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Saturday, April 22nd

Another morning, another Mexican breakfast, then away to the buses to schlep us to nearby La Feria at Chapultepec Park. When we arrive, there are already lines all the way down the block of families waiting for the park to open...

We all pack into the vestibule of Montana Rusa to witness the unveiling presentation of the ACE Rollercoaster Landmark plaque, as this ride is one of only three remaining mobius loop wooden coasters left in the world, and it would be the last one we needed to ride to complete the global trifecta.

We get the first ride of the morning. The drop from the second hill in the back of the train is reminiscent of the Riverside Cyclone at Lakeside Park in that it levels out so quickly that you slam into the seat at the bottom, and the third hill in the front car is an ejector. We made sure to ride both sides since it counts as two credits for the complete experience.

While waiting for Quimera to open, we hit Raton Loco at the back of that park which is extremely violent spinning wild mouse, similar to one we rode at Dreamland in Margate in the UK, but even moreso such that, at the end, the attendant asks every car, “Are you all right?” A lot of fun as long as you're well-prepared.

Back to Quimera, a compact, triple-loop coaster similar to Olympia Looping which we didn't get to ride while we toured Germany due to the overwhelming heat. It has jet fighter harnesses that snap over both shoulders and across your chest, as well as the lap belt.

This was an extremely intense ride, probably one of the most intense we've ever ridden. Each loop pulls 5 g's and two of them are one right after the other. It also takes very sharp turns at high speeds. The loops causes greyouts, but in sequence it almost results in a blackout. The unexpected turn left Karl concerned he had whiplash, and the extreme forces had me seeing rainbows and worried about retinal detachment afterwards. I probably could've gone another round after a break, but not Karl. Most people who rode it did not do so more than twice.

Did another walkthrough haunted house, this one focused mostly on scenes rather than drop-windows and jump-scares. As long as I didn't really pay attention to what was going on and was certain the actors weren't permitted to touch me, I was OK.

We tried to have lunch at a pavillion, but after ordering and paying for a chicken sandwich, the employees at the pickup counter informed me that they were out of chicken sandwiches - after I'd already paid. So I reluctantly asked if they could change it to a hote dog. Oops, no hot dogs either! The only thing they had available from their entire menu was hamburgers. But I didn't want a hamburger... So all seven employees had a whispered conference and ultimately decided they they could, indeed, make a chicken sandwich. While they did so, the manager stood there giving me the stinkeye the whole time. Ultimately, it was the worst chicken sandwich I'd ever eaten, a mealy mush under a crust, cold in the middle, akin to what they'd feed animals in the zoo. Thank goodness I didn't get sick.

On the plus side, we learned that Mexican Doritos are spicier than American Doritos.

After sorta eating, we rode this unique-looking Jules Verne rocket simulator which turned out to actually bea ripoff-Elvira-themed 90's CG demo of a dark ride called "Superstition". Talk about contrary expectations!

We ran out of time before we could do everything, gathered for the group photo, and then picked up the buses to take us to Perimagico, a little amusement center inside a shopping mall in a rare upscale commercial suburb area of Mexico City, featuring a single family-style coaster, Huracan (no relation to the Top Spin at Six Flags).

There was also another haunted walkthrough, this time more interactive, but lots of being told to run while the actors bang loudly on stuff. Additionally, it had a fantastic Mirror Maze that was so effective that we actually got lost and were unable to find our way out for some time, making it probably the best one we'd been in in all our travels.

Grabbed an ice cream cone before leaving the park and returning to hotel. After some recuperating, there was a buffet dinner as a wrapup to the tour featuring a mariachi band, very lovely.

With the evening ending early, we had the chance to explore the hotel some more while we had the chance. It really started to feel like American Horror Story or The Shining in places.

Sunday, April 23rd

There was a final planned breakfast at hotel, although very few people there since many had overnight or otherwise early flights out.

