My uncle David took me to a camping store this evening, called EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports), where I got myself a lovely new tent. I purchased the Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1, a compact 1-person dome tent that's suitable for backpacking trips. It's quite light, and it's also meant to be durable and waterproof. Also got myself one of those funky self-inflating sleeping mats; and a new compass and flashlight (as I lost my old ones). To find out why I bought a tent, and what I'm going to be doing with it, stay tuned for my upcoming adventures in Europe :P.
When I met John and Matt, back at DrupalCon Sunnyvale in March, they were still in the final stages of writing Pro Drupal Development. But now it's out. And there's no doubt at all: this is the book on Drupal. It's so good, it even scored a Slashdot review (and that's no small feat). This book really does have everything the professional Drupal developer needs to know. Pereonally, I like the final chapters most (on security and performance), and I'm confident that they'll be a reference asset to me for years to come. Got the book today in Boston, as it will undoubtedly be more expensive back home than it is here in the USA.
Picked up this cheesy pair of chef's fashion accessories at the San Telmo market this afternoon. The apron has a little boy-and-girl cartoon couple drawn on it. The hat has "Argentina" proudly embossed on its brim, and is about ½ a foot high when puffed up fully. This purchase may not make me a better cook; but at least I'll now look the part. Will be mandatory uniform, for next time I'm cooking the steaks at a Sunday BBQ. Now, who ordered medium-rare? :P
At about 5:30pm this afternoon, I realised that Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) was starting in about an hour's time, and that I had no decent shirt to wear for it. I had a half-decent shirt — but even that was off getting washed. So I madly rushed around town, looking for a clothes shop and a nice white shirt. Managed to find myself something: not exactly my style, but it fits OK, and it's white, and it'll do for celebrating the New Year in.
Home-made chocolates are a famous regional speciality of Bariloche. Although Argentina in general is not known for having great chocolate, this part of the country is an exception. This afternoon, I treated myself to two boxes of the stuff from Mamuschka, one of the finest chocolate boutiques in town. I managed to preserve one box, but the other one was devoured by the Patanuk crew for dessert this evening.
This big, furry, Russian-style gorro (lit: "beanie") was purchased this morning, due to my previous beanie's whereabouts being unknown. I tried it on the slopes today, for my final day of snowboarding, and I can attest that it is very warm. Quite stylish, as well. The emblem on the front reads: "Patagonia Argentina" (Patagonia is the name of the region encompassing southern and Andean Argentina).
Santiago is hardly the ideal place in Latin America to buy yourself a new camera. But for the past 40 hours or so — since my camera got nicked in Quito — I've had no camera. And if you just continue straight on in your travels, without getting yourself a new camera: well, then the robbers have really won, haven't they? Because there's nothing more precious than the memories of a great trip. And so, despite the unfavourable buyer's market in this part of South America, I went out and got myself a new toy this afternoon.
I woke up this morning, to find Otavalo completely transformed. Outside my hostel was a market. Down the street was more market. In fact, the entire town had been converted into one giant, sprawling, souvenir-riddled market! So the rumours were true: it is indeed a big deal, here in Otavalo on Saturday. And since this was my last full day in Ecuador, and in the Central Andes as a whole, it was time to embark on a serious splurge of souvenir and present shopping. I now have a very overstuffed bag, and a rather lean pocket.
I tried some of these delicious gourmet Ica chocolates on this morning's wine and pisco tour. They were so good, I just had to buy some! Got a few gift packages, to send home — to whom, I'm not yet sure. But boy, do they melt in your mouth. Clearly, Ica is the place to go, if you want all things nice and tasty from Peru.
Since my camera got stolen yesterday, it was top-priority that I got myself a new one today. Luckily, Arequipa is one of those cities that has a great black market (although it's not as good as some), where you can get yourself a brand-new digicam for quite a bit less than ye 'ol RRP. The Canon PowerShot SD630 (called the "IXUS 65" in Europe, Australia / NZ, and elsewhere) is a great 6MP, 3x optical zoom camera, with a beautiful big bright screen, and great photo-taking abilities: so far, seems to be working great, and seems to be a big step up from my stolen baby.