Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My first time in Fenway Park

For those who don't know me, and probably most who do know me, this may come as a surprise: I am a big baseball and Boston Red Sox fan. How I came into that, being Israeli and all, is a story for another day. Today I'm writing about my first trip to Fenway Park, where the Red Sox have been playing their home games for almost 100 years. I'm not gonna waste too much time explaining stuff or reporting what happened in the game except my experiences, so if you know nothing about baseball or the Red Sox, or didn't watch this game, this might be confusing or uninteresting. Then again, maybe not. Who knows?

Monday, September 14, 2009

FTTN: Futaleufu- trip economics

The incredible ease with which I spent 120$ on the rafting trip in Futaleufu (especially considering that when I was first told it would be 80$ I said “no way I'm doing that”) is part of the trip economics. You're sometimes frugal on ridiculous things, often foregoing the most basic comforts (easy examples: spending 5 hours sleeping on the floor of Aeroparque airport in Buenos Aires to avoid paying for a hostel before my 6am flight; choosing the bed on the low gallery over the common room in the hostel in El Calafate to save 5 pesos, and losing at least 3 hours of sleep because people were playing cards under me; sleeping in the plaza or in parks several times) and then drop 120$ for a one-time, 3-hour experience. In a sense it's logical- eating, sleeping and transportation are routine, continuous occurences, and represent the bulk of your expenses. Saving small each time ends up being a major swing upwards in your remaining budget. And the one-time expenditures are exactly that: unique and one-time-only. And why are you traveling, if not to have new and unique experiences you wouldn't have had otherwise. It's hard to come to a place that is purportedly “one of the three best places to do something” and not do it, especially when you do have the money. For example, I regretted not spending the 250 pesos for the 8-hour glacier boat tour in Los Glaciares National Park for a long time.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Aysen Region- End of Feb. 2008 (2nd part)

The day after we came back from the trek, we continued up the Carretera Austral, into Coyhaique. Coyhaique is a surprisingly big city in the middle of the Aysen Region. It has around 50000 inhabitants, a couple of big-ass supermarkets, traffic lights, a big central plaza, ice cream places. Even after being told "it's a pretty big city. Much bigger than you would expect", we didn't expect it. Especially not after 4 straight towns where you could count the number of families even if you don't know what a hundred means.
I think we were caught off guard, and didn't quite know how to deal with Coyhaique. I'm not really sure what we even did there besides internet, window shopping (jeje) and eating ice cream. We were also staying with an especially apathetic (should I say passive aggressive?) family in the hospedaje (in the Aysen Region there were barely any hostels, it's mostly families who rent out rooms in their house by the night. I should write more about that later...) our first night, so we didn't enjoy it that much. But just the fact that there's a city in that setting, so cut off from the rest of Chile (the only way to get to Coyhaique without a boat/ferry ride is through Argentina) was a cool thing to see.

FTTN: The Cerro Castillo trek- does hard mean good?

Let us begin with this question: do I go trekking for the challenge? The surroundings and views? The fun of being outdoors? I would say the challenge is last on that list. But you have to wonder...
The Cerro Castillo trek, besides being in a beautiful area and the pleasant company I did it with, was also made more fun by the complications and the hardship, not to mention the danger. And I should add to the pot the fact that it's less traveled (I'd like to say that's important only because of the quiet and aloneness and ability to do whatever you want, but let's face it- the desire to be different plays a part) and you've got probably the best trek I've done.
But the complications, the badly marked trails, the places where you just identify the destination and walk there in whatever way seems right to you, Ohad's fall into the river and the rock that rolled down from behind me are all things that added to the trek. Part of that is the solitude, the distance from the “real” world, and the wild and untamed feeling (after all, the tamed quality of the Torres Del Paine National Park bothered me). But a meaningful part of it was that it was hard.
The fact that danger attracts and excites us needs no stating or explaining- it's obvious and probably scientifically proven. But if you ask me, I don't trek to conquer, succeed and prove myself, but quite the opposite: I love the feeling of being small and powerless against nature's great forces. So where does the attraction to hardship come from, if not from competitiveness?
I guess it's another question to open and probably never close...