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Photo TR: Andy's 2015 Trip -- Un Viaje a México con TPR


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OK, I promise, this trip report segment will make sense. But we're gonna take a bit of a trip back in time, to an amusement park that no longer exists...

 

Day ??? -- Boblo Island

 

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The Boblo Island signage on the Detroit Harbor Terminal building -- the point of departure for American visitors to the park. Photo from November 2014.

So, what's this piece of nostalgia doing in a Mexico trip report thread? Well, it'll all come together at the end. But first, let me ask -- how many TPR members ever made it to Boblo Island?

 

I'll start with a short history of the place. Boblo Island (officially, geographically, called Bois Blanc Island) is an island located at the southern end of the Detroit River, about 16 miles south of Detroit. The island, which is actually part of Ontario, was home to an amusement park called Boblo Island for the better part of a century -- from 1898 through the park's final season in 1993. Accessible only by ferry, the park was home to a few roller coasters, a decent collection of flat rides, an observation tower, and a laid-back classic park atmosphere.

 

Before I go into my personal experience with the park, I want to share some pictures I took in 2016 at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle in Detroit.

 

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The Dossin museum!

Home to displays and artifacts that help tell the tale of the maritime history of the Great Lakes, the Dossin Museum has some space set aside in remembrance of Boblo Island.

 

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Sometimes spelled Boblo, sometimes spelled Bob-Lo.

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A poster for the park from around 1950.

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A bit about the park's history.

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One of the best parts of the display is a full-on park map, featuring 77 labeled attractions and points of interest. Based on the rides shown, this map appears to be from somewhere in the mid-70s to early-80s.

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The attraction list, part one.

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The attraction list, part two.

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The main dock area on the east side of the island.

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The lighthouse and train loop at the south end of the island.

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The marina and log flume at the northwest corner of the park.

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Oh, and here's a roller coaster... this might be important later...

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Another important part of the map? The Steamer Columbia -- one of the two famed boats that ferried passengers to and from the island!

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Because a little picture on the map isn't enough, the Dossin museum has a model of the Columbia on display!

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When running, these boats were packed with people on their way to or from Boblo Island. Each boat could hold about 2,500 passengers.

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The good news is that the Columbia has been moved to the Hudson River in New York, where it is being restored. See www.sscolumbia.org for more info.

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To note, there are plans for its sister ship -- the Ste. Claire -- to be restored as well at its home in the Detroit area. However, I don't think that project is as far along.

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A little bit about the Columbia, which was launched in 1902!

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Here's some history -- an ad for a picnic at Boblo Island in 1902.

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An ad and a picture featuring Boblo Island in its early years as an amusement park in the 1920s.

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A couple brochures from later in Boblo Island's history.

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Oh, this roller coaster sure looks interesting...

What's happened to Boblo Island since the park's closure in 1993? In recent years, the northern end of the island has been developed into a community of luxury homes. The southern end of the island, home to most of the amusement park, is not in as good of shape. The rides were all sold off, but some buildings still remain, and the park's observation tower even remains standing. I do believe it remains possible to take a ferry to the island from Canada and hike to see the historic lighthouse and block house at the far southern tip of the island, beyond some of the abandoned buildings and old amusement park fixtures.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

So, here's where the story becomes personal. I actually did make a visit to Boblo Island in the late 80s. My family had the date listed as August of 1987, which would have put my age at just over two years old. I'm not sure it wasn't another year or two after that, but I can't say for certain. Either way, I was pretty young, but I do have some recollection of the visit! My family was visiting the park as part of a company outing with my dad, and we made a day of it. I recall the steam ship ride, a ferris wheel, and picnicing in the grassy area near a large roller coaster that looked kind of frightening. Well, "large" to a kid that young, anyway!

 

Nope, the photography bug hadn't hit me yet at that age, so pictures from my family members will have to do!

 

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Yep, that's me. I don't post too many pictures of myself on here, but I'll make an exception for this photo set!

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Taking a spin on a rocket-type flat ride.

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Not sure I'm enjoying myself too much on the kiddie flying saucers.

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The cars, though, I was always a fan of!

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One hand in the air, one hand probably laying on the horn...

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Yep, I enjoyed my ride on the cars!

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Taking a spin on the kiddie whip! Watching from behind the fence? My mom (left) and grandmother (right).

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Waving to the camera, which I probably did a lot more of at that age than I do now.

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Don't know if this one had a brass ring, or if I was old enough to care, but here's a spin on Boblo's carousel. I'm riding with my dad.

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I look positively fascinated by the kiddie boats.

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Taking a spin on the car ride, trying to earn my license...

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...but nonetheless, it'd be over a decade before they'd let me drive a real car.

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Alright, this is pretty important, as I love log flumes. Looks like this might actually be my first-ever log flume credit!

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Heading up one of two lift hills...

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...and making the plunge! And I think now we know where my love for amusement parks may have begun.

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Oh, but what about my love for aerial photography? Yep, we've got pictures from the top of the sky tower! Here's a look east, toward the main boat dock. That's mainland Canada in the background. Check out some of the rides in this picture -- you've got a set of flyers, and some weird rotating-boot looking wheel. I honestly don't even know what that is, so maybe someone here can help me!

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Looking northeast from the sky tower, you'll notice the big blue-roofed building on the left. That's the big Boblo Island dance hall, which was commissioned in the 1910s by Henry Ford. However, your attention is likely also drawn to the white roller coaster.

