A disgruntled librarian packs it up and leaves fabulous New York City behind,
going on random global adventures,
while simultaneously promoting literacy
and spreading the love of the written word.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

exploding toiletries

it seems as though being up at this altitude, and having 40% less oxygen than normal, has strange effects on many things.  first off, the bolshevik and i seem to get tuckered out pretty quickly.  usually we have lots of get-up-and-go, but after walking up hill for about 30 seconds, we get rather tired.  and this tiredness hits really quickly, like as though one minute you're fine and then the next minute you're kind of tipsy and goofy.  but we were prepared for this and have been drinking lots of water and partaking in the coca candy (we found a toffee version!  so yummy!), and i feel like we are almost back to normal now.

but one thing we did not expect was the effect that this altitude would have on our toiletries.  the first day we had walked around for a while, and we decided to take a break in the shade so that the bolshevik could put on sunblock.  he is a pale one, you know.  i was minding my own business when all of a sudden i hear the bolshevik mutter a stream of curse words, and then i notice a suspicious white liquid had splattered all over my sneaker as well as all over the ground.  my first thought was that a large pre-incan bird had shat on us.  but then i look over to the bolshevik and see that his sunblock was errupting on us, much in the style of a school science fair volcano.

now, i have seen this happen to stuff when you take it on a plane and then it somehow has to depressurize or something.  but this is way worse, there's a serious amount of force involved.  we do not exactly understand the science behind the phenomenon, but every time i open one of my toiletries for the first time i forget to point it away from me, and this happens all over again.  so far i have errupted sun block, shampoo, and facial moisurizer on myself.  we cannot help but wonder why there are no warning about this in our guidebooks.


  1. You should have listened to all your science teachers when they were trying to teach you about air pressure! Did you know that the LaPaz and Cuzco fire departments hardly have any fire trucks, since fires tend to go out.
    Also, when your plane takes off from the airport from Cuzco or LaPaz, the take off roll down the runway will take twice as long, since there will be less air under the wings to lift the plane.
    I miss that part of the world...was last there in 1983. (Unfortunately, that was spring the Shining Path rebels started up, too.)
    take care, UJ

  2. Uncle JT, I do not remember my science teachers talking about these sort of topics. Surely I would have paid more attention if they had.

    That's very interesting about the fire department. This must be a depressing place to live if you're a pyromaniac ;)

    Peru misses you too! Feel free to visit us in SA!

  3. I only wish my science teachers had taught me those sorts of things. Or that my math teachers would've taught me equations I could use, like, "If you're at 7,000 feet above sea level for 8 days at a bloating rate of 32%, how much Gas-X will you need to feel human again? And how many days will it take?"

    I hope you've now learned to point EVERYTHING away from your face, Miss Dewey Decimal!

  4. miss fifi,
    sadly i was victim to the exploding toiletries one last time. i had thought i was in the clear, but i forgot that while on the inca trail all my toiletries went to an even higher altitude than cusco, and i had a minor toothpaste eruption. luckily, no one was hurt.

    miss dewey d