Travel to Argentina21st January 2012
Our day began with a morning flight from Santiago (Chile) to Córdoba (Argentina). Though ours was the only international flight arrival, it nevertheless took us over an hour to reclaim baggage and clear it through customs. The local officials were putting every back through an Xray, and manually examining any that concerned them, and with the same staff working on both tasks a long wait was inevitable. Once through, it took an additional three quarters of an hour to sort out the rental car. Those attempting to repeat this trip should allow plenty of extra time in their schedule. As one of the locals commented to me subsequently, there's a half hour delay, but in this country, it could be more!
Complejo Pekos Parque Tematico21st January 2012
Pekos, formerly known as Mundo Fantastico, is a small park in the mountains on the outskirts of Córdoba. Admission is via a wristband, which includes a single ride on each of the major attractions; extra rides can be purchased individually. The majority of guests probably visit for the various shows, of which there are an impressively large number. We decided not to watch any, figuring that a working knowledge of the local dialect of Spanish would be a prerequisite to comprehension. It's worth noting that Argentinian Spanish is very different to the somewhat extremely rusty Castellano version that I studied fifteen years ago.
We'd come to the park to investigate the Montaña Rusa (#1721), a particularly odd creation that looks like it may have been manufactured in house. An exceptionally slow lift hill pulls the single train to the top in about thirty seconds, from where it is released to coast smoothly around a layout consisting of two descending helices with a small ascent between them. Passengers are treated to three full laps of the course per ride. It was interesting to see no restraints whatsoever on the cars, something I've not come across in a long time.
The on-ride photo system is worth describing. When the train is dispatched, a member of staff walks inside the ride boundaries to the base of the first helix (he's got plenty of time!) and snaps each row with a high-end digital camera. He then relocates to half way up the lift hill for the second lap, where the procedure is repeated. During the third lap, the camera is plugged into a laptop and the photos downloaded; those who wish to purchase receive prints from a connected printer. Nobody actually bought a picture while I was watching, but presumably they do sell occasionally.
The unique (and truly odd) attraction in this park, and one that we did not know about ahead of time, is the Cubo Espacial. You walk up the stairs on the right hand side, crawl through one of the tunnels in the cube, and slide back to earth from the left hand side. The crazy part is that the cube rotates slowly, causing the tunnels to go from shallow to steep to inverted. The description doesn't do the ride justice, but fortunately Tal made a video which you can view here (caution, contains swearing).
Super Park21st January 2012
We called into Super Park mainly to catch a ride on Speedy (#1722), though while there we also bought a ticket for the rather good Dark Ride, a haunted house with pretty high quality scenery. It was a bit of a shame to find the view marred by dirty plexiglas shields over each car, though it seems that these were added both to muffle screams and to prevent wayward children climbing out of the ride. Enthusiasts should be aware that Super Park doesn't open until the evening, with a start time between 17:00 and 18:00 depending on the day of the week.
Other hits of the day21st January 2012
We made two other unsuccessful park visits today. The first call was at Neverland Park Nuevo Centro, where we saw the powered coaster being test run before staff announced that it was out of order. We were also told (politely) that camera use was not allowed in this location.
The second call was at International Park in Rosario, where we got as far as sitting in the coaster with the lift hill running before we had to vacate; the operator couldn't get the station brakes to release, probably due to a failed compressor. Enthusiasts should be aware that this park operates in the evening only, with the exception of special events. It is however extremely close to a very good Holiday Inn Express, probably the best one of these I've been to; future visitors could do far worse with their overnight hotel.