The preceding is the only decent picture in this set that includes that white-painted roller coaster -- a Vekoma death-trap looking thing called Screamer. It operated at Boblo Island from 1985 until the park's closing in 1993. You may be interested to learn that this coaster lives on -- it moved to Playland in Vancouver, got painted red, and took on the name Corkscrew. Apparently, it was featured in the movie Final Destination 3!

 

Oh, but there was one more big coaster at Boblo Island. The one you saw on the park map. The one featured on the brochures. The one I remembered seeing from the picnic area.

 

That roller coaster -- a truly legendary ride to me -- was called Sky Streak.

 

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Sky Streak at Boblo Island.

...and if you're waiting for this trip report to make sense, well...

 

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Could it be? Does Sky Streak carry its legacy onward?

An international journey from Canada to Mexico... coming soon, the next segment of this trip report, from Sky Streak's new home as Titan at Selva Mágica in Guadalajara!

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Thanks for the nostalgia ! Went to Boblo in the mid 80's. I had been on a camping trip at Point Pelee Natl Park in Canada and hit a cloudy day. I had read about their Sky Streak coaster with it's "oh so odd, but fun fan turn", and figured why not ! The new hotness that year was Screamer. A nice park and sad to see it is gone. Oh, the boot looking wheel ride was a Chance Sky Diver.

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I love these looks back at old, long-gone parks--and you tied it to your Mexico trip. My hat's off to you.

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The trip over to Boblo is still definitely possible - you jump on a small car ferry in Amherstburg, ON and it's a 5 minute ride over to the dock for the residential area. As a non-resident, you sign a release form, turn left at the Anchor statue, and you'll be in the old park in a few minutes. Lots of wacky stuff is left from the old power house to the big docks to the Observation Tower (!).

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Cool, also another ride from Boblo Island still exists as well: Nightmare which was a Vekoma MK-700 and was moved to AstroWorld for the 1995 season and was later moved again and still operates at Wonderland in Texas

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Thanks for the comments!

 

Sky Streak/Titan always intrigued me. It looked like that ride could give some nice air.

Oh, it does, but it's a little strange because it's like the hills aren't shaped quite right. That will be in the next update!

 

Oh, the boot looking wheel ride was a Chance Sky Diver.

 

that "rotating boot" wheel is a classic carnival midway ride!

 

Chance Skydiver

Thanks guys! That ride is a definite "no" from me!

 

The trip over to Boblo is still definitely possible - you jump on a small car ferry in Amherstburg, ON and it's a 5 minute ride over to the dock for the residential area. As a non-resident, you sign a release form, turn left at the Anchor statue, and you'll be in the old park in a few minutes. Lots of wacky stuff is left from the old power house to the big docks to the Observation Tower (!).

I might just have to do this some day. Maybe a Windsor/Amherstburg/Boblo day trip if I'm home in Michigan!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 5 -- Selva Mágica

Thursday, March 26, 2015

 

Scorecard:

 

Bullet (x12)

Titan (x3)

Tornado

-- Lunch --

Alicia

Cataratas

Bullet (x2)

Titan

Los Troncos

Titan

 

The Report:

 

Heading northbound from downtown Guadalajara, we found our way to the next theme park on our agenda -- Selva Mágica. Translating roughly to "magic jungle" or "magic forest," the park is one of several underneath the Ventura Entertainment umbrella, which also includes La Feria in Mexico City. The two parks have some similarities -- both are relatively small, and both have an assortment of oddball flats and relocated coasters. As we'd find, however, Selva Mágica's better operations and relaxed feel were much more to our liking.

 

We started the day with film sessions on the park's three operating coasters, beginning with a lengthy run on Bullet. When TPR visited Selva Mágica in 2013, Bullet's track and trains had just arrived -- presumably from its former home in the UK. In 2015, the one-of-a-kind ride was up and running!

 

From there, we headed to another relocated coaster -- the one teased very heavily in the preceding Boblo Island post. Formerly known as Sky Streak, the coaster now known as Titan provided some rather interesting rides. We finished the coaster run on Tornado, another Schwarzkopf with an interesting history. I'll get into that a bit more in the ride reviews below.

 

After riding the three coasters -- and noting that the park's other two coasters were not going to be operating -- we made our way to our group lunch. Once that was finished, we had a date with Alicia! Perhaps the most famous theme park attraction in all of Mexico, Alicia opened herself up to us, and we headed in. How was the experience? Read on to find out!

 

We checked out a few more attractions along the way, including Cataratas (giant bouncy slide) and Los Troncos (log flume). Finishing off with a few more rides on Bullet and Titan, we left the park in the mid-afternoon.

 

If I'd had another hour or two, I would have loved to check out the adjacent Guadalajara Zoo, which looks like a really nice zoo by any standard! The zoo was much busier than Selva Mágica -- we didn't really run into any waits throughout our day.

 

After we left the park, we did some more exploring around downtown, which was covered in the last full trip report segment. That ended our time in Guadalajara!

 

Overall Impressions:

 

It's always a huge plus when a park just seems to have their stuff together, especially with regards to the details surrounding a visit by a group like ours. Selva Mágica did great, which was a huge contrast to La Feria, which was a bit of a cluster. We had plenty of time for filming and other activities in a well-structured day, and even got a private group tour through the innards of Alicia!

 

Selva Mágica has an interesting assortment of attractions, though there certainly isn't one huge star attraction to drive a visit to the park by itself. Bullet's the best, and it's more than just a curiosity -- it's a legitimately good coaster. Overall, though, the coaster collection is more remarkable for its quirkiness than for its aptitude. There's some odd flats, much like at La Feria and Six Flags Mexico -- a Nao de China looping boat, a magic carpet, a log flume, and the nigh-impossible bouncy slide. There's also some of the other Mexican park staples -- a dolphin show, a wacky shack, and a year-round haunt. Since our visit, Selva Mágica has added a ropes course (which looks really nice) and VR on Titan (which, well, yeah). I have to preface my one complaint about our visit by noting that we were there during what was obviously not the peak season for the park. With that said, there were several attractions that weren't operating, in various states of repair. Certainly more than you'd like to see.

