Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 74 The Tropics

I neglected to mention on Day 70 that I crossed the Tropic of Capricorn that day and now am officially in the tropics.  It's just as hot and deserty.  The ocean is nippy, but I dip pretty regularly in the afternoons to cool off.  The air temperature hasn't been soaring, generally in the mid 20sC/80sF, and with the cool onshore breeze, it's pleasant.  Yet the intensity of the sun is unmistakable and stepping behind a dune for just a minute or two without the breeze is like stepping into an oven.  As I approached a fishing hamlet called Hornitos - little oven - I tried to imagine if the rock formations look like the typical beehive shape of the ubiquitos backyard hornos until I reached it, cut off from the breeze behind some rocks, I got the reference.  The temperature, not the rock formations garnered it its name.  I'm perpetually sunburnt - yes, nagging mothers out there, I really do use sunblock, honestly, every day - I'm just a naturally pink person,

In the sea, I've been swimming with sea lions and dolphins while the birds chatter incessantly overhead.  The guano they leave behind on the seaside rocks is ghoulish and strongly malodorous.  I'm comfortable with the birds in general, but I could do without the numerous sea vulchers who perch ever near with their ugly tiny red heads peering at me for a quick meal.  At times when the path rises high above the sea, the bleached white bones of earlier prey make them all the more eerie.  I feel them calculating how many vulchers it would take to pick up one little pink pilgrim and dash her on the rocks below.  They haven't come up with the answer yet.

Continuing northward, I should reach the border in less than two weeks and start the ascent back into the Andes.  A few challenges remain, and the heat of the afternoon desert is not least among them.  Close to 200 kilometers in the last four days, and with the lack of population here, it looks like I'll need to average 48 a day for the next three days to reach Iquique, the next proper town - that is, one with electricity and water, things lacking in the fishing hamlets. (Peru is more densely populated; I hope to recover my desired daily distances.)

A shout out to my young friends at Shaw Heights Middle School in Northglenn, Colorado who are following me this pilgrimage.  A challenge:  I crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, and ironically, the most common domestic animal I've seen has been the goat.  What's the connection?  Why is this an amusing coincidence?  Post your collective answer as a comment and we'll see how others fare.

7 comments:

ksam said...

Just happy to see you safe thus far, pink skin and all!

Sheila Phelan Wright said...


I've seen that pink look on you before. You wear it well.Nothing like a little salt water baked on the skin as you walk the desert.
Glad you are well.

jimandy said...

Following you whenever possible on google. I love when it says "Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths." It doesn't say anything about watching out for large birds of prey! They ARE ugly, aren't they!?
Agnes

Anonymous said...

HI ANNA, COMO ESTAS??? AQUI TE EXTRANAMOS MUCHO! Nadja en Denver

Anonymous said...

"Vultures" ? :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Ann... Kristin and I continue to observe an Advent season as we watch and wait for your safe journey. Your journey's notes are just as interesting as always... peace. Kevin

Amy R said...

I chuckled a little, just a little, about the watchful vultures...your English is leaving you, eh?