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Monday, May 5, 2014

Six-Flags in Mexico City, am I crazy?

About a week ago, Raul my landlord, asked me if I wanted to go to Six-Flags Theme Park in Mexico City.  Of course, being almost 62 years old, I told him 'not in your life'.  After a couple of days of pestering on his part, I finally gave in, and committed to going on a minimum of five of their scariest rides.  Okay, I'm both crazy and weak for agreeing.

We just got back from a full day (and I mean a full 12 hours of rides), and I must admit it was fun.  My only apparent injuries were sore shoulders from being strapped into the various rides.  I made it to four of the five committed rides, and the only reason I missed the last was because it was shut down temporarily.

The park itself has been around for many years and is located in south Mexico City.  A few years ago Six-Flags bought it and have been upgrading and adding new rides ever since.  I was very impressed with the cleanliness and professionalism displayed in the park.  The rides all looked extremely safe, and I know because that was one of my pre-requisites before getting on any of them.

We made sure not to eat a large breakfast before attempting the scariest and most difficult rides, and once we arrived at the back entrance to the park (just at 10 AM, the opening time), we walked under the largest ride (Superman) and to my first ride, Batman.  Because it was early, there was really no lineup, and we were able to get on the first ride withing minutes - unfortunately.

I'll backup for a minute.  Part of our agreement was that Raul would purchase my entrance for the day, which included some money for food, and I would go on the five rides he suggested.  Batman, he thought, would be an easy ride for me to start on - because of my age.  He was wrong.  I have been to Disneyland numerous times, but have never been on one of the rides that the seats are underneath the rails.  I hung on about as tight as anyone could, and thank goodness, the ride only lasted about a minute or so.

I'm not a screamer, but after the ride was over, both of my arms ached from hanging on so tight.  The upside down turns and spins are what I really hated.  Raul asked me if the ride was fun, I guess because I hadn't made a sound and he was screaming the entire way, and I said emphatically - NO.  Now that he knew that I was a seasoned rider, he decided that we should immediately go to Superman next door.

It was lucky that I was still shaking from Batman and was basically being led to the next ride, or they may have never gotten me on.  Oh, and let me mention, there were five of us on this excursion today.  Raul and his girlfriend Carolina, our friend Horacio and myself; and a German student that lived at our casa.  It was her first time ever on a roller coaster.  Carolina sat out during the Batman ride and held my glasses and our money.

Superman was an extremely long ride that went from one end of the park to the other.  In size, it made most of the other rides look like ants.  Not only was it long, but at one point near the beginning, it was over 60 meters tall, and at the top, it was almost straight down.  I've never been so scared in my life.  Thank god it didn't go upside down at any time during the ride.  But it was fast too.

I was shaking after Superman, but don't know if I was more amazed about not screaming again or just that I was alive.  As we left, I did however notice that I wasn't quite walking in a straight line.  After surviving these first two rides, the group decided it was time to slow down for a little while and take a couple of easier rides.

It was a sunny day, and Carolina suggested that we take the river ride.  It was easy and you just floated down a couple of little waterfalls and got a tiny bit wet.  Horacio decided that he didn't want to go on this ride and I thought it was because it was too wimpy.  He had another notion about why he didn't want to go, which I soon found out.  

About 10 people were on the ride with us and we all sat in this round floating thing with seats all around the inside facing inwards to circular railing to hand onto.  I had brought a ziploc bag to carry my money in, and put my glasses into the bag before the ride - luckily.  After the first few little rapids in the river, we went past some statues spraying water on us.  We got a little bit wet, but at the end of the ride, there was a waterfall.  We tried spinning the boat like crazy so some of us didn't get wet, but nope, we all got thoroughly soaked.  I must have looked like a drowned rat, because the three others could only laugh when they looked at me.

