[FoRK] New Orleans is Sinking

Robert Harley robert.harley
Fri Sep 2 16:03:44 PDT 2005

>What's with picking up some water and supplies in a backpack (all looted) 
>walking 60 miles today, and (owch, owch, owch) maybe 40 miles tomorrow, and
>the day after tomorrow? Or cycling, if nobody's driving you could hitch a 
>ride with? 

Eh... people who are fit and/or motivated can do a good bit more
than some assume, but others... well...

Slightly relevant (and I'm dying to talk about it anyway!):

While on holiday this summer I walked 55kms in half a day, as measured
by markers on a road/track, although actually a bit shorter due to
cutting over rough terrain from time to time, with a heavy pack
starting at 4500m-ish and up/down about 600m altitude difference
(then "talked" with hand-signals and the like with an old pock-marked
Tibetan guy and some women folk in a barn/house thingy while they
served me yak-butter tea for most of the evening; they actually had a
TV - no reception, but when the electricity came on at 9pm they put on
a DVD of Tibetan songs; only the first track worked so they kept
restarting it, and when the 'lectrics browned out a couple of times
they restarted too but it was pretty entertaining all the same). The
next day I walked most of 32kms similarly (first few on a horse-drawn
cart) much of which was uphill while throwing rocks at wild dogs to
keep them at bay.  The next day I walked ~12kms over rocks
encountering only marmots and some kind of antelopes and looked down
on an expedition of climbers, Sherpas and yaks about 500m below trekking
down the Rongphu glacier that comes off the north face of Everest.
The next day I climbed more than 1km vertically in scree, rocks,
small rock faces, snow and ice in 5 hours, encountering only a hare,
and then looked out over innumerable 7000 and 8000m peaks, plus the
ahem "elephant in the kitchen" Everest - fuck but is it big! - in
blinding sun and freezing cold.  And then literally ran back down for
most of 1.5h in a totally surreal experience - on a 40-ish degree
slope in snow and fine scree with good boots, you can jump out into
the void the land 5 yards further on and be automagically gently
decelerated and leap out again and again and again... absolutely,
absolutely amazing...

The next day I hitched a ride on the back of the motorbike in a
glorious morning full of pilgrims and subsistence farmers and cheery kids,
and then spent a chunk of the following night helping to extract a mini-bus
that I was the only passenger on from a stream bed just below a pass at
5200m with crow bars and winches.

I loved it - but to get back to the point, something like half of people
just can't do major physical effort; and New-Orleaners (if that's a term)
who are stuck deserve help rather than scathing commentary.


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