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荡起秋千——在世界的边缘

更新时间:2017-12-16 12:54:17 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Where you can swing over the edge of the Earth
荡起秋千——在世界的边缘

Every morning before the sun rises, 75-year-old Carlos Sánchez says a prayer in his one-room hut, grabs a pair of binoculars and slowly climbs up into a lonely treehouse that leans precariously over the edge of a mountain.

每天日出之前,75岁的卡洛斯·桑切斯(Carlos Sánchez)先在单间小屋里晨祷,然后拿上双筒望远镜,爬上冷冷清清的树屋,行动迟缓。这座树屋建在山边,下面就是悬崖,仿佛岌岌可危。

From his perch high above the misty folds of the Ecuadorian Andes, Sánchez peers across the emerald valley’s patchwork fields towards the towering 5,023m-tall crater of Tungurahua, a wildly active stratovolcano whose name means ‘throat of fire’ in the local Quechua language. He then scans the deep ravines and twisting chasms that shoot dangerously down Tungurahua’s slopes towards his family’s hometown of Baños, until they disappear into the clouds below.

从观察点向上远眺,可以看到厄瓜多尔安第斯山脉(Ecuadorian Andes)层峦叠嶂、雾气弥漫。透过错落有致的田地,翠绿色的村庄,桑切斯密切观察着5,023米高的通古拉瓦(Tungurahua)火山口。这个成层火山异常活跃,被当地人命名为"火焰之喉"。然后,他一直扫视着曲折的深沟险壑,直到他们消失在云层之下。如有危险,岩浆会顺着沟壑,冲下通古拉瓦火山的斜坡,威胁桑切斯(Sánchez)的家乡巴尼奥斯(Baños)的安危。

“Right now she’s taking a rest,” Sánchez said, turning away from the crag and carefully bending his bad knee down the steps. “Better feed the chickens before the whole world arrives.”

"火山现在处于休眠状态,"桑切斯自言自语道,然后转身离开岩壁,小心翼翼地屈膝向下爬,病痛常年折磨着他的膝盖。"世界末日到来之前,最好先把鸡喂好。"

Known in Baños as ‘the volcano-watcher’, Sánchez is the oldest member of Ecuador’s national Geophysical Institute and the only person in the world who operates a seismic monitoring station from the branches of a tree. For the past 18 years he has lived all alone on this remote bluff, bound by a promise that he made long ago to serve as an unpaid volunteer just 2.5km from a crater that has been periodically spewing fire, smoke and molten lava since 1999.

在巴尼奥斯,桑切斯被人们称为"火山观察员",他不仅是厄瓜多尔地球国家物理研究所最年长的成员,同时还是世界上唯一一个在树上建造地震监测站的人。过去的18年里,他独自一人生活在这一偏远之地。很久以前,他承诺在距离火山口2.5公里的地方做志愿者,不接受任何报酬。自1999年以来,该火山口会周期性地爆发,冒烟,喷发岩浆。

But in the last few years, something strange has started happening: people from all over the planet are coming to what was once a quiet cow pasture to find Sánchez’s monitoring station – all because he decided to dangle a wooden swing from his treehouse in hopes that his grandchildren would come visit.

但在过去的几年里,发生了一件非常奇怪的事情:以前,人们会从自世界各地前往幽静的奶牛牧场度假,现在却来参观桑切斯的监测站,这一切都是因为他把木制秋千挂在树屋的决定,他的初衷是希望孙子孙女来探望时,可以荡秋千玩耍。

They did. Soon, a few strangers began showing up to ask if they could go for a ride, too. Then in 2014, two members of a visiting group of tourists were taking turns on Sánchez’s swing when Tungurahua suddenly erupted. The pair bolted down the mountain, but not before one snapped a photo of the other gazing up at a surging 8,000m-tall ash plume while appearing to swing over an abyss at the edge of the Earth.

