Oy to the vey. It’s been quite the week, and it’s only Tuesday. Sunday morning before the birthday brunch in honor of Senorita Burns (photos of the fete and Baby Wombat here), I was sending a couple gems of the thousands of Australia pictures to one of my editors. Only, when I went to attach them…they weren’t there anymore. Hmm, that’s odd. I had just been going through and archiving everything in Lightroom, and the thumbnails all still appeared and didn’t return that “image not available” message that they normally do when files had been deleted. (Also, not stupid enough to delete files in the first place. Or empty trash can without checking first, for that matter.) But, nothing. Instead of calmly stepping back and accessing the situation, I began to freak the eff out—and rightfully so. Turns out they have disappeared into some vast abyss on my hard drive, never to be heard from or seen again. I immediately took my sick computer to the Mac Genius Bar for about the 87th time in the past year (for serious, in the two years since I switched to Mac, they have had to replace my hard drive THREE times and give me an entirely new computer, too). They did what any competent computer-toting person would do and searched my hard drive (um, as if I didn’t already try that, geniuses) and declared them gone. OK, I was expecting a little more exploration, but whatever. I returned home in tears, and SVV took the controls. After some Internet research, he was able to recover all the lost files, but only in 100KB thumbnail versions (which aren’t big enough to print, let alone blow up for the magazine articles they’re supposed to accompany). Some more highly technical playing business last night by Sean, Wizard of Photography, Computers and the Internet, did nothing more to save my photos, so I’m thinking I just have to come to terms with them all being gonzo. Unless any of you have had similar situations and had success at a data recovery center? I’d consider forking over a couple hundred bucks for that if I thought there were any hope.
This leads me to my lesson for the day: BACK UP. The really sad and ironic part is that I’ve been really good at this of late. I have two external hard drives, and the day before I left for Oz, I was copying everything to them, but then one went kaput and gave me a glaring red CORRUPTED error, and the other is only compatible with my Dell. So how ironic that my external hard drive would crash right before my Mac decided to delete all my Aussie files, right? And SVV bought me some archival DVDs on THURSDAY, which is precisely what I was working on doing when said photos went missing. Apple gave me a new MacBook in November, which has Time Machine (my old one did not), and I stupidly thought that it just automatically backed up all your files for you (I didn’t know it had to have a hard drive attached, which just leads me to a “what’s the point then?”). Since this whole thing has gone down, no fewer than five people have chastized me for NOT backing up. I TRIED, PEOPLE, OK? Also? Telling me that now does NOT help remedy the situation, it’s just like you’re trying to make me feel stupider than I already do. As my friend May pointed out, “it’s like that Sex and the City episode where Carrie’s computer crashes and everyone starts telling her to back up. She was like, ‘where were these people three days ago when I needed them?'” Any non-Genius Bar geniuses out there who might have any suggestions for fixing this problem? Yeah, I didn’t think so. And now a picture of an incredibly adorable and well-behaved baby to make me feel better (temporarily).
On a slightly happier note, I’m finally ready to chat a bit about the Guatemala and Honduras trip that happened just, erm, four months ago now (or rather post lots of pictures, as, for once, I don’t have a whole lot of insightful things to say on the subject). You’ve been waiting with bated breath, right? I’m so sure. Well, anyhow, if you’re thinking of heading down to Central America at some point, the first words of advice I’d give you are: DON’T LISTEN TO LONELY PLANET. Once upon a time I was a huge LP fan myself, then SVV and I purchased their Central America on a Shoestring book to guide us in our 16 days down there. In the Guatemala chapter alone, the word “rape” appears no fewer than four times. While it’s fine to WARN people about things to be on the lookout for, one can get “raped” in any country—it’s not as if it’s some overwhelming problem that plagues just Central America—and I really don’t think the Guatemala Board of Tourism would be that thrilled to know that Lonely Planet was promoting their country like so.
Nevertheless, the chapters on traveling in Guatemala had both Scott (who is never scared of anything) and me freaked out, especially lines like this one that warn against driving, or ever being outside of the heavily tourist areas at all really: “There have been incidents of robbery, rape and murder in the highlands…there are persistent rumors about a Japanese tourist who was lynched for taking a picture of a child in the highlands. ” Might I add this was the chapter for serene and clairvoyant Lago de Atitlan (Guatemala’s equivalent to Lake Tahoe), not even Guat City? And don’t even get me started on the chapter that informed us if we were ever walking on our own, we’d need to carry a machete. Utter ridiculousness, Lonely Planet; from now on, my money will only go to Frommer’s, Fodor’s or Rough Guides.
We had basically resigned ourselves to taking the chicken bus all over the country, which would definitely put us back time-wise, until my friend Victoria, who lived there for eight months as a single woman, e-mailed me saying she drove everywhere in her own car and never had a problem. In the end, I’m so glad we listened to her, as we saw so much more of the country than had we been stuck taking a 12-hour bus 100 miles every time we wanted to switch locations. And what do you know? We never even ran into a single suspicious character or felt threatened in the least. I’m much more paranoid when I get off BART at the Civic Center exit than I ever was in Guatemala. However, one thing to be worried about when driving down there? Road conditions. Behold, the primary east-to-west INTERSTATE through the country:
(That’s all actual dust, not merely a cloudy camera lens.) It was like one long rollercoaster ride transversing Guatemala. Need I say more? Other than whatever you do, do NOT forget your Dramamine, dawgs. And how many times do I have to tell you? Put that Lonely Planet away! Now!