Category Archives: EXTREME

This is my commute

I am an assistant at three schools: Collège Hégésippe Hoaro (a middle school), Collège Plateau Goyaves (another middle school), and Lycée Jean Joly (a high school).  Getting to all three of them involves climbing up the steep slopes away from the beach and towards the interior.  The road you take to get there is like something from Legends of the Hidden Temple, no kidding: volcanic clifs, crumbling ruins, scary looking plant life, churning rivers, and super twisty roads.  Why take the bus when I could pretend I’m on a 90’s TV game show on my bike?!

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Filed under Bikes, EXTREME

From Crater to Crater

I’m finally on the island!  Yes, it is paradise.

I haven’t been able to write anything about my trip to Yemen (and Paris), but I’ll offer a quick summary.  Yemen is HOT.

In all seriousness, it is very, very, uncomfortably hot.  Nonetheless, I had an incredible time getting to know the city of Aden and the extinct volcanic crater in which it sits with my friend Matt, who lives there.  I hope winter comes soon for him.

And now, I have settled into the house of an English Teacher I’ll be working with for the next 7 months on the south coast of the island.  On the day of my arrival, apparently the very active volcano on the southeast coast began to rumble and the vigilance of local authorities has been heightened towards detecting possible eruptions in the near future.  Some sources are calling for an “imminent” eruption.  The last eruption was less than a year ago (in January) and lasted approximately 10 days, spewing rocks and lava here and there but not affecting life on the island at all.  This seems to be normal??  Here’s an article in French: http://www.lequotidien.re/actualites/en-direct/139118-le-volcan-bouge-encore.html

Speaking of imminent eruptions, I am reminded of the concern one of Matt’s friends in Aden expressed over social and political instability in South Yemen.  It is an unfortunate and volatile situation that hopefully will not end in violence.  In short, South Yemen was an independent country under a communist regime until unification with North Yemen in 1991.  Since then, the capital has been located in Sana’a in the north, and citizens of the south have not responded well to northern control, including a bloody civil war in 1994.  There is much more to the story that I do not know about, but recent events in the  Hawta region of the South are alarming (see NYTimes article here http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/22/world/middleeast/22yemen.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=Yemen&st=cse).  Despite all that, Matt made an interesting observation that he sees nothing on the ground there to suggest that there is any kind of building unrest.  Hopefully that is a good sign that, unlike the crater on Reunion, the crater in Yemen will remain quiet.

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Filed under EXTREME, Volcanic Eruption

When in Rome…

Sometimes its flat out PRICEY to do as the Romans do, but I floated in the Dead Sea, nonetheless.  I made it down (down, because it’s the lowest place on Earth) to the coast for a long and relaxing day at the beach after getting whisked through all the security checkpoints at the airport to obtain a tourist visa like I was some hot shot diplomat or something.  Leaving the airport, though, was a little less friendly.  Apparently I hired an “unofficial” official airport taxi to take me to the Sea, meaning he was not actually an official driver who is allowed to pick up at the airport.  I honestly knew as much Arabic as he did English, so we didn’t communicate very well to begin with, and so, well, being a tourist, I got taken advantage of a little and had to pay more than I wanted to.  All that aside, the Dead Sea was unbelievable.  Its one of those things that doesn’t disappoint.  The temperatures were pushing 110° F and the water was far more buoyant than I had even expected.  If any of you out there are life guard certified, COME BE A LIFE GUARD AT THE DEAD SEA for a summer because it’s got to be the safest swimming in the world.  (As long as there’s no trouble with Palestine on the other side.)

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Filed under EXTREME