The locals use the word "Andinismo" to mean "exploring the Andes Mountains". So far our experience of the Andes has been limited to areas in close proximity to civilization.
I felt it was time to do something more, and summer was almost gone.
Following a two day scouting trip by Doodle and I a few weeks ago, Sudoku joined us this past Sunday for a three day attempt to reach the La Paloma glacier, the lesser of the two glaciers visible from downtown Santiago.
We picked the warmest sequence of days we could find, but the temperature still dropped below freezing at night where we slept.
The 20 km trail toward the glacier was quite busy on Sunday afternoon, but once night came at our base camp around 9000 feet, it would not be until midday Tuesday that we would see another human being.
It's safe to drink the water at certain places along the hike. Here's a little log of that for those interested:
The hike was hot and dusty and we had some boot problems and other difficulties with our cobbled-together gear. Fortunately, the three of us are all fairly close on shoe size right now, so we were able to swap around to mitigate the effects of boot irritations.
[Sudoku: My toes only came within about 2.5" of the end of Dad's boots, but they were pretty comfortable.]
The peaks ahead of us were amazing under light of sunset. The stars would have been great (Doodle saw five shooting stars on our scouting trip), but we had a dusk that seemed to last forever and a full moon.
Here in Chile, we've grown quite accustomed to having grazing animals around us when we slept outside in the countryside. Nonetheless, it was a bit unnerving to have horses nonchalantly grazing right up against our tent all through the night.
[Sudoku: I woke up several times to hear Dad shooing the horses away from our tent again.]
We woke feeling good on Monday morning and went for the glacier. It was clear and dry. (there was no dew on the tent.) I couldn't keep up with the kids, so I stopped about an hour short of the glacier's scree-field base and they went to the glacier without me. (And I had the camera with me. Hence no actual pictures of Paloma glacier. Sorry! Here are some.)
On the way down we had the thrill of watching a pair of soaring/gliding condors -- practically stationary in the air just above us -- as we approached one of the steepest sections of the trail.
I never saw a mouse, but I did see a hole in a bag of cheese left inside a backpack we hid in the rocks back at the camp site.
Here are some of my takeaways regarding Andinismo:
The animals we saw over 3 days: Horses, cows, snakes, lizards, mice, foxes, toads, and condors.
[Sudoku: The boys did a great job making sure we had everything we needed for the trip. They have short hair though, and weren't able to warn me about the big tangle I had by the end of our trip!]
[Doodle: Once, when we were hanging out around some small pools of red water, I noticed that it wasn't the water that was red, but that there were hundreds of tiny, red bugs, all crawling over each other.]
Dad and I have been going out every morning to ride our bikes since Sunday.
We started going out more often because a really nice bike path, wide and smooth, was recently made.
There's this long section with no stops, slightly sloped because it goes along the river. We call it the Bicibahn, named after the Autobahn in Germany.
On the way back down the bike path, I normally draft off Dad. If I can keep up with him, he'll "torque out". He has a mirror on his helmet, so he can see how I'm doing.
Early in the week, it was a little scary, but now it's fun and exciting.
Most of the time, I have to mouth-breathe to keep up with him. Sometimes I'll even get little pebbles in my mouth, thrown up by his tire.
Anyway, this morning, I was struggling to keep up with him when I thought, "I wonder how fast we're going?" I was in my top gear, and pedaling at 100-120 RPM. I was close to out-spinning my top gear.
is twice educated.
Sudoku and I are coding. She doesn't have any freelance work this morning, so she's working on some of our family projects, as am I.
Milkmaid is cleaning up around the apartment and washing the produce brought yesterday by "Wonderful Man Jr".
Carman's off work today, as usual on Saturday. He's been working from home most of the time now, but spending lots of time on the phone with his boss. His freelancing is starting to click. He got the "rising talent" status recently on one platform. But no coding for this morning; he's working out the chords for "Downeaster Alexa" on the guitar.
Rosebud just woke up and gave everyone their morning hug. Let's see ... Yup, she got bigger overnight again.
And finally, Doodle is hard at work on the farm, trying to get in his chores before the sun comes up. Yes, we're starting to do some farming, right here in the city. Doodle is doing the physical work for our top-secret pilot project and, later today, Rosebud will be doing the data collection.
And now the room begins to brighten. Here comes the sun.
Today I was in 'San Diego' (that's a neighborhood/street in Santiago) getting bike parts. At one store I bought a set of pedals, and had the following conversation with the 60-something clerk.
Clerk: Where are you from?
Me: Where do you think I'm from?
Clerk: Talk a bit.
Me: I moved to Santiago four years ago with my family. I started...
Me: United States.
Wow! I pass for a Latin American foreigner!
The taxi battles are in full swing here in Santiago, including mass protests and even violence against some Uber drivers and, in a few cases, riders. What follows is an editorial from La Tercera (from around April 16th) that does a good job of capturing some of the nuances of the situation.
