The final approach into Cusco is quite amazing. Our plane went around Huanacauri, the smallish mountain in the foreground (although not really that small: the peak is 4089m, around 700m above the city) then took a sharp left and dropped like a stone to land. The airport is surrounded by houses, and has a remarkably long runway so that aeroplanes can get a good run-up to take off. It's somewhat reminiscent of the old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong, in that you can look up out of your window while landing and see hills and houses well above you. And, like Kai Tak, it seems as though it's going to be replaced: they're building a new airport at Chinchero, half an hour out of town and over 400m higher.
Somewhere in the background is Sacsayhuamán, an Inca citadel that sits at around 3700m and has a wonderful view of the aeroplanes coming in to land just a couple of miles away, as well as magnificent stonework.
We flew back to Lima from Juliaca, the highest airport in Peru and (according to Wikipedia) the ninth highest commercial airport in the world, at a literally breathtaking 3826m above sea level. That's around 648 mbar - so there's just under two-thirds of what I'd consider a normal amount of oxygen in each breath. Straight after takeoff (or possibly even just before, when the engines were spooled up to full power) the cabin pressure started increasing steadily until it reached 760 mbar around 20 minutes after takeoff - so much like a normal flight, except that the pressure increased rather than decreased at the beginning. The landing was like any other, with the pressure gradually increasing back to sea level as we descended.
I took the readings with an iPhone app called Bar-o-Meter. It's free, and is just functional enough for me not to go searching for an alternative. It would be much better if it was possible to export the raw data as CSV, and also if it could be set up to take periodic readings. It does have a "Trend" display (which is where the graph came from) that says it records data every 2 minutes, but this doesn't seem to be true: I had to keep waking my phone up every so often in order to get it to take a new sample. Still - definitely worth every penny I paid for it.
A couple of days before we left Morocco, an alert popped up on both of our phones saying that there was new timezone information to download. I've been a bit jumpy about changing things on my phone without making a backup, so I didn't do anything. And then, early on October 28, we went from summer time (UTC+1) back to UTC, or, rather, our phones and the UK did. Morocco didn't (*), as they had made a last-minute decision to stop changing their clocks back and forth. This made for quite an exciting time at the airport, as our boarding passes were printed with the old time of departure, even though all of the clocks were now on the "right" time. Thankfully, everything happened at the same time UTC as originally planned, so we made the flight. I pity the people who had to sort out everything afterwards, and salute the Apple people (**) who managed to get a timezone database update pushed out at such short notice.
A couple of days ago I found a highly relevant article about how computer programmers make all kinds of stupid assumptions about time: feel free to nerd out here (and even here and here) if you're into that kind of thing.
A word to the wise: it's good to back up your phone to your computer in case Something Bad happens; it's also good to make sure your backups are encrypted. It is even more important, though, to make sure that you're absolutely sure you have the password for the backup written down before upgrading iOS, just in case it goes Horribly Wrong and your phone decides it needs a factory reset. Apple, in their infinite wisdom, make it possible to back up your phone to a computer but not be able to restore the same backup half an hour later if you don't have the password you set a couple of years (and at least one laptop) ago written down. I think I'm going to try a combination of backups to iCloud whenever I have the bandwidth (i.e. not for several weeks right now) plus making sure I do a manual encrypted backups to the laptop and set a new password each time I try to upgrade anything.
This doesn't really have the shape of a proper blog: traditionally there would be a sidebar with links to archives, an RSS feed, and so on, but Weebly doesn't seem to have very good tools for doing that and it makes the layout look unpleasant. On the other hand, it looks a bit more like a modern-day website and behaves reasonably well on phone screens and resizes nicely. So - here's a link to an RSS feed, and the "categories" and "archives" widgets. I may come back and edit this or move things around, but here you go for now. If anybody has any advice for how to do this better (I'd rather have the front page as the blog, and then have another page with all of the linky stuff, but haven't figured out how to make that happen yet) then please let me know. I'd also like to have posts tagged by author, but this doesn't seem easy to do either. I suppose Susan's and my writing styles are different enough for you to figure out who's writing what, and we'll try to put a Category on from to show who's writing so it's easier to search. T