The demo from the iodine clock was successful on friday. Thing is, reacting KI with H2O2 releases a lot of I vapour. It was my turn this morning to dispose of a giant beaker full of wonderful Iodine releasing glory. Now, as chlorine, iodine is also very toxic, especially in high concentrations and more so when you have to breathe it in.

I have a few other thinks to dispose of so it's time to call the chemical disposal people and have them take this away.

Follow up on the car:

My mechanic called me this morning. The replacement hose costs about 150 bucks.

(Lean more about the hose)

Bullshit of course, he's trying to profit from something that most likely cost him half, because I saw the hose on the internet for 50. Add nother 50 to the intermediary that brought it here and you have what, 50 bucks more for making a call.

Since i'm not going through the ordeal of getting this thing brought over from the states again, i'll have to subject my wallet to that loss.

I hope it all works out when I sell the jetta, as in, get my money back for selling it at a higher price than originally paid.

The weekend

As I said on friday, this was a long weekend, monday off. Saturday I had to attent a party at the local Hilton hotel, a wedding of one of my girlfriend's cousins.

Generally, when one thinks of Hilton, one thinks of WOW! Paris Hilton! Expensive!. But here in pooradise, Mr Hilton built the hotel right smack in the jaws of downtown, and one thinks OH Crap! I'm not going there. Now, back in the 60s i'm sure that having the hilton there must have been the 'shiznit' because downtown was nice back then. Fourty years of corruption and decay led the downtown of the city to go to hell, and now it's considered to be the single most dangerous place in the city, the Hilton, the city's theatre hall and all the fine arts and science museums in the middle of it and all. About 8000 crimes, including around 100 murders, are committed in this part of the city every year.

So I went to the Hilton, didn't have much choice really, the girlfriend would have been angry at me and i'm more of the conflict avoidant type, better safe than sorry.

So, "the party"... I'm no critic but the party sucked. I'm still happy i went out and enjoyed myself for a bit, but I was so bored and tired I decided to make like the trees and leave at 2am leaving the gf behind (which didn't make her very happy). The affair lasted until 5am.

Not being very familiar with the area, street lighting and signage being also quite poor, I took the worong way out of the hotel, thinking I was gong south east. Wrong!, I was gong north west, deeper into the dangerous area. Very few people go in there with a relatively decent car (i was using my mom's, a 97 subaru) and dressed with a tie at 2am and live to tell about it. I was going on this wide one way avenue, thinking I was going east, towards relative safety, which I was neither. As I kept on driving, things got progressively worse. I went trough 2 "police" checkpoints. I saw plenty of guns but no badges or uniforms, people get kidnapped at such checkpoints. I reduced my speed at both checkpoints but wasn't stopped by the "officers" nor I had any intention of stopping.

The road I was on ended with a tunnel at the foot of a hill and I thought "big no-no", so i turned left and drove into what is potentially the most dangerous 10 sqare kilometres in the continent, which oddly enough, is in the vicinity of the country's government palace, legislature and congress. As I drove I started feeling anxious because there were few people on the streets, fewer cars and very suspicious looking characters waiting for pedestrian lights on interesections where there were no cars (one way they take everything you have and kill you is to wait until you stopped at the light and then come and get you).

As I kept driving I heard gunfire here and there. Then I realized the gunfire was drawing nearer to me and then about 20 guys on shitty motorcycles came past me, followed by about 50 guys on shitty motorcylces... and they were shooting at each other. I slowed down immediately to let them pass me and once I saw a way to turn back i stepped on it and u-turned hollywood style, away from the shootout. I grabbed my phone and called my parents for guidance assistance, who luckily enough grew up near there and knew the area pretty well. They guided me into an avenue that led to a highway i was familiar with. I sped at 170kmh (110mph) up this avenue to reach the highway, thinking once I was on it would be safe.

I reached the highway and slowly relaxed, turned on some music and drove home.

Sunday morning came, and fully recovered from the shock I went with my mother and retraced my steps. It's not even 1/10 as dangerous during the day because there's lots of people out. That was the moment when I fully understood how deep in it I was and how lucky i am to be alive. Some good luck that was bestowed upon me by my grandfather (he had a few such extremely close calls in his life and always came out unscathed).

Having this experience I have taken a vow never to go in there again, no matter what. Many have already told me it's impossible to avoid going in there but I can sure as hell try.

Sunday and monday were relaxed and calm.