We came out of the ride soaked to the skin, but fortunately I was wearing my clothing that dries quickly.  After standing in the sun for a few minutes I could already feel a little warmer.  We heard an announcement and off we all went to the Dolphin show.  The show started out with a couple of seals doing tricks (Canadian seals), and then progressed to the dolphins.  I have never seen a show like this, but have seen lots of seals and dolphins back in Canada.  I live on a boat.

The show asked for volunteers to swim with the dolphins, and a couple of little girls got selected.  I was disappointed for them though, because they didn't get to swim with the dolphins at all.  They just got to pet and kiss them.  Oh well, I guess they had fun anyway.  When we left the show, it was time for the next scary ride.  Raul thought it was time for the Kilahuea, the one that goes straight up 60 meters in about three seconds.

As we walked to it, Horacio told us that he had seen that Flash Passes were cheaper than Raul had previously thought.  Raul had told us that we could pass the long wait lines with these passes, but that they cost 300 pesos for 3 passes.  Horacio found that they were 3 for 50 pesos, or 10 for 120 pesos, but you couldn't share with others.  We all bough ourselves three passes for the next big rides.

So we Fast Passed to the Kilahuea, and Raul told me that the view from the top was fantastic.  At least this one doesn't spin upside down or get you wet.  Carolina again didn't want to go on this one, and held my eyeglasses again.  Now how was I supposed to see anything without my glasses?  Raul also told me that I should keep my head back at all times, and once we got to the top the last time (the last time?), it took three seconds before we did the last big drop.  God, what had I gotten myself into?

As we sat there waiting to go, I could hear the machine starting to pump up and get the large air cylinders filled.  Then all of a sudden, off we shot 60 meters to the top of our tower (there were three), and then immediately back down again, almost to the bottom.  Then back up and then down and then up and then down, and finally one last climb to the top.  Once there, I guess the view was nice, but even if I could see, I think my tongue was blocking my eyes.

Then the chair took us slowly up about another five meters, and we just sat there.  Then all of a sudden, we dropped full speed to the bottom.  I actually lifted right out of my seat when we took off.  Thank god the shoulder harness didn't come undone.  I staggered out of the ride area and could feel my entire body shaking.  I don't know if it was pure fear or adrenaline.  All I know my hands were shaking when I held out my arm.

By now it was about 2 PM, and we were all starting to get hungry.  Even though the plan was to get all the difficult rides finished before we ate, we decided to take a chance and eat anyway.  Besides we were more than half way through my commitment.  We found a place called the Saloon Corona, and had a Michalada and lunch.

We had a liesurely lunch, and it was almost 4 PM when we began our afternoon shift of fun.  We decided to start out easy and ride the Carousel.  They had a double floor antique ride that looked fantastic.  The two girls and I decided to try it while the guys waited.  As we stood in line, I remembered that I hadn't ridden a Carousel in oh, about 55 years.  There were sure a lot of little kids in the lineup.  Oh well, we got in and immediately took three horses on the main level, side by side.  The ride started, and it brought back fantastic memories, and I didn't even get dizzy or sick from my horse going up and down.  Too bad Horacio's phone died and he couldn't get a photo of us on the horses.

After the Carousel, we all went to the Bumper Cars.  We had a great time there, and that brought back memories for me too.  Then it was off to the 4th scary ride, The Boomerang (or sometimes called the Scorpion).  Raul said that after my brave first three rides, I was obviously a professional ride rider, and the Boomerang would be a piece of cake.  Little did he know.

The ride itself only lasts about a minute, but what a ride it was.  We used our Fast Passes and got to our turn in record time - darnit.  This time the two couples sat together in their own cars near the back, and I had to find my own seat, right in the front car.  My Spanish is not good yet, but luckily my partner spoke English.  All he told me was to hang on.  Great, the ride started by us being pulled backwards up a steep (a very steep) hill.  Once at the top, off we went back down through the loading area and up.  Then the ride went upside down and made a turn, the crossed over and flipped around and over two more times with a final full upside down loop.

