Category Archives: General

The Nepal Quake

Amidst the tragedy of hundreds killed, it’s had a devastating effect on Everest expeditions, as climbing season has started. Devastation in the base camp, and a lot people all right, but trapped at higher elevations. This is one hazard most hadn’t been considering when they decided to climb, though if they knew their history, they’d know that the region was due for something like this. A quake not far from this one in 1934 killed thousands.

[Update a while later]

“Since 1570, 85% of the world’s earthquake fatalities have occurred in the Alpine/Himalayan collision belt.”

[Update mid afternoon]

Here’s the latest from the WaPo.

[Update a while later]

Here’s a roundup from Buzzfeed, with several pictures from the shattered base camp.

I wonder what all those Buddhists think when they see their iconic temples destroyed like that?

[Late Sunday-morning update]

Video of the quake and avalanche at the base camp. [Warning: Bad words in multiple languages]


Anza Borrego

We spent yesterday checking out wildflowers in Henderson Canyon, then driving up to Font’s Point, over to the Salton Sea, and back through Ocatillo Wells. Today we hiked up Palm Canyon, saw a lot more flowers, birds, and desert bighorn sheep (just a couple ewes, not rams). We also discovered how out of shape we were. Recuperating now, heading back to LA tomorrow. We clearly need to do this more often.

What strikes me about these desert communities, like Borrego Springs, Salton City (also Cal City up north of Mojave) is the boundless optimism of the founders. They’re huge, with lots of roads laid out ready for building, perhaps decades out. The optimism in Salton City was expressed in the street names — Marina Blvd, Sea Isle Lane, Ocean Avenue, you get the picture. Unfortunately, in the past few years, the lake level has receded a hundred yards from the planned shoreline. It was a depressing place.

In Borrego Springs, there are a lot of wealthy new estates, with little oases of palms and and palo verde. Most of the street names are ranch brands — Tilting T, Double O, Frying Pan…

It was interesting to see a part of California I’d never explored for thirty-five years, only a couple hours away.

Off To Israel

I’m flying there tomorrow on business, back next Saturday. I’m thinking about renting a car. The rates seem pretty good (though I don’t know what the surcharges will be), and I can get supplemental insurance for $40 for the week. Anyone have any experience?

[Evening update]

OK, gotten a lot of useful feedback. Sounds like it would be manageable for me if it’s really no worse than south Florida with all the Haitians, but my new info is that they have a pretty good train system. If I were on vacation and wanting to explore, and into a terrifyingly entertaining experience, I’d definitely rent the car, but I’m there on business, and not moving around much. It looks to me like the best bet is to take a train from Ben-Gurion to Hertzlia, then a short cab to my hotel, and get around locally with cabs (and colleagues with whom I’m there on business). On Friday, my main day off, I could take train to airport to drop bag, then another to Jerusalem for sightseeing, then back to airport for flight home.