AGRESIONES A CONDUCTORES DE UBER
La ciudadania ha sido fuertemente impactada por las imagenes de taxistas agrediendo a conductores de la empresa Uber. Algunos de los casos reportados dan cuenta de altos niveles de violencia y amedrentamiento, que incluso han alcanzado a los propios pasajeros de estos servicios. Se trata de hechos inaceptables, respecto de los cuales se ha extranado una actitud de mayor firmeza por parte de la autoridad, la que se ha limitado a condenar el vandalismo.
No resulto apropiado que el ministro de Transportes calificara inicialmente de "piratas" a este tipo de vehiculos, porque con ello enlodo injustamente la imagen de estas empresas y dio pie para cuestionamientos que previsiblemente podian derivar en violencia. Es saludable que con posterioridad haya templado sus juicios y se abriera a buscar una regulacion para estos nuevos servicios. Pero frente al vandalismo el gobierno no puede ser indeferente, y cabe dar senales nitidas de que la integridad de la ciudadania no esta en entredicho. En tal sentido, es indispensable preservar el principio de que la protesta legitima no puede confundirse con la violencia.
El gremio de los taxistas debe asumir que este nuevo tipo de servicios basados en aplicaciones de ultima generacion, con un modelo de flotas flexibles y de altos estandares, con tarifas competitivas, no se podra detener, porque responde genuinamente a demandas de la ciudadania que el actual sistema no logra satisfacer. Su actitud amenazante de que estas aplicaiones "deben ser dadas de baja" en tanto no se alcance una solucion que las regule, solo contribuye a su propio desprestigio. La discusion debe orientarse hacia la apertura del parque de taxis y la incorporacion de las nuevas tecnologias que faciliten el servicio de transporte. Cualquier diferencia o reproche debe ser canalizado por las vias institucionales, ya sea ante el Ministerio o ante los tribunales.
Aggression Toward Uber Drivers
The citizenry has been heavily impacted by the images of taxi drivers assaulting Uber drivers. Some of the reported cases include high levels of violence and intimidation, and have even been directed toward the passengers of these services themselves. These are unacceptable acts, for which is needed an attitude of greater firmness by the authority, which has been limited to condemning the vandalism.
It was not appropriate that the Minister of Transport would initially qualify as "pirates" these type of drivers, because this unfairly muddies the image of these companies and gave rise to questions that likely could lead to violence. It is healthy that the government subsequently has tempered its judgments and is open to seek a regulation for these new services. But against vandalism government can not be indifferent, and it should give sharp signals that the integrity of citizenship is not in question. In this regard, it is essential to preserve the principle that legitimate protest can not be confused with violence.
The union of taxi drivers must assume that this new type of application-based service, with a model of flexible fleet and high standards, with competitive rates, will not be able to be stopped, because it responds genuinely to citizen demands that the current system fails to satisfy. The union's threatening attitude, that these services "must be written off" as a solution, only contributes to their own discredit. The discussion should be oriented towards the taxi park opening and integration of new technologies that facilitate the transport service. Any difference or blame should be channeled through institutional channels, either to the Ministry or to the courts.
Doodle and Rosebud just love to sing, so I'm trying to work hard to stay ahead of them and feed them new music. This morning I thought of a very singable old song about an old turtle that the older kids really liked when they were that age, but I couldn't find the lyrics anywhere, so here they are:
Make a World to make Old Turtle Smile, by Douglas Wood
A breeze upon the lake helps make the world
A falling snowy flake helps make the world
A butterfly, floating by, helps make the world
A tall and growing tree helps make the world
A golden humming bee helps make the world
and every dream you dream helps make the world.
Every time we care, we make the world
Every time we share, we make the world
With every helping hand, we make the world
When we try to understand, we make the world
If we could only see we make the world
It's up to you and me to make the world
Maybe we can make a world to make old turtle smile
A river flowing clean helps make the world
A meadow growing green helps make the world
a falling star, falling far, helps make the world
a yellow harvest moon helps make the world
a summer afternoon helps make the world
and every laugh you laugh helps make the world
And every time we care we make the world
with every hug we share we make the world
with every helping hand we make the world
when we try to understand we make the world
if we could only see we make the world
it's up to you and me to make the world
Maybe we can make a world to make old turtle smile
But every lie that's lied, every lonely tear that's cried
makes the world more tired and weary, makes the world more sad and dreary
And every war that's started makes the world more brokenhearted
We have a special calling, you and i, to hold the light of love up high
So please remember you help make the world
and everything you do helps make the world
and everything you are helps make the world
Every song you sing helps make the world
It's not an easy thing to make the world, but...
You and I, and the birds that fly
You and I, and the stars up high
You and I, and old turtle, help make the world.
Here's another piece of music that's a lot longer. ~4min long.
This one, Growth, has three parts, whereas The Storyx only had two.
Hope you like it!
I think this is my favorite piece of music I've written so far. Before, I was writing by hand. It was very slow, and it was hard to do more than one or two notes at a time, because all I had for playing the music was Carman's recorder. I could play arpeggio chords (one note at a time), but it was hard to get something that really sounded good.
That was before I went over to the King padpad. Sorry for the name, but it is the real name. It was a typo. Then, we got the Ensemble Composer app. You can make music on it, as many parts as you like, then you can play it.
Here's my favorite one, The Storyx: