Giorgia goes to Mexico
The invitation to go as a guest to a Mexican convention came unexpected during the first months of this year from Paula Monroy (a.k.a. Marmota), one of the organizers of the important TNT, a convention that has reached its 11th edition.
I enthusiastically accepted the invitation along with my "colleague" Angel Hitomi.
With my "manager and lawyer" Robbberto and Angel Hitomi's boyfriend Cristiano joining us, we spent two weeks in an incredible and amusing adventure across the Ocean, everything paid by the organization who took care of us like we were stars!
This is the report of what happened...
Vado al massimo... vado al Messico!
Flight Malpensa - Madrid
Flight Madrid - Mexico City
Monday, the 24th of April time 18,00.
We wait faithfully in Malpensa for the boarding to Madrid due at 20:00.
The flight is smooth on the Iberia's airplane (let's keep this among us, but the airline offers scandalous meals, something you could sue someone for); by this time we are used to travelling with the Big Box and we move with ease and coordination among pegs, alleys and mazes spread between us and the check in counter.
Nevertheless, it's always funny when the girls at the counter ask surprised about the content of the Big Box and we peacefully answer "suits".
At that time our counterpart never knows whether to add "swimsuits?" or to ask if I'm going for some kind of a photo report somewhere exotic.
I realize the puzzling and I show the girl a picture of Silen… a funny chit chat starts from here, but time is running out and we board faithfully to Madrid.
Barahas airport is for sure one of the most magnificent and modern airports I ever came to visit in these years; waiting there for nearly 4 hours this time and [...]
- more than 8 during the return gave me the chance to appreciate many of its peculiarity (Starbuck, that handsome boy from Madrid responsible for the filter, etc.)
Some sort of vocal-music-traditional-folk group of 84 members flies on the very same flight and, well, let's say that while the clock turns to one digit hours before the boarding, they entertain us for long with Hispanic rhythms.
I'm sure that if we were have been in Italy, they had been jailed after 5 minutes.
But we are in Spain, blood is caliente, there's movida, etc. etc. … I am sooooo sleepy, but I don't dare to tell them, the look so happy about their unforeseen concert.
Finally we board and I don't need the three movies available for economy class being boring beyond despair to make me sleep (one for all: Good Night and Good Luck! I had already seen it in my cineforum… Clooney, what did you do? Go back in the alley…); my eyelids drop spontaneously for most of the 11 hours of the flight and Robbberto, sit on my side, doesn't look differently.
WELCOME TO MEXICO
We land shiny and safe in Mexico City exactly when due; [...]
- it's 7:00 am…
After getting the luggage back, we made like a tree and got (cit. Back to the Future) out of the arrival lounge finding there a real good welcome committee ^_^
Thanks to her huge "Benvenuti a Mexico" (Welcome to Mexico) sign she can't go unseen, so we finally know also her boyfriend Mario "let me check" Vargas, who in the next two weeks would have been our official translator and interpreter, and the amazing Daniel, our personal chauffeur and security chief.
We come to know, not without some dismay that our duties start immediately.
Before going to our hotel, the Mayaland (something that in Italian sounds like "Pigland"), Canal Once is waiting for me to be a guest in their TV Show Ensalada Cesar, that has nothing in common with the famous McDonald's salad.
Useless to say, they want me in cosplay.
Something simple… Sailor Pluto.
Let it be! I change in the TV's changing rooms and I get ready for my live interview *_* followed by a singing performance of "Go Cosplay", while drum players entertain us with a wonderful and strictly live performance.
After the bunch of ritual pictures taken with cameramen and people of the staff, I come to meet even an Italian student who's stranded there thanks to the Erasmus program.
Being good Italians, we take pictures together like we were lifetime friends.
After lunch and a stop in the not so worthy jacuzzi of our hotel room, we go for a first time sightseeing of Mexico City.
We visit the building where the most famous painting of Diego Rivera, the turbulent husband of Frida Kahlo, is kept, the monument to Benito Juarez, formerly president of Mexico, the House of Azulejos, a colonial style building richly decorated with wonderful white and china blue tiles, and the Arts Museum, a wonderful building in Art Noveau that stands in the center of a magnificent square.
After dinner, tired to our bones, we go to sleep, not minding the jet lag.
