Saturday, May 16, 2009

Another "Miss"-Adventure, and why I'm busy these days

A "miss"-adventure: missing the chance to see something important by mis-scheduling, missing a turnoff, getting rained or snowed out. One more story explains the lack of blogging for a bit.

In 2003, I was casting about for another international trip, and settled on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. The company offering the tour had a great line-up of sites, even though it was not directly geology-related. It was really expensive, since a company's gotta make a profit, after all, but how could one beat a tour of both islands of New Zealand (only missed the glaciers, a big "only"), BUT, once in Australia, we would see the Blue Mountains (pictured above), a north Australian rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, and as a grand climax, we would fly to the interior of the Outback, and see the greatest inselberg in the world: Uluru, or Ayer's Rock. What a great way to end the adventure...

We got 35 students together a year in advance, got several thousand dollars of non-refundable deposits, paid the company and looked forward to our adventure. The trip material arrived a few months later, and...presto! Uluru was gone from the schedule, with no explanation. The company barely had e-mail, and an explanation was days in coming, having to do with airlines changing their schedules and bureaucratic difficulties and would you like a few days in Fiji instead?

So, non-refundable deposits have a reason. Sucker that I am, we continued on the trip, and despite many management problems from the lousy company, our students had a good time, and we did see a lot. But who knows when or if I will ever have a chance to see the Olga Rocks and Uluru?

What's the moral? If you want to see everything you want to see on an overseas field trip, well, you have to plan and conduct it yourself. Thus, the spotty blogging. I'm leaving on a field trip in a few weeks to the Hawaiian Islands (three of them), and I am running the trip myself, with the help of some gracious volunteers. It's a lot more work, but it will be a great deal cheaper, and we will be able to see everything that is great about the island's geology.


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