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").


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   why Mexico City doesn't have many rock doves
Monday, February 26 2024

location: suite 301, Hotel Parque Mexico Boutique, La Condesa, Mexico City

Nothing was planned for today, so Gretchen went off to do her own thing today west and perhaps south of Parque Mexico while I mostly stayed back in the suite. It was a whole suite after all, which sounds less pathetic than staying back "in the room," which is something I also like to do when we're vacationing. I fed myself with leftovers from last night, all of which was great except for the lasagna, which had some apalling flavor in it that rendered it completely inedible (Gretchen agreed with me on this). Later in the afternoon, I drank some of the gin I'd smuggled in my luggage. I still had a fair amount of it, since I hadn't drunk any on the plane and had only drunk a sixth of the nine ounces I'd brought (in a single afternoon; I believe that was yesterday).
I kept wondering, though, when cleaning ladies would attempt to clean the room. This put me on edge. Eventually I decided that if I hung out in the "dining room" (the room that needs almost no housekeeping) I could hunker down there should they arrive to clean. But when I'd had enough of that, I thought I should go out for a few hours to give the cleaning ladies a chance to clean. At some point in all this I locked myself out of the room and had to go to the main desk and get second key.
Walking around by myself, starting in Parque Mexico, I had it mind that if I found a vacant bench, I could plunk down on it and dick around with my phone for an indefinite amount of time. The park a beautiful one, kept nice and tidy and full of lush tropical vegetation, all of it kept well-irrigated by workers pulling fat hoses around. Throughout the park, there are benches here and there, each with a little concrete roof to shelter it from sun and rain. But all of them were occupied by at least one person (one of whom was completely covered in a blanket that moved around like a giant slug). I walked all over the park looking for an empty bench, and when I finally found one, there was no WiFi available at it. So I continued strolling around. Eventually I found a large pond with white sand beaches that was full of ducks and geese, including a gaggle of goslings. There were also a fair number of domestic pigeons (rock doves) here, a bird that had been conspicuously absent from most of Mexico City. These doves looked to have been recently domesticated, as they tended to be white or mostly white, the kind that might be released in flamboyant offering of peace. Instead of rock doves, Mexico City is full of inca doves, which are no bigger than sparrows. My working hypothesis for why inca doves (which have no relation to the Incas and are not even found in the Andes) replace rock doves in Mexico City is that they evolved alongside pre-Columbian civilizations and were already occupying Mesoamerican urban niches when the conquistadors arrived. So there were no niches available for rock doves to exploit.
Eventually I found a number of suitable resting places near the Parque Mexico dog parks that had WiFi. But by then I wanted to wander through the city. I walked out to Amsterdam, a ring-road that was a horse racing track back in the 1920s. Now, it's a beautiful ring-shaped linear park, with a faux-brick concrete walkway down the central median that reminds me of the Yellow Brick Road from the Wizard of Oz. When you're on it, the vegetation and lighting (especially at night) is so perfect, it's as if you're on a sound stage. I sat down on the edge of a fountain and found good WiFi, so frittered away some time there reading my usual websites.
Then I went strolling through the city hoping to find a store where I might buy a six pack of beer or a bottle of juice I could use as a mixer for my gin. I never ended up finding any such store, so I returned to the hotel and found that, despite my having been out for a couple hours, the cleaning ladies had yet to work their magic. So I returned to the dining room and did my usual laptop-based fucking around. Eventually I heard a noise, and it was the arrival of a cleaning lady. So I put on my shoes and went out to the dog park. I wasn't there long before I saw Gretchen approaching from off in the distance. She told me about her various adventures as we walked to a health food store she knew of, though all that it made sense for us to buy there was some kombucha, a fruit drink, and a truffle-flavored spreadable faux cheese that would prove to be delicious.

Back in the hotel, we found our room had finally been cleaned, though for some reason they hadn't restocked our coffee.

Eventually we walked to a vegan restaurant to the west called Utopia where Gretchen hoped to redeem what she considered a failed pizza experience from last night. This time all we ordered was a roast potato appetizer and a "veggie lover's" vegan pizza. I was intrigued by a locally-brewed porter I saw in the cooler and got that, though it wasn't especially good. Gretchen didn't much like the potatoes, though she thought the pizza was an improvement over what we'd had last night. Near us while we ate was a couple that sounded Scottish, and beyond them was a single young white woman who was clearly from the United States. There was also a young person of indeterminate gender who managed to wolf down two elaborate vegan hot-dog-based sandwiches. When they left, they graciously wished all of us in the dining room "buen provecho."

Back at our hotel, I hooked up my laptop to the room's flatscreen again so we could watch a movie. This one told the glum tale of a family prone to depression and suicide and it starred our new neighbor from back in Hurley, A. (This was the movie that a rando had approached her to discuss when we'd all been standing in a hallway at the Winter Hoot three weeks ago.) As Gretchen noted after the movie, it wasn't exactly the kind of film an American audience would go crazy for. It was full of dialog between women, often about issues unrelated to men (it passes the Bechdel Test!). I sat through the whole thing but didn't much like it, mostly because the movie never developed the characters enough for me to care about them.

A not-great photo of one of Mexico City's many inca doves.

A building similar in shape to New York City's famous Flatiron Building in Mexico City on the edge of La Condesa. Click to enlarge.

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