 

In a non-TPR-group setting, this is probably a fun half-day park. Unlike the stressful environment at La Feria, though, you'd actually enjoy that half day quite a bit! What do you do with the other half of the day? If I'm ever back there, I'm hopping over to the zoo. That's a pretty impressive one-two punch of major attractions on the north end of Guadalajara.

 

The Attractions:

 

Bullet: Selva Mágica's star attraction is a coaster that's way more fun than it deserves to be. Bullet's a strange little thing -- sort of like if a standard Schwarzkopf shuttle loop got twisted up into a knot. You've got the banked track through the station, the intense vertical loop around the station, and two drive-tire spikes at either end of the circuit. What simply doesn't make sense to me is this -- why is there only one version of Bullet, when there are literally dozens of vastly inferior Vekoma boomerangs? I will never understand. Bullet's one issue is the rather uncomfortable accordion-style shoulder restraints, but that didn't stop me from riding 14 times.

for Robb's video from our filming session.

 

Bullet has had a storied history. Built in the early 80s, it started out at Wiener Prater in Austria, then went to Boardwalk and Baseball in Florida, then into the European fair circuit. It found a home at Flamingo Land in the UK from 1991 to 2005, and was finally installed in its new home at Selva Mágica in 2013.

 

Titan: Finally, that whole Boblo Island post should make sense to everybody! I saw this coaster with my own eyes when I visited Boblo in the late 80s, but was much too young to ride. Crazy to think that over 25 years later, I'd finally get to try it out, and I'd have to go to Mexico to do it. This coaster was built at Boblo Island in 1973, and re-installed at Selva Mágica in 1994, shortly after Boblo's closing. The ride was made by Sansei Yusoki, a company who is now more well-known as majority owner of S&S (and now Vekoma as well). Yep, they built a coaster well before those alliances were formed!

 

As for the ride, Titan uses an almost laughably simple out-and-back layout, but it's the hills that make the experience. I really don't know how else to describe it, but it's like the contours of the hills weren't designed with any sort of mathematical principles in mind. Depending on where you're sitting in the train, it makes for some very uneven and unexpected airtime. It's like it's good for the wrong reasons! Oh, and we all enjoyed the epic "straight bit" near the end of the ride, which has seemingly no reason to exist. My Boblo pictures prove that this wasn't part of a themed tunnel or anything. It was just as baffling in Canada as it is in Mexico.

 

Tornado: Yet another Schwarzkopf that's been around the block. It'd take a coaster veteran to have seen this one in its original home at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, where it opened in 1975 as Glissade. When it moved south, it actually opened first at La Feria, before heading west to Selva Mágica in 2002. It's one of only three Schwarzkopf spiral lift rides still operating in North America, along with Whizzer (SFGAm) and Jet Star 2 (Lagoon). It can't compare to Whizzer, which is much longer, but it's still a pretty fun ride (with a pretty awkward seating arrangement).

 

Cataratas: These bouncy slides are evil. They are not as easy as they look, and they don't even look particularly easy. Good luck getting down without embarrassing yourself. The good news (or bad news) was that unlike the one at La Feria, adults were allowed here!

 

Los Troncos: This is actually a decent little log flume! Just ... be very, very careful with how you sit in the boats, especially on the big drop. I'll share the story of my mishap in the captions. Robb, do you have pictures of this?

 

Alicia En Sus Años De Juventud: Oh my, how do you describe a walk-through attraction that explores the insides of a young pregnant woman? Well, I guess that'll do. Anyone who isn't familiar with Alicia should go watch

, like, yesterday. I will say that Alicia was in somewhat a state of disrepair during our visit -- some signs of wear (poor girl) and a few effects not working properly. Looked like she could use to have the cobwebs cleaned out. Still didn't keep it from being one of the most bizarre theme park attractions I've ever seen. I guess it's supposed to be educational, but to my eyes and immature sensibilities, it's just too weird to accept at face value! Edited by The Great Zo
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Day 5 -- The Pictures (Part 1)

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Welcome to Selva Mágica!

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Sadly, we were two days early for the start of the lucha libre event.

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Selva Mágica has an interesting ticketing system, where attractions are available in different tiers based on which type of entrance ticket you purchase.

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A place to buy the tickets...

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...and the colorful stairway to walk up to enter the park.

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We were very quickly acquainted with this unique red coaster, whose back spike rises well above the trees.

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This is Bullet, a Schwarzkopf coaster with a very storied history.

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A close-up of the Bullet ride sign.

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So, let's head up to the station and get a dozen rides in!

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You'll notice two things from this picture. First, the "accordion" shoulder restraints, which are a bit uncomfortable. Second, the way the train is actually tilted as it's parked in the station.

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Yep, the front and back edges of the track in the station are tilted, as those are part of transitions into the tight elements this coaster runs through.

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Here's another look at the accordion-style restraints, which clamp down from the top.

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The back of the Bullet train.

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Drive tires, which send the coaster up the back spike, before accelerating it forward through the course.

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A closer view of the tires, because I'm sure somebody here will be interested in seeing it.

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Sitting instructions for riders with Lego-hands.

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In a seismically active area, evacuation plans are important. But we're gonna take a look at the coaster just behind the sign...

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Here's Titan, formerly known as Sky Streak at Boblo Island!

