Friday, May 25, 2007

Cerro Blanco

Couldn’t think of a more appropriate title. Yes, I realize that my life has been turned upside down for the past few months and I’ve written very little. Maybe I’ll catch up.

Talk about some of the many books that I’ve read (mostly self help/marriage/relationship-type books). Maybe I’ll write about work, selling my company, my new job. Maybe I’ll write about living at my Mom’s house for 3 months. Maybe I’ll write about my two trips to Florida or the VERY exciting trip to Ely, Nevada.

Anyhow, I’m sitting here smack in the middle of Asunción Mita. A small village in Guatemala not far from the borders of Honduras and El Salvador. I’m here on assignment giving some expert advice to the client on constructing a groundwater dewatering model for a 3+ billion dollar gold mine about to be dug. This is my first trip to this part of the world. It is nice to be able to speak Spanish and communicate with these folk. I flew in yesterday and spent the night in Guatemala City (the capitol). We stayed in what’s called Zone 10. As long as we didn’t venture out of that zone we were okay. I learned that more killings/murders per capita take place in Guatemala City than any other place in the world. Great!

I went for my morning run listening to Mika cranked up. It was fun and I got lots of stares from the locals. I was careful to “stay within the zone”. It cracked me up the number of armed security people/police at every building parking lot. After meeting some folks at the Euro Plaza building, we headed out to Ascension of course stopping at McDicks for breakfast. By the way, zone 10 was full of usual eateries like TGI Fridays,

Applebees, Subway, and the like. Instead of staying at the Intercontinental I stayed at the Best Western sorry you don’t have internet in your room. Darn!

The road (the remains of the old Pan American highway) was pretty much uneventful.
We stopped at a very nice, clean 24 hour service station (owned by one of the drug lords).
I got a Gatorade and a bag of dried plantains. Tasty!

We arrived in Ascension, checked e-mail and met a few folks before heading out to the mine site. It’s pretty cool out here in the middle of nowhere. Lots of dormant volcanoes all around. The weather was a nice 100+ with humidity in the 80% range. Not too bad. We drove around taking pictures, look at some of the monitoring wells and core hole sites and watching some workers at one of the drill sites.

The hill where they plan mine (underground) is basically a big rock. They just have to pump the water out as they dig. For some reason, it is easier for the miners to work if the mine shafts aren’t full of water. Hello! Have they not heard of scuba diving? Anyhow, the temperature of the water might be part of the problem. The temp ranges anywhere from 120 to over 180 degrees. Not a pleasant experience to come in contact with. In order for the mining operation to work, after the water is pumped out of the ground, the rock must be refrigerated to cool it down before removing it. Pretty funky stuff. Nearby the area that they want to mine, the water is closer to 300 degrees and that’s good enough for geothermal activity/power generation.

Anyhow, here I sit in my room. I’m in kind of one of those hacienda types. The shower and toilet are outside a couple of dozen steps from my room. There is a nice hammock outside my room where I sat and read for a bit. It’s hot but bearable. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. We are supposed to start at 6:30 so I’ll have to get up before that if I’m going to run through the cobble streets of Asunción.

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