孩子们确实荡秋千了。不久之后,出现了一些陌生人,询问是否可以一同搭便车。2014年,通古拉瓦火山突然爆发,当时两名参加团体旅游的游客正在轮流摇荡桑切斯的秋千。俩人匆匆忙忙正准备往山下跑时,拍摄了一张照片,火山灰扬起高达8,000米,照片上的人注视着火山灰,脚下是万丈深渊,荡着秋千直抵世界的尽头。

The image received international recognition in a National Geographic photo competition and quickly spread around the world. Now, hundreds of people every day are following the trail at the edge of Baños, hiking 2.5 hours up the sharp side of a mountain and pushing each other off a 30m ledge at what has become known as La Casa del Arbol (The Treehouse).

这张照片在《国家地理》(National Geographic)杂志的摄影大赛中获得了国际认可,并迅速传遍世界各地。现在,每天有数百人沿着巴尼奥斯山脚下的小径徒步,两个半小时便可抵达山顶,荡秋千荡到30米的高处,那里坐落着有名的树屋。

“The swing just started as a simple idea to help bring my family together on the weekends,” Sánchez said, looking out from his chicken coop as the day’s first throng of tourists arrived. “But sometimes things explode unexpectedly.”

"起初挂秋千的目的很简单,只是希望周末时可以与家人聚一聚,"桑切斯说着,从鸡舍向外望去,发现当天的第一批游客已经来了,"但有时候事情就是这样,一发不可收拾。"

That’s what happened in October 1999. After an 81-year nap, Tungurahua roared to life with a series of violent eruptions. As hot gas, ash and rocks rained down on nearby villages, the president of Ecuador ordered Sánchez’s family and the 16,000 other residents of Baños to evacuate, giving them just four hours to collect what they could and not telling them when or if they could return to their homes.

事情发生在1999年10月。经过81年的沉睡之后,通古拉瓦火山苏醒了,发生一连串猛烈的喷发。附近的村庄受到高温气体、灰烬与岩石的威胁,于是厄瓜多尔总统立即下令,要求1.6万巴尼奥斯居民,包括桑切斯一家火速撤离,只给他们四个小时的时间收拾行李,并未告诉他们什么时候可以重返家乡。

Against the government’s mandate, Sánchez drove back to Baños on 20 December to discover a ghost town. The buildings were abandoned, the streets were coated with ash, but his home and town were miraculously spared from any damage. Unsure if his animals had survived in the mountains, Sánchez slowly drove up the dizzying road towards his pasture.

未等政府批准同意,桑切斯于12月20日便驱车返回家乡,发现巴尼奥斯已经变成了一座鬼城。建筑物遭到遗弃,街道上被火山灰盖得严严实实,但他自己的家和家乡小镇却奇迹般地幸免于难。为了弄清楚山上的动物是否幸存,桑切斯沿着曲曲折折的小路,慢慢地驱车前往牧场。

When he arrived, he saw that his cows were grazing peacefully and his neighbours’ farms were unharmed. He knelt down, crossed himself and promised the Virgin Mary (the patron saint of Baños) that he would remain there to watch the volcano and help protect the people living in the valley until the eruptions ended.

到达牧场时,他看到奶牛悠闲地吃着青草,邻居的农场也没有受到破坏。桑切斯双膝跪地,手划十字,感谢圣母玛利亚(巴尼奥斯的守护神)的无上荣光,发誓会一直守护在那里直到火山不再爆发的那一天,密切注意火山的动向,为保护山谷里的居民尽一份力。

“Eighteen years later, she’s still active,” Sánchez said. “So I’m still here.”

"18年后的火山仍然处于活跃状态,"桑切斯说,"所以我依然守护在这里。"

Sánchez’s humble hilltop monitoring station began with just a pair of binoculars and a two-way radio. Before constructing his hut, he often slept in a tent, shaking ash from his makeshift rooftop in the mornings and carefully monitoring Tungurahua’s north-east flank throughout the day.

桑切斯的山顶监测站设施简陋,只有一副双筒望远镜和一个无线对讲机。小屋建成之前,他经常睡在帐篷里,每天早晨会抖落临时屋顶上的尘埃,一整天密切监测通古拉瓦的东北侧。

A team of professional volcanologists at Tungurahua’s base trained Sánchez to radio in as soon as he heard rumblings, smelled sulphur or spotted pyroclastic flows that could rapidly plunge toward Baños. Soon, the retired electrician and former firefighter helped the volcanologists install seismic metres, tilt metres and a sulphur dioxide monitor on his land.