Mexico and Clouds…
During the morning Angel Hitomi and her boyfriend (bodegas) Cristiano join us, safe and save (but nevertheless well tired) despite the many troubles with their flights.
At 14:00, between a taco and a tamale, we have an interview (shot with a videocamera and to be put on the next issue's CD) with the animation magazine Anime Connexion.
Meanwhile we know also the other guest in our group: she is Jessica Toledo, singer voice actress from Chile, who mainly sings anime op and ed songs, and her silent but nice friend and manager Mauricio.
Before getting ready for the conference to be held in the evening in a hotel in downtown, we have time to relax in our room: watching foreign ads and local TV shows is always funny, not to mention that among the music videos we can watch ad masterpieces of the 80s like Milli Vanilli who I had put in the oblivion for more than 10 years: good things, uh?
Coming to know that in South America singers like Paolo Meneguzzi and Valeria Rossi are well known is, instead, something to worry about… but the final blow comes from Jessica who sings the Spanish version of Ambra's "T'Appartengo" ;_; (ti [...]
- giuro amore , un amore eternoooooooooooooooo… I swear darling I will love you foreveeeeeeeeer). I wished I could bury myself deep.
The evening conference was some sort of introducing of the guests of the 11th edition of TNT, and besides Laura and me (we were wearing Fiona and Alcyone costumes), the already mentioned Jessica, the Blood IV, a Japanese rock metal group (the drummer was really handsome and the bass looked like a Japanese version of Joey Tempest *_*), the Mexican champions of Pump It Up (the Korean Dance Dance Revolution, very famous in Mexico) and the Mexican-Korean group Larkspur were there.
Everything was really funny.
Laura and I were sitting at our table, with our names well shown on plates (just like the evening news) and the ever useful bottle of water on the table and our translator Mario on our side ready for any occurrence.
Thanks to my sister's help, I had written a short and funny speech in Spanish that the audience seemed to like laughing (evidence that they understood the humour ^_^).
In the end I even got an applause ;___________________; ; [...]
- what a (cerebral, obviously) commotion.
After the self introduction it was question time; damned Mexicans, they start so shy and then they like it and they won't let you!!!
Ok, let's give up jokes, the question time was really interesting, a ritual to be repeated many times in the following days.
After the meeting, we have literally been overwhelmed by requests for pictures and autographs: we were so embarrassed, but we would have come to get used also to this… nearly ^_^
Kimono power!... dress up!
Let's say I'm lazy and I copy (forgive me XD) from Angel Hitomi's report the notion by notion report of the visit to the Anthropology Museum:
The museum was huge, about 26 exhibition rooms divided into: Introduction to Anthropology, Introduction to Mesoamerica, origins, central plateau pre-classical period, Teotihuacan, Toltecs, Mexica, Oaxaca, Gulf Of Mexico, Maya, North, West and etnograph(…). Among the most famous items : The Stone Of Sun (Aztec Calendar), that long time ago was put on a platform alf way to the top of the Great Pyramid of the capital Tenochtitlàn, full of cosmogonic symbols, and used to foresee eclipses of the Sun. Statues, altars for sacrifices, depictions of gods like Quezalcoatl, god of water, and many other.
After the neverending visit (interesting, but neverending *_*) it's now 3:00pm and we wait for Daniel to come and pick us up under a burning Sun.
Meanwhile we see some sort of a stunt show, while a squirrel gets close carefully to us, biting a nut.
In the evening something completely different was waiting for us.
Paula asked us to be in cosplay for the introduction of [...]
- "Kosupure", a new magazine that her and Mario are publishing.
Laura and I are the main course on issue #1, with personal data, interviews and, for me, even the centerfold ç_ç!
This presentation takes place very far from our hotel… we could even say we came across the whole Mexico City, that, thanks to its 22 million of citizens, is not properly a small town, to go to some sort of a Japan related and Japan style club where fans and friends are waiting for us.
This time I'm wearing Mai Shiranui's costume, while Laura is Chii from Chobits and Paula introduce the mini conference as Chun Li black version.
But the main guest is soon revealed to be a smart Japanese old lady, who teaches Japanese in some university of the neighborhoods.
She shows us live a practical example of how to wear a kimono, choosing Hitomi as her model.
The reason for the choice is soon said again and again; but for sympathy towards Laura I'm not repeating it, it would be useless as the whole Mexico knows it already XD!
Mucho Calor... no podìa resistir, mira el dito!
First convention day for your reporter.
We get to the convention by our practical 9 seats van, faithful "carro" during our whole Mexican journey, driven by the everlasting Daniel, and, just like real V.I.P.s, we are escorted through a side door to our changing rooms inside the convention.
To our great surprise, Laura and I realize at a glance that the whole conference room (and even the other pavilions!) are covered with posters depicting me as Sailor Pluto and Laura as Lothy from Magna Charta in size bigger than 1:1… we obviously stole these posters and put them in our luggage well knowing that no one was going to believe us without evidence.
We still have some free time before the conference begins, so we take this chance to walk among the stands and, to our great surprise, we are soon recognized and so the take-a-picture-fair starts, while our bodyguards watch over us, methodically ordering to our fans "sin abraciarle" (without hugging them).
The TNT convention is held in a convention center called Tlatelolco and, speaking of the internal arrangement, it looks much like the Italian Lucca Comics & Games; the main [...]
- difference is that there is a pavilion completely dedicated to fanzines and barely legal copied stuff.
In Italy Fiscal Police would cheer all the day long in a place like this.
In another pavilion stuff more like the one found here in Italy is sold, but in most cases prices are much more affordable.
Now in Mexico, besides well known serials that are famous in Italy too (Full Metal Alchemist, Naruto, Inuyasha, etc.) it's again the time for Knights of the Zodiac, mainly thanks to the new saga that gave the serial an incredible boost in popularity.
We buy something and we stop at the #1 character of the whole convention.
Mr. Gabriel Chàvez, a.k.a. the Mexican voice of Montgomery Burns from The Simpson, who, shouting "excellent Smithers" never lose the chance to wrap around beautiful girls to take any sort of pictures; we are the sacrifice to him.
After the ritual autograph, we willingly pose for some pictures and we will even go back to his stands in the following days… he really was a character!!!
Now it's time to get ready for the conference, so while I become Mew Pam, Laura gets back to being Chii.
I feel really strange sitting on the stage and seeing people queuing to have an autograph from me; I would have never expected anything like this.
And also seeing the warm love of Mexican fans was wonderful.
They came to us carrying T-shirts, any kind of gadget depicting our face and they gave us any kind of cute present, plushes, letters, origami, newspapers, prints, gashapons etc.
At first I was really embarrassed… but I was lucky my mate was not in a better mood… look at her while she awkwardly sign autographs while I laugh out loud ^______________________^.
After the autographs' session, it's pictures' time… and again queues of people waiting for their time to have the chance to take a picture with us!!!
We repeated this script nearly the same way for all the convention days, the main difference being that on this first day we have been introduced also on the stage before the contest (answering the usual embarrassing questions by boys) and I sang again Go Cosplay!
After the tour de force of the previous day, we are again ready for the second of the days of the convention, and this time we are the juries of the male cosplay contest.
It gets really little to realize that the audience is nearly doubled compared to the one of the previous day; today Laura and I are respectively a white Gothic Lolita and Sailor Pluto.
To save time we decide to eat at the fake Japanese restaurant that sells inside the convention… it's not a wise idea, but this is it.
All I wanted was sandia, delicious sandia, my official drink for all the journey together with the slogan of Radio 106.5… Mucho Ritmo!
Sandia, good, cool, refreshing ;_____; it's just pure watermelon juice (with no seeds) and I was really crazy about it… a sandia addicted!!!
I don't know how I bothered everybody to be able to drink it ^_^
By the way, also on Saturday we have some time for some fast shopping (let's talk about those turbonerd T-Shirts Robbberto and Cristiano bought, with the logo of Autobots and Decepticon depicted on them… "you, son of a gun!!!")… and some terrible picture you [...]
- can see below XD!!
During the night one of the most funny moment of this holiday was waiting for us: the night party held for the guests.
A foolish night with tequila and the like in a trendy bar of the capital… a terrace located on top of a very high skyscraper from which we could enjoy a breathtaking view on all (or nearly all) Mexico City.
