And so Thursday was our last day in Mexico City, the one that if all went well would return us to Lansing. Getting up, final packing, and checking out went just about exactly as it might at any other hotel we'd been at. I kept looking around and thinking what a great setting the hotel lobby was for a furry convention fursuit parade. Maybe that's just me. We took our last looks at a place we'd gotten familiar with, and let the concierge find us a taxi to the airport.
Yes, at the airport we worried some that we'd lost the visa forms that we'd gotten on entry. This was just normal nervousness; we hadn't lost them and we turned them in without incident. Also without anything being stamped in our passports, to our disappointment. So much of the fun of having passports is collecting the stamps in them. But we got through security and through a long, long chain of narrow corridors past gift shops and duty-free shops and other shops until we could get to the serious task of waiting for our plane. Also we were able to stop at a gift shop in the airport where they had some fine tchotchkes that would be good souvenirs. Also some thank-you gifts. We missed a Lansing Pinball League night while travelling, and MWS stepped up to organize things in our absence. bunny_hugger found a nice fridge magnet, the sort of thing small enough and useful enough that even if he didn't like it the thing would still be some good. (He liked it.) Also a couple of decorative paperweights, birds with figures hand-painted on them. One would go to bunny_hugger's parents. One's on our record cabinet.
We would also, after a lot of searching back and forth, find something to eat. Sandwiches and chips and soda from a pret-a-manger place. She got a vegetable panini; I got a heated vegetable panini and between the tchotchkes and the food we used up the last of our Mexican bills. And didn't have quite enough; we had to make up the gap with some United States dollars. And on the first bite I discovered something. I had a jamon panini.
So you know what's in just like everything in Mexico City? Ham. Everything came with ham, or with ham as an option. We saw ham used so much and in so many places. They eat ham as if it were bacon. We'd avoided that, carefully, getting the one non-jamon thing on the menu and now here I was. I'm not sure if I grabbed the wrong sandwich or if I had mis-read its ingredient list. But at that point, nothing to do for the poor pig except not waste it. ... And have to say, it was good ham. I understand why it's in everything.
I'd hoped that our flight to Dallas would, like the Toronto-to-Detroit flight we took getting back from England three years ago, go through some pre-clearance from United States customs. No such luck. Besides the passport control we would have to collect our bags and bring them back around for re-screening in Dallas, a process that ate up nearly all the time we had between connecting flights. But not quite all, much as the monorail tried to make it so. We had just the time to grab a couple bagels and soda, our evening snack or early dinner, before boarding there started.
And with an ordinary enough flight to Detroit --- bunny_hugger ignoring her flight anxieties by playing a video game about buying stuff to burn up while the world freezes over, that takes a strange existential turn at the end, and using a charging cable plugged in to an outlet that it turns out is underneath the seats these days --- we were home. Or at least to Detroit, which is pretty much our home airport. When collecting our luggage we found that the top handle of my suitcase had gotten snapped off. One end was, anyway, so I could hold it like a tiny leash.
This will probably be the end of general use for the Silver Behemoth, the big and just slightly weird-looking suitcase I bought in 2003, when I was in Singapore and flush with that university post cash. It's overdue. The lock was never Transportation Security Theater Agency-compliant; the TSTA-compliant padlock I bought to replace it was reset to some unknown-to-me number by the TSTA screeners; and the handle hasn't extended smoothly in a decade or at all in four years; and the zipper tabs have been lost one by one over its travels. I'm sure I can find a replacement suitcase that's just a little bit weird in the ways that are right for me. But it's still a silly sad loss.
After a lot of surprisingly tedious dragging of a suitcase just a little too short for my arms, given the lack of handles available, we were home. Or at least to my car, a proxy for home that would get us there in about two hours. It smelled, owing to the mistake I mentioned at the start of this report, like feet.
Trivia: The sport of bobsledding seems to derive its name from an early and likely wrong belief that sledders will go faster if they bob their heads back and forth. Source: Know-It-All, A J Jacobs.
Currently Reading: The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before The War, 1890 - 1914, Barbara W Tuchman.
PS: And What I've Been Reading, as some of my mathematics links.
PPS: And let's close out a day at Cedar Point, mm?
From way off by Maverick it's easy to see the new track with the helix on the return leg of Mean Streak/Steel Vengeance. Also where they're expanding the lift hill and so have all this new, tall wood ready for a very steep first drop.
Seagull sitting atop new supports for Mean Streak/Steel Vengeance, around that area where the new track has the car helix around.
And something else: the lift hill and first drop for Magnum XL-200, caught in the evening glow, as seen from the station. The new Hotel Entrance is visible in the mid-ground, too, in front of the lift hill.