Monday, May 31, 2021


So, it all started with a beautiful photo essay in the NYT on the coconut crab trade on Makatea in French Polynesia. With the phosphate mine closed, it said the population on the atoll has dwindled from over a thousand to about eighty permanent residents. Though there's hope for tourism, a major export right now is coconut crabs.

The crab hunters have to traverse a moonscape of extraction pits, most of them seven and a half feet across and fifty to seventy-five feet deep, at night, to go check the crab traps in the best hunting grounds. You can see this wild terrain from space.

That looks like a pretty sporty walk in the woods.

Anyway, that led me to the Wikipedia article on coconut crabs, which led me to the one on Christmas Island, which led me to virtually browsing the shelves at the Christmas Island Supermarket.

They've got a pretty good selection of Pantene, Oreos, and Knob Creek, if that's your thing. America turns up in the weirdest places.

Wandering around far-flung corners of the world via Googlesat and Street View is a pretty interesting time killer, actually.

One of the more engrossing streetscapes I've found is Iquitos in Peru. It's not connected to the rest of Peru by road or rail and can only be reached by air or by freighter up the Amazon. Because of that, cars and trucks are relatively uncommon, and the city swarms with motorcycles and motorized trikes.

I remember scanning around it by satellite and Street View and chatting with Bobbi...
Me: "Man, the better parts of town I've found all have extensive bars on doors and porches and have a sort of run down look like the scruffier parts of New Orleans. I guess the war against mildew is tough when your city has the climate of a shower stall. The bad parts of town look like Mogadishu without the bullet holes. It's like there's not a nice neighborhood."

RX: "Keep looking. The mayor has to live somewhere."