It was a long week before I hit the weekend. I had to bail on Kung Fu two days just to keep up with my school work. I was expecting a busy weekend so I started early on everything. I had a lot of classes, plus a few other things I didn’t really have time for. I found out I was going to miss out on a cultural festival over the weekend since I was planning to be out of town, but there was a lot to do anyway. I started practicing Tai Chi with one of the Brits. It was a good start. I like getting back into the more effective style of Kung Fu, practicing all the details that make forms powerful. I am always surprised how caught up I get when I start to practice real Kung Fu. I don’t even notice the time passing.
Unfortunately it was either that or go to the bar with the other teachers for Dia de Maestro here in Mexico. I headed out to get a taxi and stopped by the bar where everyone always goes. I was there for fifteen seconds before Austin asked me if I was circumcised. It seemed to be an ongoing conversation that I walked into. I offered to let him check, but he didn’t seem interested.
I did make a new discovery that day. Apparently on the first and the fifteenth is when everyone gets paid, and on those days the ATM machines are often disabled. I’m guessing it might have to do with security, maybe they get more people being robbed at the machines on those days. Maybe they’re just dickish and want to prevent people from spending their money. Neither would surprise me. I went to four different ATMs before the Diplomat told me about that. I’m lucky I have enough to get by, but I still owe the Diplomat.
I spent the weekend in D.F. hanging out with the Diplomat. It was a good time, nerds everywhere, and we had the additional people from the wedding, the tech conference, and the business meeting also happening in the hotel. I haven’t ever seen a convention this small that was so busy. There were a lot of figures on display, everything from wargames to original work, movies and dinosaurs. I was impressed. It reminded me of the old days at Comicon and Icon, before they became the messes that they are. I really miss when you could buy medieval weapons there.
The hotel the convention was located in was an amusing combination of horrifying and beautiful. We got there and we were sent to upstairs. Upstairs looked abandoned. It looked like one of the elevators was boxed in with plywood. I wonder if it’s order or if it’s just a surprise waiting for anyone using that elevator. There were also two roaches on the floor, one living, one dead. We looked around the floor, but this seemed more like the home of a serial killer than a working hotel. We headed back downstairs, after the elevator passed us once. We finally found the convention floor and started setup for the long day.
It was a strange mix of people there. There were more people dressed up, either for business or a wedding, than I have ever seen at a nerdfest. I have never seen a woman in a dress at a convention like this before, either. It helps that it’s free, and that the people just wander in from next door. I don’t think that would happen as much in the States. A few people might go on the adventure, but wargames and models are hobbies limited to a specific group of strange people. Anyone else who wanders in tends to leave quickly. It’s not like Comicon is now, where everyone goes to see the latest movie or videogame. This is more like Games Day, where most of the women are mothers dropping off their kids.
In a way, this is what I have been looking for when it comes to nerd conventions. Less of the main stream, just people who love a particular hobby standing around talking to each other, buying the things they can’t usually find, and simply enjoying being there. Every time I think of Comicon now I remember the day long line to see the latest preview or forum in Hall H. The tragedy is that the hobbies survive by becoming main stream, but when they become main stream they lose most of what made them interesting and special. All the things that make them unique also make them complicated, and they are simplified in order to appeal to a wider audience.
In the hotel we found a message from whoever was there before us. After my shower steamed up the windows we found writing all over the glass. Some was Spanish, the rest was Chinese. A lot was characters I couldn’t identify, either I don’t know them or they were smudged. The Chinese was about a child, and the Spanish was about love. I could probably get a better translation, but sometimes I’d rather let the romantic have his day. I choose to believe it’s love.
We hit a Chinese restaurant, good but expensive, and the Diplomat finally got to try real Chinese food. I haven’t had Chinese since the visit back home on Semana Santa. The best thing about good Chinese is the memories of all the people I’ve eaten with. More good times than bad, more than a few inappropriate comments, one quick exit after offending a Hispanic birthday party, and so many plans made and broken. The food is usually awesome, but the company is always the most important thing to me. Dim sum memories are the best, even if they hurt sometimes.
The next day we wandered the city a little in the morning then had breakfast nachos. He calls them chilequilies, but I know a nacho when I see one. He tried to defend his stance that they were not nachos, but abandoned the attempt when I pointed out that Jesus created nachos. I find stupid arguments to be some of the most fun. After that I helped the Diplomat set up then bailed on him. I spent four or five hours wandering Chapultepec, skipping the castle this time and heading for the museum, lake, and forest.
I will never understand the idea of sanitation here. The man smoking while he made cotton candy still bothers me. Really, what’s that going to do to the flavor? What if ashes fall in? I have so many questions that I don’t really want the answers to. It’s bad enough when I have to question my food, but when you can’t trust cotton candy the world is really falling apart.
After we closed up we found the Feria de Culturas Amigas. It filled Zocalo, with maybe two hundred different countries each with its own ten by ten foot booth. We passed by the South American, African, and European booths and headed for Russia and Serbia. We only had about twenty minutes before they closed and we had all the Diplomat’s leftovers from the nerdfest. We each managed to hit the two booths before they closed, but we already have plans to go next year. I’ll find a way to make it over here from Merida, or wherever I wind up.
We made our way to a generic restaurant where we could wait for the bus and had dinner nachos. Again the Diplomat had to argue that they were called Sopa de Tortilla, but he gave up more easily this time. They were pretty good dinner nachos for what was basically a Mexican Denny’s.
We hit the bus station for a late trip back, passing through a joke of a security system. They didn’t really pat us down and they didn’t bother to x-ray half of our bags. The others I doubt they even looked at. After that I saw a man walk by with a propane tank, and not an employee. It’s the little things like that which will always bother me. Why make a show of it if you’re not even going to really try?
The Diplomat and I were talking about the elections, specifically the groups rebelling against the government by encouraging people not to vote. He said the flaw in the system is that all the ballots have to have something on them or be destroyed. Unfortunately the process to destroy them is so involved it’s easier to just mark them or give them away rather than deal with everything. I can’t understand how someone could be a citizen of this county and not be in a constant rage against the shit that goes on here. Then I take a look back home, and think the same thing. What have we allowed ourselves to become, and why do we get so enraged and fearful every time new people are elected?
The Diplomat pointed out that a lot of the repair work going on in the streets here right now is because they are about to have an election. Right before that the party in power starts projects to try and win votes. Either way they usually stop the work after the election. If everyone knows they do it, why do they let it continue? There are always more questions than answers for me, especially in Mexico.
Wifi is absolutely shit again, so I’ll put up pics when I can.