Thursday, December 14, 2006

Travelling places

I have been reading (well, listening to the book on tape) Paul Theroux's The Old Patagonian Express, and he mentions an interesting part of Colombia that he describes as the Grand Canyon, except green. Therefore, for last night's sessions I thought I take the Maule there and see what the country looks like. I started off in Armenia, a city he mentions after the green Grand Canyon episode.

Since my flying time is so very scarce (time flies when it's flying time!) I did not do any research on the area or plan the flight in any way except to put my plane at the airport in Armenia (that's Armenia, Colombia, not the Eurasian country), go to top-down view, zoom out, and look for something canyon-like. So the flight plan was essentially "Take off and fly east. Oh, and watch out for the large mountains immediately to the east."

Eventually I got to a canyon-like object, but it was not very Grand. I might have been in the wrong part of the Rio Magdalena (or maybe this was the wrong river!) or maybe Microsoft didn't capture this topography quite right. I think there's a freeware mesh upgrade for this region--I may add that soon. Nevertheless, I had a great time flying, and the scenery felt exotic. It's amazing that this program has a continous representation of the entire earth, with some degree of fidelity. And, it looks so good! I don't think these shots do it justice.

I guess what I am trying to express is the wonder about the fact that you can hear about some not-so-well-know part of the world one day, then just walk over to your computer, and in a few minutes be virtually there.

I had a very convincing sensation of flight during this outing. Near the mountains I hit some turbulence (while using the Fair Weather theme!). Looking downwards past my landing gear at the scenery, as in the second shot here, you see the wheel wobbling in relation to the scenery, and your point of view wobbling in relation to both. I really felt that suspended-on-a-string sensation you sometimes get flying in a light plane.

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