And the ride wasn't over yet.  We went up a last tall hill and climbed to the top for about 10 seconds.  Then a release and we went backwards through all the twists and turns and flips back to the start.  When I climbed out, my new friend in life asked 'otra' again?  No way, I could hardly stop shaking and my shoulders, hands and arms hurt like hell.  Also my legs were cramped from being so tense.  I definitely didn't like this ride at all.

Of course, Raul had to now ask me what my favorite ride had been so far.  None of them.  He laughed, but again repeated that I was a professional.  He hadn't heard me scream once all day - he should have heard inside my head.  It was time to slow down again, and on our way to the final big ride, The Dark Knight, we stopped at the Roller, a kids tiny roller coaster.  It was just what I needed, something easy.

Then the girls decided that they wanted to ride on the Vuelo Alpino, one of those rides where everyone sits in their own seats hanging by long chains from above.  The ride starts spinning around in a circle, higher and higher and faster and faster, and people feel like birds flying around in a circle.  Raul and I bowed out of this one and found a washroom.  By the time we got back it was dark.  So that meant it was about 8 o'clock and we only had two hours left.

Raul couldn't make up his mind what my final scary ride should be.  He thought of either the Dark Knight, the Hurricane or perhaps The Joker.  Or, of course, we could do Superman or Batman one more time.  I said no way to the latter.  We started walking and there was the Dark Horse in front of us.  I guess this would be it.  To make a long story short, I sat this one out, because the lady at the gate wouldn't let Carolina on with her tiny bag.  I volunteered to hold it because I could see she really wanted to go on this one.

When they all came out a few minutes later, Raul decided that I should definitely go on this one with him.  I used my last Flash Pass and he and I went into the building.  He told me that compared to all the other difficult ones I had already been on, this one would be easy.  Not.  It was one of those rides where two of you get into your own car and go way up into a dark building.  The you quickly work your way down and around past corners that feel like you are going to fall off the tracks.  Definitely not an easy ride, for me at least.

But now I felt better;  I had met my commitment.  From here on, it should be no problem.  Raul, Ricarda (the German girl) and Horacio all wanted to finish off the night with either Superman or Batman.  We worked our way towards them, and decided that the next roller coaster looked neat.  It was called Vudu and next to it was the Tsunami.  We had tried to get into Vampire Infestation, but it was closed.    By the time we finished these two rides, we only had about a half hour before closing.

We walked towards the exit and parking lot, and in front of us was The Joker.  Everyone but me wanted to try it, so I sat this one out.  I decided to find another washroom and check out one of the sales outlets.  But first a 49 peso cappuccino.  Now I could shop.  The store had thousands of extremely high-priced junk.  For example, a key chain for 100 pesos or a coffee cup for 190 pesos.  No thanks.

I returned to the ride area, and the group was finally starting to get close to their turn.  Carolina threw me the purse thing she had over her shoulder.  I caught it and waited, drinking my cappuccino - god it tasted good.  About 10 minutes later, they emerged from the sales store, and we headed for the last ride of the evening.  They voted on Batman.

Carolina and I both sat this one out because she hated Batman, and I was sore and tired.  After they finished the ride, we wandered down to the exit.  As we walked, and maybe because it was dark now, we had a perfect view of the bottom of the Superman ride and the huge hill.  We would be walking right underneath the spot where the car was going the fastest.  From this vantage point, it looked like about the scariest ride I had ever seen - and I had been on it.  We stopped for a few seconds to watch, and I swore that this was the last time I would ever do this.  Yeah right.

As we left Six-Flags, we drove past a car near the entrance trying to tie one of the stuffed animals they had obviously won, onto the top of their car.  It was some kind of purple animal and was as big as their car.  Thank god we hadn't played any of the games and won one of these monsters.  Now an hour and a half drive home, and bed.  We took the highway and paid the toll instead of taking the freeway and possibly getting robbed.