raised, but I'm not sure that's more than just a statistical fluke.


SAM_3959.jpg

Flamingo seems rather skeptical of me and whatever the heck I'm up to with my camera here.


SAM_3964.jpg

Turtle moseying his way down off-stage as part of another performance showing off animals to mostly kids and their parents.


Tags: columbus zoo, mexico city
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