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Bolivian addendum and last chance meteorites
Blaine, Blake and Chuck noted my incredibly poor mathematics in my last and
"final" message of a couple of days ago, so please consider this a
correction. As Coloradans who´s mountaineering friends are very competitive
about "altitude", they asked me to get my numbers right.
Base Camp on Huayna Potosi is at 4,700m (15,500´). As noted, mice have no
trouble breathing there.
Chuck made it to 5,970m (19,700´)- you can be sure he´s pushing for 6,000+m
today on Sajama.
The mountain we all summited on, Charquini, is 5,395m (17,800´). I shorted
everyone almost 600m on that one. High is high to me and I´m only into the
view, but that mistake was not taken lightly by my friends from Colorado.
Today´s news is that Blaine suffered a touch of food poisoning from the
"Steak Argentino" he had for dinner. Everyone here is now a little tired
from all this meteorite hustling and mountain climbing. We´ve been here for
three weeks. In my absence, another member has been added to fill out the
ropes for the Volcan Sajama climb. Stephan is a German living in Austin,
Texas working for a software company. He competed in the Paris, London and
Boston Marathon´s last year and ran a PR 2:42. He just got here and he
looks "fresh" enough to run to Peru. Good luck guys keeping up with him!
There is more news on the meteorite front. I located an artifacts dealer
who claimed to have a weapon manufactured from a meteorite. He dates the
star-shaped object at about circa 1000 and wants $120 for it. Blaine
examined it and gives it a 50-50 chance of actually being meteoric but none
of us wants to buy it to cut it up.
One of the Aymara´s is selling a smallish Tiger pelt in the "Witch´s Market"
for B120 ($20).
After Blaine, Blake´s and Chuck´s attempt on Sajama, the driver is supposed
to be taking them four-wheeling across the dry lake beds west of Oruro in a
search for a boulder-sized rock noted by a group of French Petro-scientists
a couple of years ago. They noted that a rock of that size had no business
sitting where it does and one thought that it "must be a meteorite".
An ironic conclusion to our non-productive trip to Oruro of last week
sorting through the rocks at the University´s mineral collection was that on
the bus ride home, the on-board movie (yes, in Bolivia) was "Armeggedon".
The road is so rough entering La Paz, that the driver shut down the VCR just
before the dramatic conclusion. I guess I´ll have to wait until the movie
makes HBO to see if Bruce saves the world.
Saturday is La Paz´s biggest fiesta day of the year, "The Grand Poder" with
the entire city shut down to observe a Mardi-Gras type celebration. Great
Boliviano´s must be some of the toughest people in the world. Reviewing the
literature I have and having lived the adventure, I note that they call 7 -
12 mile hikes at altitude, uphill "easy".
Sunday, I´ve hired a driver to take me into the Condiriri amphi-theater of
13 snow covered peaks ranging from 4,500 - 5,400m for some last day
trekking. A lot of people consider this area one of the world´s most
beautiful. I´m going to miss being high.
We leave for Miami via Santa Cruz Tuesday at 5AM.
Çaio, Çaio from La Paz,
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