Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Turtle recursion

It uses push and pop and is possibly a more general solution than TA's built in sample because you dont need to know the result of each recursion's calculations to restore each recursion's local variable.


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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chile Patagonia strike

I am told that only a handful of tourists remain in the region and that the Chilean government are moving troops into the area.

El Calafate and El Chalten in Argentina accommodation is fully booked. Many tourists need to use public buses to make ongoing connections. Most cafes and hotels require cash, ATM's are mostly out of cash..

Getting out of Chile was the right choice, its going to turn nasty.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Red Cross evacuates Chilean Patagonia

Chilean army maintains order at evacuation centre

Loading buses at Red Cross evacuation centre

Saturday, the planned evacuation of Puerte Natales, scheduled for 3pm finally was underway about 10 pm. There were around 1000 tourists at the evacuation centre bound for Puenta Arenas in Chile and El Calafate in Argentina.

Both destinations were to be by air, Puenta Arenas by Chilean airforce and El Calafate by commercial flights. We did see one flight arrive and were told that it was bringing in a plane load of police and evacuating a plane load of tourists. There were only two buses at the evacuation centre for the airport and I would estimate that only half of the 400 or so destined for Puenta Arenas departed by 10pm.

There was some problem with the flights to el Calafate and the evacuation was by road convoy. There were 3 large buses and 3 small, a capacity round 180 only for 700 tourists. Boarding was based on need and the army was used to maintain order (see photo). There was some issue with the first bus which presumably carried those in greatest need and it did not depart with the others.

The convey did depart at 10pm reaching El Calafate at 3am Sunday. We passed about 6 buses on the road north from Puerte Natales but it was unclear whether they were returning from Torres Del Paine or Argentina and whether they were empty. It is likely that this provided sufficient capacity to evacuate the tourists waiting at the centre.

It is likely that the strategy was to clear the hotels and hostels in Natales so that Torres Del Paine could then be evacuated. Walkers returning from del Paine reported poor conditions there, food shortages, overcrowded refugios and unsanitary toilets.

Those walking the last 5km into Puerto Natales, Saturday morning

Red Cross give instructions, names are called and the lucky walk through the line of troops to the waiting buses (Sat afternoon)

Saturday morning, strikers at the road block north of Puerto Natales

Saturday morning, roadblock on minor road to Puerto Borries

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Red Cross evacuates tourists from Patagonia

Red Cross centre at Puerto Natales school

Red Cross has organised the evacuation of stranded tourists in Patagonia. Flights are leaving the airport at 3pm. The roads will be open from 3-5pm today.

Hotels in El Calafate in nearby Argentina are fully booked.

Tourists are registering at the Red Cross centre at the Natales school. Interestingly, my passport was stamped as exiting Chile so now I am in limbo.

I talked with the strikers at one of the checkpoints. Apparently, the government had proposed a 20% increase in gas prices initially but had offered to settle at 3% or CPI but the strikers rejected that offer. The strike is led by a loose coalition of industry associations including taxi drivers and fishermen.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Patagonia Puerto Natales

The strike continues. Nothing is going in or out from Chilean Patagonia. The food shortage gets worse, the bar has run out of peanuts.

Wednesday night there was black smoke over the city from burning tyres. Thursday night there were 4-6 fires. We passed one checkpoint, burning tyres and a car blocked half the road. We were let past, maybe they knew our driver.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Chile Patagonia strike

The extinct megafauna Miladon carries the protest flag

Chileans in Patagonia are striking in Patagonia over increases in the price of natural gas. Apparently the subsidy is being reduced/eliminated and this will create hardship for people in a cold climate and a poor area.

I am in the city of Puerto Natales and hemmed in by roadblocks. There are two routes to Torres del Paine National Park with at least 3 roadblocks between Natales and the NP. I visited two of the roadblocks today and strikers are in good spirits but less exuberant than yesterday. There is no blockade at the jetty in town but no boats are arriving or leaving. The jetty 1km north has a roadblock

Many shops and homes display black flags of support, typically garbage bags. Many cars too.

The blockade started Tuesday midnight, really a little before, we arrived 11pm Tuesday night and strikers were letting traffic through every 15 minutes or so. Wednesday morning some shops and banks opened but by midday they were closed again. Many really still trading but you had to knock on the door to get in or go to the back door. A pharmacy was trading with the window protected by shut roller shutters and a very nervous security guard on the door. Wednesday afternoon they were nearly all shut but by Thursday open again.

Hikers are being allowed back from Torres Del Paine NP but have to walk the 17km between roadblocks. Food shortages are starting, the hotel is out of diet coke and orange juice. We have heard that conditions are harder in the national park. Apparently, Red Cross have set up a shelter in the NP.

I have been told that two died at a trafficblock at Puenta Arenas yesterday in a traffic accident and that the city has no bread.

A government representative has just held a public meeting for tourists. He urged calm and suggested that tourists talk calmly to the strikers explaining their hardships as a way to help resolve the strike.

The impression is that the number of roadblocks is being increased.