Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mysterious Disappearing Lake

Thanks, Sara D. for this article. I will have to investigate this while I am in Chile. Ummm, should I be worried about the "thousands of minor tremors" in southern Chile this year??

Missing: Large lake in southern Chile
Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:44PM EDT

SANTIAGO (Reuters)
- A lake in southern Chile has mysteriously disappeared, prompting speculation the ground has simply opened up and swallowed it whole.

The lake was situated in the Magallanes region in Patagonia and was fed by water, mostly from melting glaciers. It had a surface area of between 4 and 5 hectares (10-12 acres) -- about the size of 10 soccer pitches.

"In March we patrolled the area and everything was normal ... we went again in May and to our surprise we found the lake had completely disappeared," said Juan Jose Romero, regional director of Chile's National Forestry Corporation CONAF.

"The only things left were chunks of ice on the dry lake-bed and an enormous fissure," he told Reuters.

CONAF is investigating the disappearance. One theory is that the area was hit by an earth tremor that opened a crack in the ground which acted like a drain. Southern Chile has been shaken by thousands of minor earth tremors this year.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Ends of the Earth

"So I'm going to Patagonia." A friend of mine, familiar with my shopping habits, told me not to spend too much when I told her the news during a mid-day, bored-at-work Gchat conversation.

"But you went a couple grand into debt during your 6-month travels in Australia and Asia," I said. "You told me it was totally worth it, too!" That's when I realized she thought I meant the outdoors store in Georgetown.

No, this Patagonia is more than just a short walk away from my humble (decrepit) t
ownhouse up on T Street. Far from our nation's capitol, Punta Arenas, where I'm 90% sure I will be assigned to teach English for the next few months, is the southernmost city in the world, located on the Strait of Magellan and near Tierra del Fuego and the arctic circle. If you have a minute, see

As if buying my plane ticket wasn't official enough, last Friday, I handed in my resignation at work, my last day scheduled for July 10th (leaving me 10 days to move entirely out of Georgetown, and then turn around and pack my life into a suitcase and hop aboard a plane).

In any case, with Monday's imbezzler still at-large and my anxious co-worker having resigned on Wednesday, I thought I'd be walking into a mine-field. To my surprise, my decision was remarkably well-received and many of the women who I work with, most of whom are around my mother's age, offered much-appreciated encouragement and support of my decision to go and live my life before other responsibilities reared their ugly heads.

This, by the way, was contrary to the reaction of my own panic-stricken mother for whom no place, outside of my very-own childhood bedroom, is close enough to home. But who knows... depending on how broke I am after my frivolous year-of-travel, I may just end up right where she wants me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Final Straw

Hello all, and greetings from behind the scenes of my 501(c)(3) charitable organization, i.e. nonprofit, aka "the zoo". Today marks a monumental occasion. As I made my way into the office Monday morning-- the start of another long and painstaking week, I felt a strange sense of foreboding. After all, I had walked past a fellow employee and a cop taking down a license plate number in the parking lot only moments after stepping out of my car, but did not think too much of it.

I was no more than two steps in the front entrance when I was informed that, once again, our computer servers were down due to a bolt of lightning over the weekend, so instead of checking email and killing time, I spent the first hour of the morning listening to my anxiety-ridden co-worker gripe about the shortcomings of our IT department. She had only just begun her all-out verbal attack on the IT department and how the Internet issue reflects the major problems of the organization as a whole, when a co-worker from upstairs rushed into her office and quickly shut the door behind him.

Shortly after, I was walking by the front entrance of the building. I looked outside to see a scene unfolding that was strikingly reminiscent of the Badlands. Construction men had taped off a bunch of areas of our brick atrium with yellow "Do Not Enter" tape, and their drilling had stirred up a thick smog of dirt, which was blowing around in the heat of the intense mid-morning sun. Through the dirt cloud and drill noises, I saw our HR lady emerge, marching toward the entrance with two uniformed police men in tow. "Very strange," I thought. But left it at that and returned to safe glow under the fluorescent lights of my cubicle.

Moments later my anxious co-worker informed me that the commotion was over our Grants Coordinator who had been caught imbezzling $8000 from the organization and had fled the building before the police could arrest her. She had, however, left her car in the lot, which explains the cop I saw taking down the license plate earlier in the morning.

With no further ado, I logged on to and booked myself a plane ticket to Chile. That's right, friends. Today was the final straw... the breaking point in this god-forsaken office life. Life has begun anew and I am now officially flying into Santiago on July 21st!!!

I wanted to share the news and the highly amusing unfolding of events surrounding it with you all, and also wanted to let you all know that I'll be traveling for 3 weeks (Dec-1-20) after my program is over and I encourage anyone and everyone to join me in my adventures.