Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   landing in Mexico City
Thursday, February 22 2024

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, New York, USA

Late this morning Fern would be helping take us to the airport so we could fly to Mexico City, so this morning I packed my bags. The important things are to have the appropriate technology (chargers, cables, adapters) and mind-altering subtances (diphenydramine, pseudoephedrine, kratom, and gin). Everything else is kind of an afterthought. Since I'm perfectly happy washing out teeshirts and socks, there's no reason to pack many of those. And I didn't really need much variety of clothing, since temperatures in Mexico City at this time of year get to a high in the low 80s and a low somewhere in the 50s (in the early morning when we're fast asleep). Since we would be near no pools or other bodies of water, there was no need for swimwear.

At around 11:00am, Fern arrived and we all (even the dogs) climbed into the Forester and Gretchen drove us to JFK Airport. I sat in the back with the dogs, though at some point Neville climbed up to the front and rode for the rest of the drive in Fern's lap.
TSA PreCheck allowed us to rapidly get through security, and once we got to our gate in Terminal 4 there was about an hour to kill. Gretchen had checked HappyCow to see what the vegan food options were, but the organization of the terminal was such that getting back to those would've required a lot of walking. So we checked out Tigin Irish Pub, which was the only convenient option aside from vending machines. Looking at their menu, we were delighted to find that they had an Impossible burger. Considering we were in an airport, the staff there seemed to be moving slowly, but eventually we placed an order (for two orders of fries and one burger). While waiting for that to come out, Gretchen got a hummus wrap from a vending machine that, not unexpectedly, tasted a lot like Elmer's glue. The Impossible burger ended up being okay, but the real star of our meal there at that Iris pub was the french fries, which Gretchen proclaimed to be among the best she'd ever had. We didn't order any drinks at all.
After our meal, our plane was boarding. We eventually found our way back to our seat. It was a jumbo jet, the kind with two aisles, and one of the flight attendants had told Gretchen it was a full flight. But somehow nobody had taken the other seat in our three-seat cluster even as the plane prepared to back away from the gate. We thought we'd been unimaginably lucky until a flight attendant escorted a short skinny young Mexican man from somewhere behind us and showed him to that seat. He crossed himself elaborately as the plane started cranking up its engines for takeoff (something I've only ever seen Hispanic people do).
The plane was an Æromexico flight and had fully transoceanic setup, complete with individual screens with various movies. Gretchen and I opted to watch Oppenheimer simultaneously (we even sync'ed the playback), and that ate up over three hours of the less-than-five-hour flight. (I didn't find it that interesting, mostly because I was already familiar with all the material from having watched a PBS series on Oppenheimer back in the 1980s. The main difference with this take was that it contained a lot more sex.) While that was going on, we got our special vegetarian meal. There had been no "vegan" option, but it actually was vegan. Unfortunately, it was built around a flavorless tin of rice and cooked vegetables. Come on, Æromexico, you're from a country that actually understands food, and that's the best you can do? Fortunately, there was also free wine on this flight, and the staff seemed happy to keep it coming for those who wanted it.
Later in the flight, I started feeling uncomfortable in the way I often now do. It's a feeling that I just can't get comfortable no matter what position I put my body in. This was made worse by the guy to my left intruding into my space across the arm rest. He had a window to lean against, and he still felt the need to do that. I pressed against his arm in hopes he would retract it for fear of turning gay, but that didn't seem to work. For the last hour of the flight, though, I swapped places with Gretchen (who had been in the aisle seat) and there I actually did feel comfortable. By then I was watching the first episode of the HBO series The Last of Us, which I'd tried to watch in the past (but evidently not in order). It has a dopey action-adventure vibe that I didn't much like. But I can watch just about anything on an airplane.
At around sunset, we could suddenly see the vastness of Mexico City spread out beneath us. It took awhile to get off our enormous airplane, but the formalities of immigration and customs were almost painless and took very little time, almost as if Mexico is happy to have people come for a visit.
Out in front of the airport, we almost fell for an offer made by some scammy taxi dispatcher, the kind who always approach arriving tourists leaving airports in third world countries. But then Gretchen did the math and realized the rate was a terrible one. We then went to an official taxi dispatcher nearby and were quoted a rate less than half the scammy one.
Mexico City traffic is slow and congested, so the cab ride from the airport (which is inside the city) to our hotel took awhile. But then there we were, at Hotel Parque Mexico Boutique. Gretchen had bought us a suite, and to our surprise it came with two bathrooms, a dining room, and something of a living room in addition to the bedroom. That was great, because I needed to immediately render one of the bathrooms uninhabitable.
I decided to stay behind in the room while Gretchen set off on foot to explore the neighborhood. She eventually returned with some tacos she'd bought at Por Siempre Vegana II, a vegan taco restaurant. Their service had been extremely slow, but the tacos were amazing even after Gretchen schlepped them back in a paper bag. The plastic bags full of salsa and black beans (the way they package the sides) didn't look appetizing, but they were pretty good.

Me reflected in a mirror in the bedroom of our massive suite (#301) at Hotel Parque Mexico Boutique. Click to enlarge.

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