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Pink Floyd is cool.

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Riders on Titan wave hi to their friends, or perhaps their foes...

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Heading out of the station and through a very random arctic-looking tunnel.

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Don't look so excited, it's just the lift hill!

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Climbing to the top on this strange, strange coaster.

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Another train of Titan riders approaches the top of the lift.

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Cresting the hill and heading down!

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Oh, here it is -- the epic "straight bit" near the end of the ride.

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The train pulls into the brake run...

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...and I think they all had fun.

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But enough pictures from off-ride -- how about a bunch from on-ride? It's time for some (completely permitted) POV photography.

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Rounding the first curve on the way to the lift hill.

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Yep, we're gonna take the tunnel.

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Preparing to make the climb -- and finally riding a coaster I'd first seen with my own eyes in the late 80s!

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Gaining some elevation near the top.

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Looks like some rust on that track, but we'll be OK.

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The view from the crest of the lift -- and away we go.

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Awkward airtime is this coaster's calling card, and it's a bit of a challenge to capture with a camera!

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I think it's brilliant that this turnaround is obviously not banked at all.

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A few more hills on the return leg of the ride...

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...and the straight bit! Yay for the straight bit!

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Finally, we return to the station.

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A look down at the station from the lift hill.

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There's Bullet, just behind Titan's lift.

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A wider view of Bullet and the skycoaster, which sadly wasn't operating during our visit.

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A few flat rides near Titan's station.

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There's our next coaster -- Tornado, another Schwarzkopf creation.

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Meanwhile, the little Pinfari -- Jubilé -- was out of service.

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Jubilé was having work done on it, and I don't think it was intended to be a long-term outage.

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Some interesting views from Titan, looking over the north end of Guadalajara.

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Here's a look back across the coaster's infield.

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High-rise buildings and mountains off in the distance.

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A go-kart track and the log flume both pass near Titan's back stretch.

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Some nice scenery too, with mountains...

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...and the Guadalajara Zoo right next door.

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Couldn't see any animals, but we were moving pretty fast.

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More views of the city, including a huge cliff face just to the north.

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A pretty impressive geographic feature.

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More views off to the northeast...

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...and to the east.

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And hey, you can buy a car when you're in the area.

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Moving on to the next coaster, we've got another Schwarzkopf.

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This is Tornado, operating at Selva Mágica since 2002.

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And any weather person is going to love this ride sign!

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The ride starts with a spiral lift...

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...before heading into a drop and a sweeping curve.

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Another group of riders on the first drop.

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This picture gives a good look at the awkward seating. I'd only recommend trying to fit six in a car if you're with people you're really, really comfortable with.

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Enjoying a ride on one of Tornado's big turns.

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More happy faces on a fun coaster.

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Another train heads down the drop.

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Even a little bit of hairtime on one of the uphill segments.

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Everybody's either smiling or screaming, but it's a good time had by all.

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Might as well hang on and enjoy the ride!

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As mentioned, here's the Pinfari, which was down for the count.

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No reason to be too disappointed to miss this one, though.

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The Jubilé ride sign, with Titan's turnaround in the background.

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One more coaster -- this is Catarina.

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It had been down for a while when we visited in 2015, but the ride has since re-opened.

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Next on the agenda was lunch, and I have to say, the apple sodas that are readily available in Mexico are really awesome!

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I didn't try the Chorizo Chipotle Fritos or the Queso Ruffles, though.

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After lunch, it was time for our group tour of the one, the only, the famous Alicia!

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Alicia's entrance is at the left side of her very yellow hair.

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Alicia's exit is behind her feet, through the leg of her pants.

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From up close, she looks a little creepy.

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At this proximity, it's almost nightmare fuel.

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Alicia is not recommended for people who are pregnant, which is really ironic, given that Alicia herself is pregnant.

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Anyway, let's head inside.

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Alicia's neon uvula.

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Alicia's teeth, one of which on the right side could use some dentistry.

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Alicia's heart, which is dangerously disconnected from the rest of her bloodstream!

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Alicia's spine and rib cage, which appear to be in reasonably good alignment.

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Alicia's controls! Should we switch off the pancreas? Maybe toggle the intestino grueso?

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Alicia's femur, with a whole bunch of leg muscle behind it.

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Oh, and here it is! Alicia's fetus!

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The glowing creepy fetus child, as lovingly demonstrated by Ryan and Nozzy!

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Heading on down the line, past the rest of the leg bones...

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...and exiting near the feet.

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Oh, and here's the transformer that powers Alicia, in case you were wondering what turns her on.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Day 5 -- The Pictures (Part 2)

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After our meeting with Alicia, we tried out the evil bouncy slide, Cataratas.

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Calling it a "slide" is generous because whatever material it's made out of, it's not easy to get down.

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First, a walk up the stairway to the top.

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It's a nice view over the north end of Selva Mágica's property!

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But, it's a tough go to get down, and those drop-offs are steeper than you'd think.

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Pretty sure those at the ground are laughing at us still on the way.

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Well, I have to say, it was an interesting experience.

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Now, let's take a walk and see what else Selva Mágica has to offer. I like this dolphin fountain near the main entrance!

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Trees blooming all over the park.

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A gathering point for earthquake threats, presumably far enough away from anything that might topple over.

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A marble-rolling game that looks almost like a low-tech version of Fascination.

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The park has a selection of flat rides, and like La Feria and Six Flags Mexico, some of them are a little bit out of the ordinary. This one is a Downdraft or something similar.

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Here's a standard swinging pirate ship.

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A spinny flat ride in the kids area.

