Monday, August 17, 2015

Volcano shoots up ash ... and memories too

It is simply fascinating to me how visiting a country makes me so connected to that place, even though the chances of me going there again are practically nil, given that there are so many other places that I want to head to.  Thus, even though a second trip to Ecuador is no where in my horizon, I continue to follow with interest any updates I chance upon--like the news item about the volcano, Cotopaxi, that I read:
Small eruptions have already shot ash more than 5km (three miles) into the sky, spreading fine grey powder over as far as the capital 50km (30 miles) to the north.
Authorities have restricted access to the park that surrounds the volcano and barred mountaineers from climbing the snow-capped peak.
I tweeted about it.  And watched out for updates.  Thankfully, at least thus far, the volcano has stayed quiet.

Ecuador has volcanoes all over the country.  In Quito, I noticed that there were a number of boards that briefed visitors and locals alike about the many volcanoes that were not that far away from the city.  Like this one, from which one can be stunned by the number of volcanoes that can be seen on a clear day:

The mountain man that I am, I did go to Cotopaxi. 

The peak in the background is Cotopaxi.  A few minutes after I clicked that photo, the dense clouds on the right moved further and completely blocked out the peak.

I was equally excited about visiting “Taita”  (daddy) Imbabura--the photo below--and “Mama” Cotacachi.

Imbabura has snow on its peaks only every once in a while--unlike Cotopaxi, there are no permanent glaciers on top of Imbabura.  The local legends reflected my kind of humor.  When it rained in Otavalo--I went there and wrote up a bit as well--it is apparently referred to as Imbabura peeing on the valley.  And when there is snow up on Imbabura, the legend is that daddy and mama spent a night together; need I explain to you what the white snow represents in such a congress! ;)

Here's to hoping that Cotopaxi will stay quiet, and follow Imbabura's lead and be inactive.


Ramesh said...

Yes, Visiting a place makes us inexorably tied to it and I too follow closely any news about a place I've been too. Ecuador seems a lovely place - would love to go there some day. Volcano climbing maybe :)

In a place with so many volcanoes, obviously people are living with some risk. The time scales in which volcanoes may erupt are probably millennial and so when such time horizons are placed for risk, humans tend to completely discount them. Its like the chance of a major asteroid hit. That is certain, but the time scale of the risk is in millions of years. So we completely discount it, when a program to monitor and catch the risk early costs only a fraction of what we spend in trying to annihilate each other.

Sriram Khé said...

Ecuador is a lovely place, with wonderful people. Their president's politics will make you puke though ;)

Yes, we humans are so attracted to nuking each other and we spend gazillions on it :(

Anne in Salem said...

On Friday, I was talking to a man on the farm about Central and South American politics. More accurately, he was talking, I was absorbing. He is no fan of many of the governments, Ecuador included.

Ramesh, perhaps more important than the fortunes spent on annihilating each other, the cost of detection systems for natural disasters or early warning systems is a fraction of the rescue, recovery, and clean up costs. And that does not consider the human toll. Consider the economic impact of Ebola. The countries lost huge portions of their labor force and their consumers. It will take decades to recover.

Sriram Khé said...

Other than Costa Rica, no country in Central/South America has any good governance and politics to applaud ... the curse of the Iberian colonialism, which has screwed up those societies forever it seems. As much as I hate the White supremacists that the British were in their empire building, they were the best of the worst of them all--the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Belgian, French were all way worse in how they treated their respective colonies ...

And, yes, Ebola vaccine and earthquake warning systems are all nothing but the proverbial an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But then we live to exemplify that other proverb: penny wise, pound foolish!!!

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