In our first part of the Mondo interview, we covered some amazing ground. We talked about world travel and how geocaching has changed over the past decade.
Join us again as we discuss how Mondo got his name, advice on when to stop searching and the story of one of the greatest finds, ever.
Paurian: What does “Mondou2″ mean? I read in a book that it’s a reference to a coffee shop, but the closest thing I could find (via a Google search) was either the “Mondo Coffee Bar” on RoyalCaribbean cruiseliners or a “Mondo Caffe” in San Francisco. Could it be that it’s really a tribute to Canadian Ice Hockey’s two-time Stanly Cup winner Pierre Mondou?
Mondo: Mondo is indeed a coffee shop in Moab, Utah that sold espresso long before Starbucks. Their motto was “Still Legal in Utah.” Sadly, I heard it is closed. The user name Mondo was incredibly already taken at the time so I added the u2, which is a work reference (UniServ Unit).
Paurian: Side note to readers, the Moab coffee shop used to have geology haiku mic nights on Saturday to rally your inner geek.
Paurian: What’s your favorite type of cache and why?
Mondo: I suppose I enjoy virtuals the most as a cache type because as with most of the early placed caches, they are in interesting spots that I would never otherwise go to.
Paurian: What is the best prize you’ve retrieved from a cache?
Mondo: After a long hike in Spain I found a business card that said that if I brought it to Budapest the owner would put me up for a week so I could enjoy Hungarian caching and home cooking. A year later I contacted him and made the arrangements to travel there. The family was exceptionally hospitable and I had a fantastic week caching there.
Paurian: That’s amazing! What did you take back from that experience? Do you still keep in touch?
Mondo: I have lost touch with them but I will always remember their hospitality. I was amazed that they taught themselves English just so they could read computer manuals and how many caches they had in Hungary. As I recall there were 600 of them – far more than in Colorado at that time. I also got to tavel up north and see some old castles and festivals. All in all it was a trip I will always treasure.
Paurian: Is there any place in the world you’d like to travel to, geocaching or not, that you haven’t been to yet?
Mondo: Planning to go cashing in Ireland next year and having some discussion with a few other cachers about going after the APE cache in Brazil. Someday I would love to find the 100 oldest caches…
Paurian: I’ve been told that cache owners and cachers try to leave a part of themselves in geocaching. Is there any particular geocache that really felt personal to you?
Mondo: I leave a whistle as my signature item – not sure I want to know what that means (he grins). I have had some tribute caches that felt personal but otherwise I do not philosophize much about the game.
Paurian: How long do you search for a cache before moving on?
Mondo: It depends. It is a combination of several factors: the difficulty rating, whether the area at GZ is one I care to search (I usually have a low tolerance for rock piles or trashy areas), the weather, time of day, mood, whether I am on a numbers run or on a hike, and so on. On caches around Denver I will usually look until I run out of places to explore and I will return multiple times. I do not have a pre-set limit as I enjoy the hunting as much as the finding. But, on a power run, I *try* to limit my searching time but I am only mildly successful some of the time.
Paurian: What is the most dangerous geocache you’ve gone after?
Mondo: Monseratt GC2D4 in Spain. This one took two trips to Spain to complete and is my most memorable of the *dangerous* caches. I had to walk up a vertical rock formation using a rope for about half the way and then find hand/foot holds the rest. My wife is an experienced rock climber (unlike me that gets scarred going up a ladder) and says it was a Class IV climb.
Paurian: What excellent feature / element / idea … thing would you like added to the geocaching experience?
Mondo: I have a lot of fun with the game as it is and I believe that gc.com is very responsive to new ideas that come up. I am exited about their new map system they are developing and the possibility of breaking out of the 500 or 1000 cache limits.
Paurian: If you could go caching with any celebrity, who would it be?
Mondo: Robin Williams
Paurian: Is there a top to the learning curve where, after so many caches, they’re all easy to find or solve?
Mondo: I think it is the opposite sometimes. When I get it in my head where a cache *should* be I tend to miss where the cache is. Perhaps that is a learning curve too. I believe that what one has to learn is how to see the world. To be able to spot what belongs and what does not. What is out of place. To *see* the unusual rather than to look for a cache. There are always clues.
Paurian: How would you suggest people learn that skill?
Mondo: Stop looking for containers and start looking for the unsusual.