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A few more low-key flats in the kids area at the north end of the park.

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Nao de China, a looping boat ride, basically identical to the one at La Feria.

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Sadly, the Huss Megadance was pretty much disassembled in 2015. I no longer see the ride on the park's website, so I think it's gone.

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Some, uh, interesting artwork on the Megadance.

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This park also has a year-round haunt -- La Casa del Terror de Freddy. Presumably Krueger, but I didn't go in, so I don't know for sure.

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La Casa del Terror was described as small, but dark and entertaining!

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Hey, how about some more coaster pics? Let's head back to Bullet!

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Bullet starts out on the back spike.

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Guests in the front car, waiting for the start of the ride.

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After going through the station, Bullet makes a big turn...

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...before completing a vertical loop /over/ the station! Find me another coaster that does that!

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The train then heads up the back spike...

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...where it slows for just a moment before doing the entire thing again in reverse.

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Up at the top of Bullet's double-spike.

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Drive tires! Yay!

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This might not be the most advantageous location to build a nest...

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A fun look at just how tilted the train is as it leaves the station.

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Rounding the curve...

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...and heading into the vertical loop.

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Again, I ask, why are there not more of these? Why did this /not/ get cloned when Boomerangs did?

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Heading out of the inversion.

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A quick spin underneath the station.

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Zooming past the palm trees.

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Shoot the moon.

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Round the curve.

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Behind the spike. Bullet's a pretty great ride.

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Next up, a run on the park's log flume -- Los Troncos.

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It's a pretty standard flume -- a decent ground-level run through the woods, followed by a single lift and drop.

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The splashes were not overly large, but still made for some good pictures.

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And everyone ends up smiling at the end anyway.

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A wider look at the drop on Los Troncos.

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Hm, maybe that is a good bit of water. Am I sure I want to ride this myself?

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They look a little wet.

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About to make impact.

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Kicking up water at the bottom.

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The boat is in there somewhere!

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Log #3 checks in.

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Log #8 laughs.

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Log #2 is kind of damp.

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Log #7 is in disbelief!

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Our next contestants on Los Troncos ... Nozzy and Caesar!

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Doing a little photography on the way to the lift hill.

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A bit of grit-your-teeth excitement...

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Splashdown!

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That looks kind of uncomfortable, actually.

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Yeah, hold your nose.

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Hoping they didn't swallow any.

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And now it's just funny!

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Thanks guys for testing the thing out for me!

 

So, here's what happened. I decided to go on as a solo rider, hoping a light boat would keep the splash at a manageable level, as I wasn't particularly interested in a mid-day shower. I had my feet kicked up against the sides of the boat, trying to avoid the water sloshing around at the bottom. Unfortunately, I didn't account for the lack of friction that would provide once I hit the bottom of the drop, and I wasn't holding on very tight. Once the boat hit the splash and started to slow down, my unrestrained self flew from the back of the boat to the front of the boat, my head ramming on the padding attached to the front of the seating area. I actually scraped up my knee pretty good on the bottom of the boat, too. Thankfully, I had Elissa there ready to go with first aid, as I was all about disinfecting whatever was trying to enter my bloodstream from that Guadalajara log flume water! Several TPR people saw the incident, and there may even be pictures, but I haven't seen them!

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Alright, back to the pictures, and what's going on at the turnaround on Titan?

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Looks like a quick break for some maintenance.

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Thankfully, Titan was up and running in no time.

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Before we left, Nozzy got a few more rides on Bullet, and I was there to capture the fun.

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That's some excitement.

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Nozzy enters the loop...

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...Nozzy rounds the loop...

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...Nozzy exits the loop.

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Looking for a spot for some quick aerial photography before we took off, I hobbled my way back up the bouncy slide, taking in this side view of Bullet from the top.

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Oh, and there's Titan not far away.

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Looking down into the park, there's a scrambler and a pirate ship...

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...a carousel...

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...and Freddy's house of terror!

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Meanwhile, Alicia's still just kind of laying there.

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Had to take in the view over the city as well.

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This is mainly a residential area west of the park.

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That's a lot of satellite dishes.

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More Guadalajara homes, heading up the hill.

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Views up on a distant hillside to the northeast.

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Mexico is a hilly place, and Guadalajara is no exception.

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This is the most interesting geographic feature in the area, though.

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These huge cliffs stand at the edge of La Barranca de Oblatos -- a huge canyon carved by the Río Grande de Santiago.

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The canyon is out of view, well below those cliff faces.

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In some places, the canyon is as much as 2,000 feet deep! There are hiking trails through the area, and if I ever make it back to Guadalajara, I might want to check it out.

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An interesting vehicle seen on the way out of Selva Mágica.

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Here's a mural that stands near the entrances to Selva Mágica and the Guadalajara Zoo.

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It's not very peaceful.

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I didn't get into the zoo, but I got a picture of the sign on the wall!

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This fountain outside the zoo is pretty awesome.

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All of the water elements are animal heads, carved in stone.

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Snails and fish are also represented!

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I guess I did get one animal picture. A nice little bird.

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Seen on the way back to the city -- a torch to commemorate Mexico's 1968 Summer Olympics.

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Another colorful, historic church on the way home.

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OK, one last picture of Bullet eclipsing the sun. That's it for Selva Mágica, and that's it for Guadalajara!

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Great photos and report, Andy. As for your log-flume story, a similar thing happened to myself and a friend of mine on the Log Jammer at Mariott's Great America in California when we were in high school. We didn't injure ourselves, but it scared the crap out of us.

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Great photos!

