Saturday, January 14, 2012

Stuff (generally Chile / Peru)

-I want one of the CONAF guardaparque’s sun hats.  I don’t like sun hats generally because they usually seem floppy, with too much cloth (and they’re naff).  But the CONAF guys have these nice, straightforward caps with a simple neck/ear covering.

-Everyone in this area apparently gets the same car alarm.  They all have the same sound.  They all have the characteristic of being very, very sensitive.  When we got our truck, I touched the roll-bar in the bed and the alarm went off.  When we were coming home, we were waiting for the sun to rise at the Lima airport, and there was the sound through the window: "Bee Boo Bee Boo, Booooooooooooooooip Boooooooooooooop, Naaah Nahh Naaah Nah, BRR BRR BRR BRR BRR BRR BRR BRR...."  Catherine instinctively got up to go turn it off.

-Speaking of waiting, we were in Tacna for a seven-hour layover.  Catherine saved us some money by having us cross into Peru and then fly from Tacna.  However, crossing into Peru meant a new time zone, moving us two hours back.  Plus we didn’t really know how simple the crossing would be – it’s simple.  So here we were in the proverbial one-horse town waiting for the sun to set.  But the time went quickly.  Which reminds me of a recent read – “Traffic,” by Tom Vanderbilt.  In the book, he explains that defined waits seem shorter than undefined waits.  So we have a defined wait, albeit long.

The book starts slow, but then gets into some relatively interesting material about the nature of safety - do we want roads that forgive unsafe driving (interstate), or roads that encourage safe driving (village road)?  Also some insights on how much thought (or not) is going into road construction worldwide.  Yes this was on my mind with the A-11 altiplano construction madness.

-And then speaking of waiting again, we were in Miami for four hours (the total trip home was as follows - Arica to Tacna in a collectivo cab, including the border crossing, then seven-hours in Tacna, flight to Lima, six hours in Lima, flight to Miami, four hours in Miami, flight to Denver - it took us I think about 40 hours total, or the second-longest trip of my life [but hey we saved a few hundred dollars]).  The Miami airport was an interesting study - we got to watch various travel-zombies in our little corner of concourse D having similar experiences.  We were sitting there, numbed out from travel, and I look across at another couple, even more numbed out from travel.  The woman held a piece of cookie in her hand for several minutes before eating it.  Both sunburned.  I'm sure they had a good story.

-I think my post with the most views is on the La Sportiva Raptor shoe - which I wrote as a bit of a joke on gear reviews.  Serves me right.  Out of spite, I brought them to Chile, expecting to destroy them and perhaps leave them down here.  Nope - they're tough, wonderful shoes.  In fact, I can't think of a better shoe to scramble around 5,000 meter slopes measuring llareta plants all day.  They don't even smell bad.  In particular, they have a very precise fit - after a year, I still have to untie them to get them on.  Which is great for rocky slopes and scrambling - not so great for regular running.  In any case, the Raptors live on (and maybe I'll get a few hundred hits now on this post).

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