ayans and Monkeys



Nov 20, 2003
April 17, 2004


What and where is this?

Another hard one for you. It is so long since we updated our web site that most of you won't guess even in general where we are. And then it was only at the last minute — well actually, it was 47 minutes before — that we even decided on this excursion. We did enjoy it.

As we write this it is a year and a day since we left New Jersey for the last time. We gave up our Arlington, VA, apartment on March 1, 2003 and travelled north where we saw friends in New Jersey and New York for a week.

And we made car repairs. We had bought the car for $750 and added another $600 in tires and tie rods while in New Jersey. Since then the car has held up very well, getting very good gas mileage (30-34 mpg depending on conditions). Our two main problems have been a suspension not up to Mexican pot-holes and topes (speed bumps) and an underpowered engine given the many mountains we have driven through. We improved on the suspension problem by getting new rear springs and shocks in late December. That and numerous other minor repairs have added about another $600 in repairs, so the total cost of the car, so far, excluding gasoline, insurance, and other paperwork, is about $1950 or $2000.

In the last week we passed the 23,000 mile point in our use of the car (and brought the total since it was new in 1995 to about 124,000 miles.) Another 1000 miles (which we will do before getting to Panama) will bring the total to 24,000, equivalent to a trip around the earth's equator.

Expenses divided by mileage gives cost per mile. The capital cost thus has been about 8 cents a mile. Gasoline has averaged about 6 cents per mile, giving a total of 14-15 cents per mile. This should be compared to bus transport which in the USA would have cost 20-30 cents/mile for two and in Mexico about 12-15 cents/mile for two. On the bus side should be added some taxis, etc, which we have not had to pay. On the car side should be added all of the places we have been that we would have skipped had we not had the car. Conclusion: the car was a very good idea.

Gerry's new camera is working well. As of today he has taken just over 10,000 pictures with it since it arrived in Texas in mid-November. Gerry is very profligate but the story is not quite as bad it it would seem. First, the cost is so low, why not? Because the camera is digital there is no out of pocket expense in taking pictures. About4000 pictures can be stored on a DVD (both of our laptops write DVDs — but Gerry has hardly written a single DVD yet) at a cost of about $2.00. Second, all the photos aren't really "photos." Some are taken to be thrown away: two or three lighting conditions are tried. In museums and archeological sites Gerry takes a picture of signs that relate to and will later help identify the main picture. As to "real" pictures, he does take 2, 3, 4, or even more pictures of the same thing , from different angles. So you can really divide the total by 4 or 5 and get about 1800-2000 pictures in a normal sense. That's only about 20 a day — not so much is it?

March 9, 2004

Pun of the day: A backward poet writes inverse.