Is that true? It is true. It would be less terrifying if I wasn’t working for three of the five days before we leave, but there you have it. Some updates on our preparedness or lack-there-of:
Fundraising efforts: Well, we are partially funded which means we can head partially into the Straight of Magellan at which point they will either make us walk the plank or do dishes for the rest of the trip. OK, that is not actually how it works at all. One more quick plug: http://www.indiegogo.com/northviasouth
Brazilian Visa: Acquired. Quite easily too. I was a little surprised at how little hassle there was. The only problem was that it was a 17 day turnaround. Good thing Magda forced me not to procrastinate.
Bolivian Visa: Not Acquired. I thought this one would be tough. The website for the Bolivian consulate in New York is a bit dodgy. It turns out their instructions are too. Despite what they say you can not use a copy of your credit card to show financial viability, and you must provide a document from the NYC Police declaring you an upright citizen (I’m assuming only citizens of New York need this – but why?). A 10 day turnaround for that document alone. When I pointed out, very politely, that these things were not well documented on the English version of the Bolivian website, the kind young man told me, well, that is because it is not the official website, you see, the official website is in Spanish.
We’ll try to get mine at the border. Magda doesn’t need one because everyone loves Polish people.
Gear: We’ve put off fully gearing up so we can wait for the after-Christmas sales at REI. Magda packed her pack for the first time, giving a certain sense of reality to this whole endeavor. Seeing her wearing the big beast on her back sent a bit of a chill down mine, knowing that it meant I will be soon reunited with an old friend of mine: A comfortable, but very heavy friend.
Packing up: This is where it gets stressful. What to pack away, what to leave for the couple who are taking our place? We want to get our of their way for the most part, so we’ve put lots of stuff in our storage unit, and there will be more where that came from. Packing up also includes digital packing if that makes sense. It suddenly occurred to me that all of Magda’s business (thousands of photos from the past ten years) was saved on one giant 10 terabyte drive. The drives we moved the information from originally have all failed, one by one, leaving the Drobo™ the last drive standing. How long with that last? Especially if we leave it in the basement for a year to be molested by mice and high water. So as a last minute fix, I ran out on Christmas Eve and bought a second, 10 terabyte drive. Let me give you non-techies a notion of how much 20 terabytes is: if your 1 gb thumbdrive is a thrush, a terabyte is a pterodactyl. Now imagine 20 pterodactyls flying around your apartment. It takes several days to transfer all the information from one drive to the other just as it would to rid your apartment of prehistoric flying creatures.
But enough paleo-technical jargon.
We now proceed to panic, Magda getting more and more fed up with my absence as I pretend to pay attention during my last three days at work. Wish us luck!