Mudslide: Tourists stranded at Machu Picchu
Heavy rains in the Andes Mountains caused mudslides that buried a section of railroad track near Machu Picchu, thereby stranding 1,400 tourists in the town of Aguas Calientes, located along the Vilcanota River about 3,000 feet below the archeological mecca. That train is the only way to get to the isolated site, as the steep mountain gorges make road building prohibitively difficult. The government hopes to evacuate some of the tourists with helicopters, and the track will probably be repaired within a week or two. The same thing happened just two weeks after Jacqueline and I went there in March 2004.
Floods in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has also been hit hard by flooding, though not as severely as in Guatemala or Mexico. Several towns near the Pacific coast have been evacuated, and even the provincial capital of Liberia, in the northwestern canton of Guanacaste, is on alert for possible flooding. When I was there in late February, it was extremely hot and dry.
In politics, former president Miguel Angel Rodriguez was released from house arrest after nearly a year. He has been charged with accepting bribes from the French telecommunications company Alcatel. It is remarkable that former presidents in the neighboring countries of Costa Rica and Nicaragua are both accused of corruption.
The recent heavy rains in the northeast U.S.A., Central America, and Peru, and the severe drought in the normally lush Amazon basin, make one wonder what's up with our terrestial atmosphere. Here in Virginia it was dry as a bone from late July until early October, and ever since the Rolling Stones came to town, it's been rainy, drizzly, or cloudy. What's up with that?