Since this was our tourism day, we packed up all our walking around gear and started hiking out 1.5 miles to San Juan Mercado. As soon as we got a few blocks away from our hotel and out of Zona Rosa, I started to have misgivings, as we were travelling on foot through some increasingly sketchy portions of the city, obviously a pair of greenhorn tourists. Several times, we passed old 1950s sportscars packed with tough-looking individuals. I'm just glad it was early on a Sunday morning when most people were at church and the streets were otherwise deserted except for police.

San Juan Mercado was only about half open at that time of day and week, but that didn't keep us from being approached and huckstered to buy fruits and vegetables the moment we set foot inside, another Indiana Jones moment. San Juam mercado is allegedly where the upscale restaurant owners of Mexico Coty go to buy their gourmet goods. It's very much like the produce and butcher sections of a public market, akin to the shady corners of Budapest’s grand market, but this was more dirty and run down, wastewater being dumped into floor drains right in the passageways and the like. One side was dedicated to meats and fish, while the other half was fruits and vegetables. Supposedly, this is the place to have culinary adventures, but it was too early for the food counters to be open and I wasn't that adventurous on our own. Further, Karl decided he had to go to the bathroom, so we rushed a bit as there was no bathroom visible and, if there was, we probably didn’t want to use it. On way out, we passed a tray of what looked like BBQ crickets being put out - the amrket is known for its sales (and free samples) of insect snacks.

The way out of area led down a narrow alley consisting of garage door meat vendors in bloody butchers aprons waving raw chicken legs at passersby to drum up customers. It was Hollywood’s interpretation of every third-world country street of vendors. Every ten feet smelled like a toilet. Incredibly sketchy, was afraid to stop or take my camera out despite really wanting to capture the essence of that environment.

The Antique Toy Museum (also known as MUJAM) had only just opened and we first stumbled into their exit café which still had all the lights off. Eventually a lady came out and with difficulty explained that we wanted the stairs next door, through a gate at the top of the stairs via a buzzer (sketchy area, remember?). Reluctantly dropped off my backpack because bags aren’t permitted.

Wow. An obsessive-compulsive’s wet dream. Endless displays and cases of sets of trinket toys sort of organized by type, but put in tongue-in-cheek presentations. Barely room to get through the aisles, and there were six huge rooms across three floors. Play money, doll parts, toy cars, tiny gold robots, plastic rings, a whole floor of Barbies, a whole floor of luchadores, a display of Legos and Pokémon art, trains, pinwheels, marbles, murals...it just went on and on! Almost no signage or labels, like Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum outside Gettysburg. Phenomenal. We spent at least three hours there. Her'es a handful of pictures, but I encourage you to see the gallery, linked at the start of the report, for much more quirky imagery. this really was one of the highlights of our trip.

Subsequently, we trekked to The Museum Of The Object Of The Object (MODO), which led back towards Zona Rosa and better environs. it turns out this museum rotates their entire set of galleries to different subjects on a seasonal basis and the current topic was beverages, but mostly alcohol. This didn’t really meet our interests, so we gamely plodded through in about 30 minutes, then headed back to the hotel.

After relaxing our feet back at the hotel, we went out for tacos at El Califa, almost getting derailed to Meson Gaucho when it turned out to be next door and was recommended by another attendee a few days back. We used Chwazi which said Gaucho, but we went Califa anyway because we weren’t dressed for it, it seemed more upscale than we’d planned, and we couldn’t back up the recommendation with Google or Yelp (too few reviews). Califa was fine, even if the staff all seemed like they’d rather be elsewhere.

On the walk back to the hotel, stopped for a picture of the Angel Of Independence, but also noticed that our hotel was only a block away from all the gay bars in CDMX.

Lazed around in the hotel for the rest of the afternoon and eventually went out to Parilla Leonesa, which is a chain whose closest relation is probably an upscale Ponderosa without the buffet, or an Outback. Very family restaurant in both food and atmosphere, but good and a little reminiscent of home. Was able to converse with the waiter entirely in Spanish!

The next morning, had no problems getting to the airport, through and home.


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