 

That jumbo bouncy slide looks impossible, but so unique I'd still want to give it a try. It'll be frustrating to see the one at La Feria in a few weeks and not be able to ride it since my understanding is that La Feria's is only for kids.

 

Also that straight track section... And I thought it seemed out of place on Ride of Steel.

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Great photos and report! It surprised me how nice of a park Selva Mágica actually is.

 

By the way, Alicia has been removed. They seem to be overhauling the kiddie land, and Alicia was nowhere to be found during my visit at the end of 2017. Too bad! But it's always good that there is a lot of maintenance going on.

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Great photos and report, Andy. As for your log-flume story, a similar thing happened to myself and a friend of mine on the Log Jammer at Mariott's Great America in California when we were in high school. We didn't injure ourselves, but it scared the crap out of us.

 

That's the fun of having a ride with no restraints -- if you aren't careful you'll take it in the chin!

 

It'll be frustrating to see the one at La Feria in a few weeks and not be able to ride it since my understanding is that La Feria's is only for kids.

 

Yep, unfortunately that was the case in 2015. Can't hurt to try if you're gonna be there, though.

 

Your camera makes my head look big! Great shots, that was an awesome trip!

 

Hahaha. But the camera doesn't lie!

 

By the way, Alicia has been removed. They seem to be overhauling the kiddie land, and Alicia was nowhere to be found during my visit at the end of 2017. Too bad! But it's always good that there is a lot of maintenance going on.

 

This isn't overly surprising, but sad to hear it's true. There was a little bit of talk about that possibility during our 2015 visit, but I didn't want to mention it since I wasn't sure if it was just speculation or not. She wasn't in the greatest shape 3 years ago, but still, it was one of the most unique (and strange) theme park attractions I've ever seen.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Day 6 -- Small Parks of Mexico City

Friday, March 27, 2015

 

The Report:

 

Alright, just being honest here -- none of us signed up to go to Mexico with the intent to take a few spins on a Wacky Worm. In fact, our itinerary was originally laid out to do a long day-trip to a distant park that was building some new attractions. Once it became clear that those attractions wouldn't be done in time for our visit, we had to re-assess the plans, and opted to fly out of Guadalajara to head back to Mexico City instead. Why not take a quick run through two small parks in the area, and perhaps check off a credit or three for the coaster enthused among us?

 

Day 6, Park #1 -- Perimagico:

 

After flying back into Mexico City, our first adventure was to head out to the city of Cuautitlán Izcalli, one of Mexico City's northern suburbs. In fact, it's a suburb so large that it ranks in Mexico's top ten most populous cities! When we arrived, we found an environment that was honestly pretty similar to suburban life back home. The park? A small family entertainment center in the Galerías Perinorte shopping mall. In the parking lot? McDonald's. Next door? Home Depot.

 

Originally known as Divertido, the Perimagico park (more of an FEC) is found on the lower floor of the mall, with a mix of indoor and outdoor attractions. I know that explaining our presence to the manager -- and what we were there to do -- was an interesting event! Nonetheless, we were successful in getting on both of Perimagico's coasters. The first coaster, El Huracan, is a custom indoor Zierer Tivoli. It's not a bad ride, actually. It's fun to zoom around past the other rides, through a tunnel, and even around a helix! Yep, Robb has footage, and

.

 

After that, we headed to the outdoor segment of the park, which was perhaps not in the state we were hoping for. The park's website, which hadn't been updated in a while, showed an array of human-powered bizarre attractions -- almost the kind of stuff you'd expect to find at an obscure European family park. None of that existed -- all that was left were a few kiddie flats and our next target, a wacky worm called Oruga Feliz. If RCDB is to be believed, Oruga Feliz no longer exists. It did not appear to be in great shape during our visit, so I guess that's no huge surprise.

 

Overall, I had a pretty positive impression of the indoor sections of Perimagico (or Divertido, as the signage still indicated during our 2015 visit). It would probably be a fun place for its target audience, which is assuredly not us. The mall looked kind of nice, too. Had some tacos I was not at all disappointed with.

 

Day 6, Park #2 -- Parque Francisco Villa:

 

I shouldn't skip over the adventure that was the drive from Park #1 to Park #2. It was massive congestion through the heart of Mexico City, punctuated by the occasional street vendor selling things in between the lanes on a freeway. Want some fresh fruit? They've got you covered. Need some flowers? They're on it. Dying for a selfie stick while you're driving? They were selling those too.

 

After a two-hour 20-mile commute, we arrived at our last park of the trip -- Parque Francisco Villa. Who was Francisco Villa? Perhaps better known as "Pancho" Villa, he was one of the most famous figures of the Mexican Revolution. The park is also known as Parque de los Venados (Deer Park) apparently for the random statue of a deer found in the center of a fountain. I'm not sure how to describe this place other than calling it a sketchy assortment of random questionably-licensed kiddie attractions plopped down without forethought in the middle of a public park. So, we did what we had to. We got in, we took some pictures that will make Disney's lawyers squirm, and we grabbed our last credit of the trip -- another wacky worm, this one named Crazy Worm. To be fair, it was in better shape than the (now departed) Perimagico worm. We made the most of it and had a good time! Robb even did a mounted POV! And then we got ourselves out of there, because dinner was waiting at the nearby Don Asado, a Uruguayan restaurant that can apparently make just about any kind of meat you could possibly want (and a few kinds you might not).

 

We returned to our hotel at the Mexico City airport, though a few of us ventured back into the airport for dessert. Sadly, though a few of us would see each other in the airport the next day, it was time for most of the group to say farewell.

 

But before we get into all that sad stuff, let's get to the pictures!

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Day 6 -- Pictures (part 1)

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We'll start with a view from the airport concourse in Guadalajara!