Between a disco samba (eh meo amigo Charlie Brown…) and a Penso Positivo by the Italian Jovanotti of those old days - and everybody sang it!!! - we drifted into sensual trains of people, throwing at each other a giant banana, among the surprised and amused looks of the watchers who were for sure more drunk than us.
Useless to say that we got back to our hotel very very late *_*… after all the morning after was waiting for us carrying only the most busy day of all the journey.
El dia del niño
This is the main day of the TNT, the acme for all the events (concerts, cosplay…) the one where we were expected to give all our best.
And so, here we are, Laura wears her Hilda from Shadow Hearts costume made ad hoc for the convention and I become Silen from Devilman.
But not immediately!
During the morning a local radio was waiting for us for a radio interview to be remembered; Caramelito, a well known Mexican clown (!), was waiting hands wide open to celebrate the "Day of the Child" (downtown was invaded by a colorful parade).
You can easily imagine how fresh we were after the tequila party of the previous night.
By the way, after the usual questions, for which we started thinking of recording an automated answer ;_; , and a quiz about cartoons (in which, let's face it, we didn't perform very well… but we can explain, after all we don't watch Spongebob - the Swiss Cheese who believes he is a sponge - and Top Cat, very famous in DF, is long gone from Italian screens!) we got back to the hotel and then we went to the convention, where we got surrounded by the audience all the day long.
This was a [...]
- special day, during which the video of the Italian victory during the World Cosplay Summit was shown, and we had quite a good audience!
I had the chance to know many famous Mexican cosplayers like Inglaterra, the Mexican Chun Li, Alin, Grettel and a really cute Francoise from Cyborg 009 who looked exactly like our Francesca *_*
Fiesta del trabajo
Go on, make may day… after all it's the last day of the convention
And the last day at the Mayaland which, perfectly timed with the labour day, is closed.
I won't go into much detail about the American Style breakfast we had in a nearby restaurant, I'll tell you just that I wasn't able to see the end of the gargantuan piece of strawberry cake the acrobatic waitress served us (thanx to Cristiano for the logistic support).
Yes, "acrobatic", because she tried to amaze and impress us with stunning evolutions while pouring tea; she couldn't be more wrong, we had already decided we were not going to leave a tip XD
Laura on the other hand, I don't know what she dared to order (enchilada?), was served with a good boiled cactus… I think she is still trying to recover… and by the way I would like to stress that in the end she was the one who spent the most, I still retain the receipt as evidence, shame on you ^__^!!
Costumes for this day are Evangelion's Rei Cat Version for Hitomi and Mai Shiranui for me, a suit in which I enjoy some let's say "exotic" poses with [...]
- Inglaterra and other fighters from videogames I found there.
Also this time that damned white ball decided to abandon me once again, but there will be a day when I am able to avoid it breaking!
Entre el sol y la luna està tu corazòn
Finally some good tourism, and to have it in full glory we go to Teotihuacan to walk the Avenue of the Dead and to climb the Sun and the Moon Pyramid.
This archeological site seems endless; it spreads between the two pyramids, gifting the visitor with breathtaking views.
Obviously we can't avoid climbing the pyramids… I think they would make a perfect scenario for a Lara Croft photo session… maybe the next time.
Paraphrasing Robbberto, I'll tell you about another funny feature of the site: walking sellers.
The Avenue of the Dead is crowded by these friendly gentlemen who carry with them stuff spanning from the carpet depicting the Aztec Stone of the Sun to various objects made of obsidian, from crystals to reproductions of the Pyramids and, generally speaking, any kind of kitsch object you could possibly imagine to associate with a tourist/archeological site.
As soon as they sight a tourist, he/she is surrounded by the sellers who start claiming the good quality of their goods, describing them as unique in the World (obviously enough, just two steps away another seller has the very same stuff), following words with much [...]
- or not so much impressive demonstrations of the quality of the obsidian used in the making process.
The most important thing you should never forget is that you have to behave like real Italians and trade without mercy.
The starting price is at least twice the price the seller is willing to go down to, and you will be able to tell this price just walking away with delusion for the too much high price he is asking; soon he will run after you, granting that he like you and for that reason he leaves the object at the price you are willing to pay ^__^
Weather was good while we visited the two main pyramids, without too much Sun and with bearable temperatures; despite the fact we were in the middle of a desert it started raining and so we couldn't visit the pyramid of Quezalcoatl… oh well, it doesn't matter… I was in my "get drunk by tequila" phase three XD!
The trip to Guadalajara
Here we go to Guadalajara!
This day was dedicated to the transfer (nearly 8 hours by van) from Mexico City to our second goal, Guadalajara.
There's not much to say apart that it was suggestive to cross desert areas along this infinite road crossing desolate, barren and lifeless lands, with Hotel California by The Eagles and A Horse With No Name by America as background music.
To tell the truth I just slept for a very good percentage of the journey (give me a mean of transportation and I'll fall asleep), while the poor Laura got a cold mixed with allergy that would have put her K.O. for a long time.
During the trip we stopped twice in crumbling and picturesque booths, the local version of a stop area, I'm afraid, located at something like 200 km from each other *_*, where the shown food said everything but "buy me".
Paula anyway, seriously compromising the integrity of her fingers, had prepared a bunch of sandia for all of us, so, just like the secondary school party, here we are, queuing for the precious drink holding a glass with our name written on it.
We get to Guadalajara in the late afternoon and we are [...]
- shown a town, oh well, it's one of the most densely populated urban agglomerate of the whole Mexico, much less crowded by cars and much less chaotic than Mexico City.
If it had the sea, Guadalajara would be a perfect goal for a summer swim, our guests confirm that the city is much safer, quiet and controlled than the capital.
We will then discover that even the weather is much more stable: in Guadalajara we had always hot and sunny days, while in the Federal District a daily little shower was the common rule.
Forget the Mayaland days.
Our new accommodation was really particular.
In a few words, TNT staff had reserved a whole building of flats and studios located just a couple of steps away from the Guadalajara's Expo where the convention was held.
Now the four of us were all in the same flat together, while the other members of the staff were accommodated in the other flats in the same building.
You can imagine the mess at late evening, with open doors, loud music, high people barely standing on two feet along the corridors or inviting us to alcoholic parties every step we made! ^__________________^
Internet, radio y… mucho ritmo!
One of the most peaceful days of the journey for sure.
During the morning the program was for a conference that should have followed the same path of the one held in Mexico City, but for reasons I won't go into much detail explaining, despite Laura and I were ready and willing, it was just cancelled.
Not too bad, we now have time to go to an internet point before going to a radio station for an interview by two crazy Mexicans, because the telematic abstinence is being felt and we desperately need a PC.
Well, speaking of "Internet Point" might be an exaggeration since we were in the closet of the attic of the owner of an afrobar, but these are details ^_^
After the interview we start feeling some hunger so, while Cristiano, Laura and I stop to eat cakes at a nearby Starbucks (what a wonder, I love it! I will push for a Starbucks to open in Vigasio!!!) the others went to the restaurant La Gorda, nomen omen, while Mario, after having rescued Robbberto, who had been struck by the revenge of Montezuma, took him to have his dose of Internet and then to reach us at the Starbucks.
In the evening we had a second interview in the same [...]
- radio, this time with two normal hosts thank God (they were great fans of Valeria Rossi and Gianna Nannini), for the radio show Noche de Ronda, which you can listen to in the audio section of the site, then dinner and everybody home!
Mc Donald’s & Bodegas
While Hitomi and Cristiano stay in the flat waiting for Laura to recover, two good Mexican cosplayers come to visit us: they are Paty and Marisol who will be with us for the rest of the day while we discover Guadalajara.
So, together with Mario and Paula, we go to the center of the nice town, visiting the most important places: from the former Cultural Institute Cabañasuna, decorated with murales by Orozco (that would make Dante and Go Nagai happy thanks to their apocalyptic visions of the Hell), to the central square, with the unusual benches made of iron forged in strange shapes vaguely resembling images from a Tim Burton's movie, from the big fountain depicting the feathered snake Quezalcoatl, passing through the theatre De Gollado, up to the wonderful gazebo, gift of the French, in art noveau placed in front of the town hall.
We are taken in a typical restaurant where mariachi, the traditional singers with the sombrero, sing among the tables and where the furniture is kitsch enough to please me and to deserve more than a photo shoot.
We are also able to visit the classic market, colorful and bustling with activities; I lose myself among [...]
- shoes and shiny pendants but in the end I take home an embarrassing statue depicting an obese Mexican and a tasty coconut cake.
It looks like soap, but it is not.
The word calorie has reached new and higher meanings, my triglycerides are skyrocketing but… hell… it's super good!!!!!
When we come back home in the evening, after having bought some goods that are essential for our life (like the Viennetta ice cream, for example), we three bodegas, Robbberto, Cristiano and I leave for an adventure, looking for a nearby restaurant, maybe a McDonald's, just to eat something genuine.
The big M we see far away is just a mirage; at 11p.m. everything is closed and so we fall back to eat (for a change) in a only meat restaurant where I order a bowl of cheso (cheese) with mushrooms.
This is when we come to know the terrible Bodegas.
They are an alien race determined to conquer Earth starting from Mexico; commanded by the old Vega they'll soon enslave mankind.
First day for us at the convention in Guadalajara; just like in Mexico City we change in cosplay only after a reconnaissance round after which I become Miss Majo and Laura becomes Lothy
Despite the Expo was in a more modern and functional structure, all the exhibit area and the two stages for the events were located in the same hall and this generated a loud background noise that made nearly unintelligible every conference and/or exhibition, be it ours or by other guests.
As soon as we changed, we have been intercepted for an interview with the daily newspaper "Publico", which the very next day had our photo and the article about our participation you can see here: Press - 2006.
During this convention I had the chance to meet other very good cosplayers, besides Paty and Marisol, like Alechan, Richie and Ayane (even if I saw her for a very short time!!).
Back at the base we decide to cook Italian for once… a very good carbonara.
Let's avoid talking about the ingredients we used (like the typical Italian cheese made in Uruguay on which [...]
- we laughed a lot).
So, while we were cooking I SPAGHETTI (like the people in the other flats were singing, hoping in a spare portion), Paula pleased us with very good albondigas (meatball).
A great success: Daniel will marry me for this! XD
TNT 11… the last day!
Having discovered that our presence in the convention was due only in the afternoon, Robbberto and I decided to follow Paula and Mario who were taking Laura and Cristiano in the very same city tour we had two days before, which Laura couldn't enjoy due to her cold.
We take this chance to buy some other things and to go back at the Internet Point.
In the afternoon we get ready (Alcyone and Hilda) for the second and last day of the Convention TNT 11.
For the dinner, after the defection of Jessica who was supposed to cook Chilean, we hurry, maybe moved by our stomachs that were asking for mercy after two weeks of guacamole, to the nearby McDonald's, and this time I eat with great satisfaction a double cheeseburger (…papapapppa I'm lovin' it!).
Come Back Home!
In the end, just like everything else, also this vacation comes to its finale.
We leave Guadalajara in the late morning to go back to Mexico City, always with a musical background provided by Daniel's compilations, a real must.
We stop at Mayaland to get our baggage that was travelling on another van, and after having said hello to everyone, we go to the airport with Mario, Paula and the two other bodegas who will have left the next day.
It's time for goodbye (not before we had a word fight with the Iberia's check-in stewardesses who wanted us to pay $200 for the Big Box… I say no, uh…) and for thanking… for Robbberto and me it's time for the return odyssey.
As soon as we cross the threshold of the gate zone we are already worried about the destiny of the Big Box that is being left abandoned in a corner at the end of the conveyor belt by the lazy clerks; we imagine it wearing sunglasses, after having flown with the wrong plane, having a sunbath on a beach in Tenerife XD.
Before boarding there's still time to waste the last pesos in useless souvenirs, stop at the Starbucks, eat something and thinking [...]
- of our situation and destiny.
The flight to Madrid is smooth, but the offered movies are one worse than the others… and besides this, this time I can't sleep, hell!!;_;
Robbberto, victim of a complete muscular relax pleases us with involuntary little shows.
And I sit behind a guy who was compellingly and continuously scratching his head every 5 seconds, I suspect he had some sort of disease and I couldn't help but taking a picture of him: little perversions of mine.
In Madrid we hardly accept we will have to wait for our flight for eight hours and we collapse carelessly on the sofas of the café Caffriccio (when Starbucks misses…); and after having repeatedly walked the airport memorizing the location of each airport shop, we finally board our plane.
A couple of comfortable hours of flight and we are in Linate, in Italy save and safe, exhausted but happy and most of all, with Mucho Ritmo!!!!