通古拉瓦基地的专业火山学家组成了团队,会对桑切斯进行培训,确保他一旦听到轰隆声、闻到硫磺气味或者发现火山碎屑流很快威胁到巴尼奥斯时能够及时报告。没过多久,这位退休的电工和前消防队员帮助火山学家在这里安装了地震仪、倾斜仪和二氧化硫监测仪。

It was at about this time that Sánchez’s wife, Lidia, started growing suspicious of what her husband was doing up in the cow pasture. During bouts of intense seismic activity, Sánchez needed to remain on call 24-7 and he sometimes couldn’t come back to Baños to see her for several weeks at a time. Convinced that he was living with someone else, Lidia packed up his clothing from their home, stuffed it in a bag and marched up the side of the mountain to meet this mysterious other woman.

正是在这个时候,桑切斯的妻子利迪娅(Lidia)开始对丈夫在奶牛牧场所做之事产生怀疑。当地震活动激烈频繁时,桑切斯需要全天候保持待命,有时甚至几个星期都不能回巴尼奥斯看望妻子。因此,利迪娅怀疑丈夫对婚姻不忠,收拾了一包衣物,前往山里看看这个神秘的女人到底是谁。

“When I arrived, I saw that he was all alone, living just on bread and water but fulfilling the promise that he made to protect others,” Lidia said. “The only woman he was waiting on was Mama Tungurahua.”

"我到那儿之后,只看到他一个人孤苦伶仃,靠面包和水维持生活,他终于实现了自己的承诺,尽心尽力地守护他人,"利迪娅说,"他唯一守候的女人就是通古拉瓦火山,就像守护母亲一样。"

Over the years, he hasn’t had to wait on her very long.

这么多年来,他在通古拉瓦火山的漫长守候完全出于自愿。

“Of the 1,500 volcanoes in the world that we monitor, Tungurahua is one of the 10 most active,” said Ben Andrews, director of the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program. “Since 1999, we’ve had more than 100 weekly reports of eruptions, explosions, ash columns and lava flows. It’s certainly a cause for concern.”

"我们对世界上的1,500座火山进行监测,发现通古拉瓦是最活跃的10座火山之一,"史密森尼学会(Smithsonian's)的全球火山项目主管本·安德鲁斯(Ben Andrews)称,"自1999年以来,有关火山喷发、爆炸、灰柱和熔岩流的报告每周超过100次,这确实值得关注。"

In fact, in 2006 Tungurahua sent a molten river down its flanks that buried three neighbouring villages and killed six people. Yet, even as the scorching torrent rolled down the slopes, Sánchez refused to leave. Choking on fumes, he hid inside a small slit in the trunk of a motilón tree while rocks pelted the other side. For two hours, Sánchez poked his head out from the tree’s base to provide live updates on his radio to the mayor of Baños that helped evacuate hundreds of families.

事实上,2006年,一条熔浆河流就在通古拉瓦火山两侧形成,吞没了三个邻近村庄,造成六人死亡。但是,即使灼热的熔岩流沿着斜坡倾泻而下,桑切斯依然不愿意离开。由于烟雾太大令人窒息,他就躲在莫蒂隆树干的小缝里,岩石击打着树干的另一侧。两个小时后,桑切斯从树干基地里探出脑袋,利用对讲机向巴尼奥斯市长提供最新消息,以便帮助成百上千的家庭撤离危险区域。

The motilón tree protected Sánchez and the town, and Sánchez decided that it would be sturdy enough to build an 8m-tall lookout post up in its branches.

桑切斯考虑到莫蒂隆树保护了他自己和家乡小镇,认为其树干非常结实,足以支撑建立一个八米高的瞭望台。

The swing followed two years later in 2008, and pretty soon Sánchez’s wife, five children and 11 grandchildren were coming to have picnics, celebrate family birthdays and keep him company whenever the volcano was quiet. When Tungurahua rumbled at night, Sánchez would sit alone in the treehouse, softly playing his harmonica under the stars to try and lull it to sleep.