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This guy, on an escalator in the Guadalajara airport, might not be 100% sure where he's headed...

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Now for some scenes from the AeroMexico flight to Mexico City!

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Video safety instructions in Spanish!

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Video safety instructions in ... almost English!

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Check-in at the NH Hotel at the Mexico City airport.

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The inner courtyard at the NH Hotel.

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A large statue of some guy on a hillside.

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A common scene -- water tanks on the roof of a residence in Mexico City.

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Made a wrong turn on the way to the first park, but got a great view of a nearby outlet mall!

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Oops, don't think we'll be going through here...

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A look out over suburban Cuautitlán Izcalli.

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Parking at the mall, and no, we didn't try out the Mexican McDonald's.

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This here is a classic! Some sort of 1950-ish Chevy?

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Inside the main atrium of the Galerías Perinorte mall.

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Looking down to the lower level, where the Perimagico park resides.

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This wheel is, obviously, the park's tallest attraction.

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Didn't really think the views would be worth a ride, though.

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Heading downstairs -- or down-escalator -- to what was then called Divertido Family Adventure Park.

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The old park entrance sign!

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Looking back up through the entrance.

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Our main attraction here was El Huracan -- another weather-themed ride, much to my liking.

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Don't be sick, pregnant, or a too-short anthropomorphic balloon riding in a bumper car.

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Yay for custom Tivoli layouts!

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From the dark station...

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...through one of the twists around the perimeter of the park...

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...into a western scene...

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...past the park entrance...

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...beyond the base of the wheel...

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...over the ticket booths...

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...and into a helix through a tunnel!

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Divertido / Perimagico also has bumper cars.

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The Swing Dance (a Trabant or something similar) was the brightest attraction in the park.

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Oh, and there's some kind of haunt, but I don't think it was open during our visit.

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The fun continues outside!

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Sadly, outside was ... not all that fun. Unless you like a few kiddie flats like this.

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One of Mexico's national symbols makes its home inside the loop of a brightly-colored kiddie train ride. That's an odd contrast in moods.

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Alright, let's get this over with.

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Here's Oruga Feliz (Happy Caterpillar).

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Would you believe that this was my 225th coaster credit and my /first/ wacky worm? Well, it's true!

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A face only a mother could love. If even.

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The locals are having a good time, so maybe we should join in.

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This is a very pleasant flower.

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This is very pleasant wacky worm track.

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This is not the most pleasant of wacky worm track attachments.

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This is a paint job in need of some work.

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Time to fill this train full of TPR members.

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Hmm, yeah, this looks good.

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We're ready to ride.

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Get those cameras up.

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Pure awe on the Mexican FEC wacky worm lift hill.

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A look at the intense, twisted layout.

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Caught in a canyon between the mall (left) and some high-rise residential buildings (right).

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The target audience is probably having less fun than us.

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Oh, we're having a great time.

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Yeah, check out that view!

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Wave to the crowds!

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Shell of a building nearby.

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Yep, this is about the extent of the outdoor area.

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So, let's head back inside.

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A look up at the atrium and the wheel!

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We had lunch at the mall...

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...and the mall tacos were still better than like, most tacos you can get in the US. I was seriously not disappointed with this. Now, time to hit the road to our next destination!

Edited by The Great Zo
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Day 6 -- Pictures (part 2)

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So, let's take a look at the sights along the way. We'll start with a pretty typical grocery store.

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So sad we didn't stop at the Mexican Pizza Hut!

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Hooters also brings its classy (klassy?) presence to Mexico City.

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Clamato? More like Clamat-NO.

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Ah, the horrifying Mexico City traffic. Even the ambulances are stuck. Meanwhile, as mentioned, people were walking and selling things between lanes.

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I took this screen capture of Google Maps traffic while we were driving through the city. This is just LOL.

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Ooh, the Olympic committee!

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And suddenly, we're in Nebraska.

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Porcupine Tree / Ste-ven Wilson fans will recognize: la Avenida de los Insurgentes, the longest avenue in Mexico City.

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Oncoming traffic and an articulating bus.

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Various products for sale on a street corner.

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And now, we've arrived at Parque Francisco Villa.

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It's also called Parque de los Venados (Deer Park) for obvious reasons relating to this statue.

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Some interesting wall art at Parque Francisco Villa.

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I see rides in the distance!

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And is that...

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...my second-ever wacky worm?

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Yes, yes it is. I went from 0 wacky worm credits to 2 wacky worm credits in the matter of a few hours.

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Oh, but this one isn't a wacky worm, it's a crazy worm.

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A look up to the ride station.

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They are not responsible for all kinds of stuff.

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One ride -- 20 pesos.

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More warnings for this wild ride.

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Oh hey, this worm looks a little happier!

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Look at that grin!

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So, let's compare the faces of the two worms. The first one is missing an antenna, has cracked paint, and strung-out LSD eyes. The second one is happily smiling and in far better shape! What a difference!

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Time to climb in.

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This used to be a manufacturer's sign.

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Getting ready to ride.

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Oh, are we excited? You bet we are.

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Another epic lift hill shot!

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Yep, we're really doing this.

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Nozzy leans into the curve like a pro.

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Careful with that phone, Joe!

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An overview of the Crazy Worm layout.

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Big drop incoming!

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Heading for the curve.

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Riders in awe.

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Pretty flowers!

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A look over the park and the nearby street scene.

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So, let's see what we can find in the rest of the park. We've got some kiddie bumper cars here.

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The Astro Liner, which makes that rocket simulator at La Feria look good.

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Small vehicles on a small track. Anyone want an M&M?

