Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Eduardo Rosencruz ???? to 2006

This one remains unidentified, but still working on it. Found near Arica yesterday there seems to be nothing like it in the book - what is it Daragh?

With very few choices of transport, I decided to 'bite the bullet' and do the full 2,300 'clicks' to Santiago in a oner, stopping off briefly to fulfill a mission I'd promised myself if I should ever venture this way. A 'luxury' coach, as they call them, would have been ideal with huge front parlor like seats and slightly closer attention, but I'd made my play and would have to put up with what was thrown at me! A 14-00 departure gave me little time to get back to the hotel to collect my things, and make a point of saying farewell to a staff who had really taken to, and helped me, but I was there in good time for the delayed 15-00. Seats double banked and the coach full, I was ready for a deal of discomfort, but as it turned out they were comfortable seats with ample leg room, excellent A/C and a reasonable Steward service, except for the victuals which were a little Sparta. Deciding to kill a little time by starting a 'birds seen for the coach' list (what else?), it started well with House Sparrow, Pacific Dove and Turkey Vulture but that was IT for the next 6 hours as darkness fell. It was inevitable sleep would come slowly, and by mid-night I was still shuffling around in my seat, but that was the last I remembered until 09-00 as we pulled into Santa Rosa Bus Terminal, one of just 5 stops on the way, and right outside a coffee shop. I was happy to get out, enjoy a favorite early morning beverage, then climb back aboard for the next leg. The terrain for what seemed like the whole distance barely changed, with desert of one description or the other being the main feature. Sometimes stark and arid, others boulder strewn and occasionally sparsely vegetated, the only change seemed to be the distance away from the mountains (some snow covered) and high hills. Despite being a coastal road, there were very few glimpses of the Pacific and what habitation there was only amounted to a few broken down old steadings.

Anyway, one thing that did come from this trip, apart from getting me where I wanted to be, breaking the previous record of a single journey on the same vehicle. 21 hours was the figure to overtake, as Mike Hughes and I ventured from the Paraguayan capital Asuncion to Buenos Aries, Argentina in 2003. Then, the countryside was a good deal more eye-catching as we passed hundreds of miles of the Pampas and through thePalm Fields of cattle country.

The beautiful sea-side city of Valparaiso perches, literally, on the edge of the Ocean, and was the birthplace and home, for many years, of my (and everyone else's) GREAT rig mate Eduardo Rosencruz, colloquially known as Eddie the Night Baker. Ed was one of the most personable individuals it was ever my pleasure to rub shoulders with, and I can state, without fear of contradiction, that would go for every Core Crew member on the Buchan Alpha. Eddie was a Chef extraordinaire, but his 'baking' was legendary across the North Sea. However, even that was surpassed by his cheerful, obliging nature nothing ever being too much trouble. Any Buccaneer could tell you endless stories about him and his Chelsea Bus, Dutch Pastries, Cinnamon Cakes etc, but above all his bread, which rarely got to the table as the Shite Hawks pounced (no disrespect meant).

My favourite story, involved a none too slim woman who worked on the rig and to be honest not the prettiest 'rose in the bowl'. Entering the galley ay 04-00 to get my routine 'fresh baked 'egg and bacon banjo (quick release at turn of the shift to go birding), I threw Eddie a usual Que Pasa (what's up), he replying in his normal fashion, F**k All! Thinking to throw him a curve I casually said "eh Ed would you have sex with the woman concerned"? quick as a flash he replied "only in an emergence", which sent me into fits of laughter which still exist today.

To all our loss, Eddie became seriously ill in 2006 and past away after a bad time in hospital. I, like many others, visited him in the Aberdeen Infirmary, and to see a once fit man waste away like that was tragic. After he died I made that promise to myself and today I fulfilled it. Just sitting on a bench for a few minutes I just wanted to make sure Eddie had made it home. A message to those readers on the Buchan 'A' (I know there are a few) he's there, looks happy and is flying around with the Seagulls. RiP Eddy the Night Baker.

My intention now is to bird the park for maybe one or two days, dependant on the birdlife after which I have a 'side-track' project that I'm going to chase up, but more of that later.

Finally today, I arrived in Santiago after 29 hours on the coach but cannot complain of a bad trip, in fact it was much more comfortable than I could have hoped. At the Coach Station the Tourist Information soon fixed me up with a map and assured me there would be plenty of Aves in Central Park manana. This had been my hope all along and seeing that the taxis were controlled from a booth were the price was agreed and you were allocated a cab also pleased me. That way there can be no questions at the destination and everybody leaves happy. Unfortunately, this was not the case tonight, as we reached the street the tourist lady had suggested chiefy, the driver, asked for 5,000 peso, a 'fiver'. To cut a long story short I summoned a motorcycle copper, who after a long haggle which only those 2 understood it was decided I had to pay up again. So, no matter how seasoned a traveller you may think you are someone will get you some how. On the up side he had put me down right outside what in UK you would call a quaint Victorian town house, where the room including breakfast is just £15, so all's well that ends well.


There is one hell of a curse on that 5,000 'sobs' so he'd better be careful how he spends it!

Golden-spotted Ground-Dove, here's one that nearly slipped the net. The Golden-spot is clearly visible but overlooked as crap on the lens, one born every minute? TICK!

Andean Duck, some still say it's Ruddy and who am I to say? TICK years ago?

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