两年后,即2008年,桑切斯建造了秋千。不久之后,他的妻子、五个子女和11个孙子孙女来这里野餐,为家人庆生,在火山沉寂的时候静静陪伴着他。入夜后,通古拉瓦火山轰隆作响,桑切斯便会独坐树屋,伴着星光轻轻吹奏口琴,让火山在摇篮曲中安然入眠。

“We have a complicated relationship,” Sánchez said. “Sometimes she’s my friend, sometimes she’s my enemy.”

"我和火山的关系非常复杂,"桑切斯说,"有时像朋友,有时像敌人。"

Today, Sánchez keeps the volcanic rocks that nearly killed him in the 2006 eruption in a small office below his hut, along with detailed maps, ash samples and a certificate from the president of Ecuador citing Sánchez’s ‘indescribable commitment and service to the country’. There are now 500 volcano monitoring stations in Ecuador, but Sánchez is still the only person who watches over Baños from Tungurahua’s north-east slope.

2006年火山喷发时,桑切斯险些丧命于树屋下的狭小办公室。他至今仍然保留着当时的火山岩、详尽的地图、火山灰样本以及厄瓜多尔总统颁发的证书,感谢他"为国家所做的无私奉献与服务"。厄瓜多尔现已建立500个火山监测站,但是桑切斯仍然是从通古拉瓦东北部监测巴尼奥斯的唯一人员。

“Carlos can see things from up in his treehouse that no-one else can,” said Patricia Mothes, former head of Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute. “His early warnings have helped us save lives. He’s fundamental.”

"卡洛斯可以从树屋里看到其他人无法观察到的情况,"厄瓜多尔地球物理研究所前负责人帕特里夏·莫特斯(Patricia Mothes)说,"多亏了他的早期预警,我们才能挽救更多生命,在这个过程中他发挥了最根本的作用。"

Since March 2016, when Tungurahua thundered with more than 70 explosions and shot lava bombs down its western slope, the ‘throat of fire’ has quietened to a whisper. Yet, both Mothes and Sánchez maintain that it’s only a matter of time before she roars again. Whenever Sánchez observes any potential danger or receives a warning from the volcanologists, he urges visitors to flee down the mountain to safety.

自2016年3月,通古拉瓦喷发超过70次,喷发时发生轰隆巨响,并向西坡倾泻熔岩。如今,虽然这一"火焰之喉"已然沉寂,但莫特斯和桑切斯两人都认为,火山再次喷发只是时间问题。每当桑切斯监测到任何潜在危险或接收到火山学家的警告之后,就会敦促游客立刻下山,撤离到安全地带。

“I don’t have enough hard hats for everyone,” Sánchez said, gazing down from the leaf tops on the line of thrill-seekers now snaking around his property.

"我没有足够的安全帽可以保护每个人,"桑切斯一边说着,一边凝视着树叶顶端,一批酷爱冒险的游客正在这片土地周围寻求刺激。

In a way, La Casa del Arbol feels like two parallel universes. On any given day, throngs of camera-toting tourists wait up to 30 minutes in line to soar over a deep ravine, shrieking with a mixture of wide-eyed wonder and white-knuckled terror. Afterwards, they all take the same Instagram shot, clambering up the treehouse’s two flights of steps, completely oblivious to the man in the orange hard hat poking around with binoculars.

从某种意义上说,树屋给人的感觉就像是两个平行的宇宙。在任何特定的日子,游客都会成群结队,挎着相机,排着30分钟的长队,希望在万丈沟壑之上翱翔天际,一边胆战心惊,瞪圆双眼,一边高声尖叫,划破长空。之后,他们用照片分享程序拍摄照片,爬上树屋的两级台阶,丝毫没有留意到有一个男人正戴着橙色的安全帽,拿着双筒望远镜密切监测火山动向。

When the screeches and screams from the swing get too loud, Sánchez descends from the canopy to wipe off his seismic equipment, feed his rabbits or clear the trail leading up the mountain with a machete – usually with his loyal cat Negrito following a few steps behind.