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Oh, wait, there's something going on here I'm not entirely comfortable with.

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Is that Eeyore? Tigger?

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Oh, oh no. This isn't right.

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I presume this use of a glossy-eyed Winnie the Pooh and friends is fully licensed. Because why wouldn't it be?

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Oh, and we've got Ursula and King Triton...

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We've got Flounder and Ariel...

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We've got Mrs. Potts and Belle, the latter casting some serious side-eye...

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...and this is truly one of the saddest things I have ever seen.

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Hello, Buzz Lightyear on the Spanish setting.

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I can't wait for this to be installed at Toy Story Land in Orlando!!!

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Every single one of these drawings and figures is uncanny-valley Toy Story-esque. It's just ... off.

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I would not go inside this little shack for any reason whatsoever.

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Oh, here's another classic -- one of Mexico City's many VW beetles. I think KT was trying to find all of them.

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Next on the agenda -- well, last on the agenda -- was our final group dinner of the trip.

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This is Don Asado, a Uruguayan restaurant.

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See, it says so right there.

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They cook lots and lots of meat.

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As we ate, we watched music videos from the 80s.

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I'm not joking, they literally just played a bunch of 80s pop/rock music videos through the entire restaurant the whole time we were there.

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Sorry to all the meat lovers, but that green oily stuff was easily the best part of the meal!

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But, there you go, an entire plate full of meat, way too much for me!

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Have at it, TPR! That was a fun dinner and a nice "official" end to the trip.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Day 7 -- End of the Mexico Trip

Saturday, March 28, 2015

 

Hey, there was one more ride on the trip -- the airport train from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1, where most of the international departures were scheduled to leave from.

 

Funny story on my flight out of Mexico City. I selected a window seat as is normal for me, as I like to do some photography while flying. Imagine my surprise when, as I'm getting my camera out for takeoff, the lady in the middle seat next to me pulls out a camera twice the size of mine, with a lens three times the size of mine. And she was very clearly intending on taking pictures out the window that I was fully planning on occupying. Needless to say, I got more pictures than she did. Like, are you serious? You want to take pictures out the window with a $4000 camera and you pick a middle seat? Thankfully, she went to sleep shortly after takeoff.

 

Got into Chicago, went through a lengthy wait for customs, then had to go back through security again in order to barely make it to my flight to Cincinnati in time.

 

Arrived in Cincinnati very late, and that was the end of that.

 

The End

 

What a cool trip this was!

 

This really was a great introduction to traveling in Mexico, and I can guarantee it won't be my last time in the mainland of the country. Yeah, I had a quick stop in Cozumel in 2017 on a cruise to the edge but that hardly counts. I feel, after doing this trip, like I would be far more comfortable with going back to Mexico on a trip on my own (i.e. not part of an organized group). It's definitely not as easy as, say, booking a flight to Orlando. But it's worth the effort, worth learning a bit of Spanish, and worth the flight well to the south!

 

I loved visiting the parks we visited, but as I'd expected, the cultural experience was probably even more important. And that's the best advice I can give to anyone heading to Mexico. Go to a beach resort if you must, but try to make time to visit the real part of the country. See the cities, see the museums, and yes, see the theme parks. But more than anything, just walk around and explore, as long as you're doing so safely. It's such a great experience to be somewhere different. That's what travel is all about.

 

But, let's be honest -- Medusa was still perhaps the biggest single highlight of the trip. I'm not surprised that it ranked so highly in the recent TPR coaster poll, but #1 steel is an amazing accomplishment! I can certainly suspect that our 2015 trip had something to do with it.

 

Thanks to Robb and Elissa for making my third trip with the group an awesome one. I'm up to five now and still going so obviously they're doing something right. And thanks to the rest of the group for being cool to hang with. This might have been the smallest group trip in a while but we all got along great. Some really fun shared experiences, for sure.

 

So, will I move right on to the 2016 Europe trip report? Not likely soon, as my travel schedule is pretty nuts from now through September. I will, however, try to wrap up that mini-report I was doing on the 2017 US trip before I head out again!

 

Now, go eat worms...

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From a gift shop at the Mexico City airport, I am very amused by this Mexican knock-off Lego version of Air Force One.

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Waiting to board.

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Please tell me my luggage is in there.

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MexPost!

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Leaving the terminal.

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Rode on this train before getting on my plane! It was fun!

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Cool bridge thing for the terminal-to-terminal trains.

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A final view of the Benito Juarez airport.

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Lifting off over the city.

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Smaller cities on the edge of the metro area...

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...fading into mountains further away.

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Clouds in the sky.

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A coastal area south of Tampico, Mexico.

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Looking down at the Pánuco River near Tampico.

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Wide view over Houston, Texas.

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Downtown Houston!

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Rows upon rows of clouds.

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Hey, if you know where to look, Six Flags St. Louis is in this shot!

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Chicago off in the distance.

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Fermilab! Yay science!

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Coming down into O'Hare.

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Another view of Chicago from the airport.

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It's dark and I'm headed out on my last flight of the trip.

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A terrible airborne picture of downtown Chicago at night.

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The gridded lights are seriously awesome.

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Oh, and there's Midway, an airport I've yet to visit -- though that should change in a couple weeks.

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As usual, Cincinnati's airport is deserted late at night.

 

And that does it for the trip (and for the short self-indulgent travel photo set at the end). Thanks to everyone who read the stories along the way!

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Great report! I considered hitting that indoor mall in the event thunderstorms prematurely ended my Six Flags Mexico visit last weekend, but fortunately the weather held out. Looks like a decent little Tivoli coaster.

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