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Debconf 6, Day 4

  • 21st May, 2006 at 2:56 AM

Boarding the bus
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

The air has been hot but dry, so it's been quite bearable if you drink enough water. On Wednesday morning, we woke up to the sound of rain. I went to the window and looked through the glass slats to the basketball court outside. There were puddles in the middle of the dry pavement, and it looked like it was raining only in those puddles! The droplets just evaporated as they hit the ground. This was a promising start to the Debconf day trip.

A large group of us met at the front of the resort, near the reception, where there was a parking lot full of buses. Silver buses that look like they drove out of the seventies. We milled about before boarding, which took a while, because of the "herding cats" problem. Once we were all aboard, we drove off.

I was sitting on the first bus and we puttered along until we got to the highway. We drove past roadside stalls and restaurants until we got to a town. After going through that, we got to open fields and then a series of hills and valleys. The little bus climbed the largest of these hills, like the Little Engine that Could, and we finally pulled into a parking lot.

The museum in front of us was a green concrete structure, which contained an exhibit. We stood in front of a model of the area, while our tour guide explained the history of the site. We were going to visit the ruins of an old city, Xochicalco, which was built as a fortification on the top of this hill. Since I was never a docile student, I went around looking at things, taking photographs, and having fun. I found the staff lounge where there were people sitting around chatting. There was also a large pool of stagnant, algæ clogged water. Nearby, a dog with fleas was scratching and biting herself. I decided to give her a wide berth.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

The rest of the group started heading up a stone path to the old city, so I ran alongside to catch up. By the time we got to the top, we were greeted by some pyramids. Well, they weren't really friendly pyramids, and more like imposing pyramids. I ignored the tour guide again and started taking photographs. I spotted a Tlachtli court in the valley below, which seemed to be in remarkably good shape.

The front gates of the city were built to restrict entry, as is normal for a fortified city. In order to actually enter the city, you have to climb about a hundred narrow steps, which is something pretty difficult to do if you're invaders. According to some of the signs that were placed there, it appeared that the city collapsed due to a revolt, as there were plenty of skeletons found near the gates. And because there was plenty of soot on the stones, which indicated a large fire.

At the top, we climbed on some of the pyramids. Or rather, other people walked up some stairs and I climbed up them. Which got me in trouble with the local security guards. I suppose I wasn't very good at being sneaky. I should practise more.

We left the site and headed to a large restaurant that was just on the side of the road. It's sort of in the middle of nowhere, with only a motel across the street. The staff was warned that we arrived, but they still looked a little panicked, as we crowded inside and took over their restaurant. They had this buffet table set up, which we queued up to serve ourselves. Since it was a buffet, the food and service wasn't of spectacular quality. However, since we had hundreds of people, the food was consumed really quicky and it was very fresh. So it was the tastiest sponsored meal I've had so far.

At the restaurant, they kept some pets. There was a dog, a pair of birds, and some others. One of which was the most adorable lizard, who won everyone's hearts. A crowd gathered around Biella Coleman as she petted him. I think she wanted to take him home.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

After we stuffed ourselves, we climbed back on the buses and drove to Cuernavaca. It had started raining again, lightly, but we got off the bus just after the sun came out. We were greeted by a marketplace in the center of town and given half-an-hour to look around. Since it seemed pretty touristy, I found Biella and Martin Krafft who had the same sentiments, so we walked around the central part of town and played tourist.

We found a juice stand that was selling mixed drinks. Martin decided to get an interesting drink, which apparently had too much banana in it. We then decided to find a public restroom, which we did. It advertised very clean washrooms, for only 5 pesos per person. We had reports that it was spotless.

Afterwards, we wandered about and found a Japanese-fan store that sold action figures and anime. We then discovered a tobacconist, which got Martin excited. He attempted to buy a cigar, but the person inside refused to sell it to him. It turns out that this was just a friend minding the store, who refused to engage in any business transactions, by proxy. Martin left, and I was disappointed once more by people's misunderstanding of simple economics.

The bus returned us to the reception after a rather long drive and I stumbled into the HackLab. On the veranda, people had gathered to have a liquor BoF. Plenty of foreign liquors showed up, including a bottle of Sortilège that I brought, and they were consumed rapidly.

People had trouble staying awake by now, but I'm unsure if it was because of the alcohol. Maybe it's because it was Wednesday.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
21st May, 2006 13:36 (UTC)
That picture captioned 'diving board' looks uncannily like an assortment of balloons and some photographers. :)

As for the actual diving board composite, that's just awesome.
21st May, 2006 16:28 (UTC)
Whoops! Thanks for pointing that out. I was really sleepy when I did this.

People were trying to get me to stop using the computer last night. So I was also in a bit of a rush.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )