I arrived at the Fiesta Americana in Guadalajara. The big tall letters on the building were under maintenance, so it said "FiestaM Cana" instead, which amused many of the attendees throughout the weekend.
I was met by the bell captain who spoke English. He took my bags and marked them and led me to registration, saying he would keep the bags safe if I could not check in that early. Apparently, they had received my email regarding my early arrival, and I was, indeed, able to check in early. The desk personnel were also very helpful, and check-in was a breeze. I was then shown where the elevators were, which were directly behind the registration desk and up a few steps and ramp.
Yeah, and there are differences in building codes down here. The stairs and ramp did not have any handrails at all. I had to take a bit more time going up them, as a result, as there was no alternative to them to get to the elevator.
The bell cap showed me how to use my room card to be able to push the button for my room floor. Nice feature, if a bit tricky to do right, when you have a lot of people trying to use the elevator at the same time. Maybe one of these days they can program the room cards to simply recognize the floor the room card is for, and turn that floor on automatically.
Anyway, I get up to the 20th floor and get to my room.
Wow...it was almost a suite. And the toilet was in its own small room right next to a larger room that was a shower. Yup! The entire room was a shower...for one. About 5' by 5', but still, an entire room for a shower.
I got settled in the room, and...crashed.
Woke up about 3 hours later, feeling much better, and decided to go sit in the lobby for a while. Immediately met up with two furs who had been anxious to meet me, Sandy and mezasalvador . I had never met either one, and both seemed very happy to not only meet me, but spend time. A lot of time. Which made me happy. I was attended by one, the other, or both throughout the weekend.
and koidelcoyote, whom I've met before, but in the group was also imroni and polarisbeaver whom I wanted to meet, but never had. They were busy and had to get going, but not before they gave me what was left of the tamales they had gotten earlier, and a bag of Mexican ground coffee. Because I kept going on about tamales and Mexican coffee before I came.
So after they left, I decided to try and get my pre-reg badge.
Oy...the line. With my knees, there was no way I could do that, so, I sat down, and talked for some time, waiting for it to get shorter. At 9PM, they said registration was closed, except for those already in line, so, I went back to my room, talked some more, and finally went to bed. Man, the bed was so good...
FRIDAY OCTOBER 11th
Woke up after 7 hours of sleep. I can't remember the last time I slept that long. Had coffee and an empanada for breakfast, then went downstairs and pulled up a chair in front of registration, so I could be first in line to get my pre-reg. Got that done, then went back up to my room (I spent a lot of time in my room, but my room was wonderful).
Seriously. With taxes and everything, it was less than $100 a night. And this was nearly a suite. Very roomy, very comfortable and very clean. There was an interesting sign that said that they would not change the sheets during my stay, unless I requested it. I mean, I've seen signs about towels before, but not sheets. They did straighten them, but never changed them, which was perfectly fine. I drank the bottled water in the room, and expected to be charged for it. Guess what? No charge!
Every con should have as well produced an opening ceremonies as this.
Anyway, they got done with that around noon, and I went to prepare for my parody concert. The setup for sound they had was so good, I just had to bring down my hard drive, and the people in charge actually made my sing along slides MUCH better. I should have asked them for copies.
The show started at 4, and went pretty well, about 20 showed up. I began my set with my usual, "I'm A Big Beaver" and as it turns out, someone give Paco a beaver plush right before the concert started, so he was waving that around during the parody.
Around 10 was Viernes Furry, and I suspect I was the only one in the room who spoke very little Spanish. It was still fun. They were raising money for the con charity throughout the show, one of the things they did was any time someone donated a certain amount in a particular jar, the owner of that jar had to eat a Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Jellybean. If you know anything about those jellybeans, they try to imitate every flavor. I mean EVERY flavor. Even ear wax. Every time someone started eating one a goodly number of attendees started making retching noises, and everyone laughed. Nobody actually threw up, though.
By the end, I was dog tired, went to bed and crashed.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 12th
The events of the con never start until 11 each day, so, I spent the morning drinking coffee and meeting people.
There were three events on the schedule I was participating in.
The Talent Show was supposed to begin at 2 and end and 4, right when my Introduction to The Beach Bears was supposed to start.
So, you can imagine my nervousness when the panel the preceded the Talent Show not only ran late, but ran late with what seemed the blessing of the M.C., Apolo. The Talent Show finally got underway about 30 minutes late.
Turns out I didn't have to worry as they got through all the talent, including me, in a bit over an hour, and there was plenty of time left to set up for my panel.
There were several singers in the Talent show, most of whom spoke no English, but sang in English. So, when I got on the stage, I mentioned that, and said that I spoke very little Spanish, but was going to sing in Spanish. That got a good reaction from the attendees, and when we got to the chorus of or "Eres Tu" they sang along. Got good applause for that.
So, on to The Introduction to The Beach Bears. There were some who knew about it, and some who didn't, and maybe ten showed up. Oh well, about what I expected.
Then there was some time before my final panel of the day so I retrieved the gifts I had brought for Paco, a music box with pandas on it, and a pad of Bristol board, something I figured every artist needed.
Judging from the attendance to my parody concert and Introduction to The Beach Bears, I figured, a panel, in English, about creating character voices, might get ten attendees. I didn't care if it was only one, I would give everything I could.
Um...the room was PACKED!! I had about 100 in that small room, and they hung onto every word. Okay, I'm doing this panel at EVERY con, now.
I was surprised at the questions I got. It was clear they had been listening, as many of them were very intelligent questions.
As had been the case for a while, many attendees asked me for my autograph. That seemed to be the common thing to get autographs of every panel you attend. The con book only had one page for autographs so, I have put a bug in the ear of the person who put the con book together to have more autograph pages. Very easy thing.
By then, my legs had had it, so I went back to my room and turned in.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 13th
The fursuit parade was scheduled for Sunday morning, interestingly enough, and they all gathered in front of the hotel, and were going to parade over to the Minerva Fountain in the center of the traffic circle, take pictures, then come back. It was scheduled for two hours, from 10 to noon, but they left a bit early because the number that showed up was blocking the hotel entrance. Stragglers had to catch up.
They returned early as well, somewhere around 10:30 to 10:45. I counted about 150 fursuits, but I have the feeling there were more than that.
I had been surviving on tamales and empanadas since Thursday, and they were all gone. Now I was hungry, and rather than walking over to the Burger King, I decided to chance the hotel's restaurant.
Good choice! They had a buffet that contained not only familiar scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and hash browns, they had two kinds of soups/stews, not sure what they were, but they smelled wonderful. I didn't chance them, not knowing what they were and not wishing to get sick eating something that my body wasn't familiar with. Plenty of other stuff, no pancakes or waffles that I could see, but wow, all the other stuff there, I was sorely tempted to try. I settled for scrambled eggs, sausage links, hash brown triangles (like you can get at Arby's) and some kind of cheese.
On the way back to my table I noticed at least two urns. One was labelled "chocolate caliente" or hot chocolate, and the second labelled "cafe de olla". Oh, this! THIS is what I had been looking for to try. Cafe de olla is coffee with cinnamon and brown sugar. I poured myself a cup, and went back to my table and had a wonderful breakfast. Price was reasonable, too, around $10.
I only had one panel that day, a two hour one on creating audio stories.
Unfortunately, it was scheduled at the same time as the fursuit dance competition, so, I expected a low turnout.
And I got a low turnout. No problem. Those that attended wanted to know what I knew, so, it was well received.
I went up to my room to rest a bit, after signing more autographs, and started collecting information from some of the contacts I had made. I contacted Sandy first, and asked what city he was from. He said he was from a small town on the west coast but east of Baja, called Los Mochis.
Then I contacted mezasalvador and asked the same question. He said he was from a small town on the west coast but east of Baja called Los Mochis.
Wait, what? I contacted Sandy. "Did you know that Meza lives in the same city as you?"
I contacted Meza. "Did you know that Sandy lives in the same city as you?"
Neither knew of any other furs in their city, both had come partly to meet me, both met me early on at the con, and only at the end did they find out they are from the same city.
Next up was closing ceremonies. Sad, because it was the end of the con, and I had had a wonderful time. They announced the amount raised for the charity, which was a foundation to preserve and breed Mexican Wolves. They raised a bit more than $54,000 MXN which, if you convert to U.S. Dollars was a bit less than $3,000 US. Now, we in the U.S. hear that, and think that would be disappointing. Nope! Not in Mexico! That was a LOT and would go a long way. I hope the charity people cried. I love it when the charity people cry when they find out the amount raised at cons.
Attendance was announced as over 1,000.
Fox and Peppers also were there and when Fox started banging out "Cielito Lindo" on his piano, he got done playing the first line of the chorus, I recognized it, and decided to belt out the second line. I was NOT the only one. Maybe half of the attendees there sang, "CANTA Y NO LLORES!!"
Then the theme for next year was announced. Okay, this is a GREAT theme for a Mexican Furry Convention: Lucha Libre!! If you don't know what that is, it is Mexican Wrestling, it is VERY popular, and almost all of the participants wear masks. It's also a bit more acrobatic than American professional wrestling, but pretty much the same, otherwise.
I spent the rest of the evening talking, but finally had to get to bed, as I had to leave for the airport early the next morning.