当秋千摆动的尖锐声、人群的尖叫声太过嘈杂,桑切斯就从树冠爬下来,擦拭地震设备,喂喂兔子,或者用弯刀清理通往山上的小径——他养的小猫小黑(Negrito)非常忠实,通常在身后几步远的地方跟着他。

For nine years, Sánchez happily let anyone who wandered onto his property climb up into his treehouse and swoop from his grandchildren’s swing free of charge. He only asked that people sign his guestbook. But after the National Geographic photo of his swing went viral two years ago, Baños’ ministry of tourism demanded that the volcano-watcher also start monitoring the growing number of visitors to his pasture – and charging them admission.

九年来,游客在桑切斯的土地上闲逛、在树屋里参观、在他为孙子孙女建造的秋千上免费摇荡,他对此十分乐意。提出的唯一要求就是让游客在留言簿上签名。两年前,秋千图片在国家地理杂志上发布,一时广泛传播,越来越多的游客前来牧场参观,于是巴尼奥斯旅游部要求火山观察员开始对游客进行监测,并收取旅游费用。

“I wanted all the families in Baños to still be able to enjoy this place as much as my family had,” Sánchez said. “So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll start charging an entrance, but it’s only $1, and kids are half-price’.”

"我希望巴尼奥斯的所有家庭仍然能够像我的家人一样享受这个地方,"桑切斯说,"所以我才答应,'好吧,我开始收门票费,但门票只卖一美元,孩子们半价'。"

Sánchez now has a stack of 14 200-page guestbooks filled with messages in languages he never knew existed. In the past two years, he’s used the modest entrance fees to send several of his grandchildren to college and hire a team of ‘business associates’: his family.

桑切斯现在已经收集到一堆留言簿,总计14,200页,留言的语言多种多样,有些语种连他自己都没见过。在过去的两年里,他利用门票赚取的微薄收入资助几个孙子孙女上大学,并雇佣了一群"生意伙伴":他的家人。

Now, Sánchez’s son Gabriel maintains a small zip line on the property and a newly added second swing that dangles from the other end of the treehouse. Sánchez’s granddaughters, Mayte and Mariza, take turns running a small ticket booth at the edge of the pasture. Another granddaughter, Julie, sells chicken soup and Ecuadorian fritada (fried pork) by the treehouse, and just wrote her college thesis on Tungurahua – with a little help from her grandfather, of course. And Lidia takes a bus each morning from Baños toward the crater of the volcano to spend time with the man she married 50 years ago at its base.

现在,桑切斯的儿子加布里埃尔(Gabriel)在这里新建了一条小型滑索以及一个秋千,秋千建在树屋的另一端。孙女梅特(Mayte)和玛丽莎(Mariza)轮流在牧场边上的小型售票亭帮忙。另一个孙女朱莉(Julie)负责在树屋旁边出售鸡汤和厄瓜多尔煎蛋饼(主料为炸猪排),在她的祖父的帮助下刚刚完成关于通古拉瓦火山的大学论文。每天早上,妻子利迪娅从巴尼奥斯乘车前往火山口,陪伴共同走过50年婚姻生活的丈夫。

“At night when everyone leaves, and it’s just our family, I sometimes sneak back on to the swing and close my eyes,” said Mayte, now 17. “It reminds me of being a little girl.”

"晚上所有游客都离开之后,只剩下我们一家人,有时我会偷偷去荡秋千,闭着眼睛。"年满17岁的梅特(Mayte)说,"这让我想起了自己小的时候"。

As another swarm of strangers descended on his property, Sánchez walked away from the crowds to the edge of the mountain, looked down over the valley and removed his hard hat.

当另一群陌生人踏上这片土地,桑切斯从人群中走到山边,低头看着山谷,摘掉了安全帽。

“This is the spot where I knelt, swearing to help others leave in time even if it meant that there was no time for me,” Sánchez said, struggling to lower his knee 18 years later. “A promise between people is serious, but an oath with God is sacred.”

"我曾经在这里双膝跪地,发誓要帮助他人及时撤离,即使我自己可能没有足够的时间撤离,"时隔18年,桑切斯这么说着,艰难地弯下膝盖,"对人的承诺虽然严肃,但对上帝的誓言却神圣不可亵渎。"

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