Archive for the ‘Z0mB!eZ’ Category

Crossfit Fuse was opened by Troy back in 2011. I was, (we think) athlete #12.  Now it has hundreds of people walk through the door.

I recently went back to Seattle for a visit and, of course, after 2 years of travels, I had to drop in on my old box. I felt like I was going home after being away at college for a year. Some familiar faces mixed with new- but all the expressions were the same: Glee, Bliss, Accomplishment.

The decor has changed slightly. There are more achievement-based plaques on the wall (Murph times, Cindy reps, etc) There are more racks for pullups. But the environment is still the same and the community is stronger than ever.

Troy actually does a bunch of really interesting things to build up the Fuse Community that I’m going to list in no-particular order:

1) He has special training class for aspiring coaches. Essentially, after you get your level 1 cert (1 weekend, 16 hours, 1000$USD) you are “certified to teach crossfit”. But anyone who has been to a GREAT crossfit vs a BAD one know that the coaches need to have more experience than just this weekend class. The things you need to know and see are athlete’s bodies. How they move, how they respond to cues, etc. Basically- you need experience. And that level 1 cert doesn’t give you that. Troy figured this out early and has an amazing solution to the problem that doesn’t involve unpaid internships.

2)I remembered the “monthly challenge” board where you put your name on a magnet and counted how many double-unders you did in the month. (10,000 was the goal). If you reached the goal, your name got put into a hat for a prize. The actual prizes weren’t nearly as awesome as the bragging rights you had when your name was at the top. 🙂 This still exists.

3) Whole Life Challenge. 

4) Fuse Throwdowns. (competition within fuse that is scaled and handicapped so everyone gets a fair shot).

5) Baseball/softball league signups

6) Paleo facebook pages. (to keep you accountable, people can post pictures of their food and encouragements. Changing your diet is WAY EASIER if you have a bunch of encouraging things on your FB feed- rather than pictures of drunk chicks.)

7) a PR (personal record) board (otherwise known as “the Brag Board”). A place where you can write down your personal achievements that you’re proud of.

8) The “Fuse Open”. During the Crossfit Open he divides everyone who has signed up for the open and divides them into 4 groups. The groups pick team names and colors, set up facebook pages and then a page of ‘how to earn points’. Teams can earn points in various ways:

a) showing up to class

b) wearing your team color

c) taking pictures of your paleo food

d) guessing what the open wod will be. (couplet, chipper, the moves, how many reps, etc.)

e) achieving 100 kettlebell swings = 1 point.

f) having friends come and do a workout.

g) having friends swing kettlebells with you (you need to get this on tape).

h) challenging other people in the gym to do crazy stuff. (like jump into Lake Washington… In March.)

 

There are heaps of ways to build community within your box and I may be biased, but I think Fuse does the best job of all the boxes I’ve been to so far.


 

I showed up on a Saturday and asked if we could do my favorite WOD of all time:

The Zombie Apocalypse team-wod

-divide group into 2

-everyone runs 200 meters. Slowest member’s group (zombies) needs to push a 400lb sled 200m first while faster group (humans) does “work”. Once the zombies are back, the group switches. Keep repeating until one group finishes.

WORK:

300-wallball (brain toss)

300 pullups (blood on the bars)

300 doubleunders (suppression fire)

600lb sandbag drag (50m) (injured buddy)

300 box jumps (jump high or die)

600lb “dead-body move” 200m (with or without sled).

 

(Note: It’s easier the more people you have in your group. You also have to pace yourself. With 8 people per group it took 32min. With 5 people per group it took 45 min.)

 

With all this said: I had someone ask me “You went to Fuse- but that was ages ago! Would you go back?” And the answer is a resounding “YES!”. If you want to be trained by athletes who LOVE what they do and are passionate about making you comfortable, stronger and better- then go check out Fuse.

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I’m an intern at Red Cross Disaster Services. I was tasked to giving a presentation on “Disaster Prep” to a company.

“Ok! No problem! Can I center the whole talk around the zombie apocalypse?” I just get eye-rolls from the non-believers/skeptics. My supervisor says that she will email me the powerpoint that I should update/use.

In the power point, to my surprise, is a link to the following:

“Don’t use this link- as the language and quality is bad. But it’s useful information!”

I already knew this, as I actually had to use this trick multiple times in the Philippines. I first started searching for this when I watched “The Pianist” (I think that was the movie) where a guy is in hiding and can’t open a can of peaches.

What I’m trying to say is: This trick saves lives.

Raccoon City Experience (Japan)

Posted: February 28, 2014 in TRAVEL, Z0mB!eZ
Tags: ,

Raccoon City Experience (Japan)

I have 3 favorite things:

1) Zombies

2) Traveling

3) exercise/crossfit.

This combines 2 of them! (And it is also being added to my bucket list).

This is way over-due, and for that I’m sorry.

Australia at first glance seems like the perfect place to survive the zombie apocalypse: it’s a massive island/continent/country that is mostly self-sufficient and has some of the coolest/most laid back locals ever… The differences of the cities is unlike anything that I have experienced anywhere else:
Melbourne- the hub of art, dance, theater and culture.
Adelaide- a sleepy and charming town with acres and acres of vineyards and amazing zoo,
cairns- the gloriously sunny beach town where it’s advised to not swim in the croc-infested waters but instead to gaze at the sunrises and go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
Sydney- where everyone goes for a holiday due to its mixed abundance of things to do,
Alice springs- with it’s super dry climate, heaps of wild life (camels!) and really laid back locals with the deliciously adorable accents,
Darwin- croc and party central. (Because those two things go together so well!)

However, after living there for 5 months I can tell you that while I ADORE oz, could see myself living there for a really long time, I would definitely leave the second z-day happened. Here’s why:

Australia in General:
46/70

*Location: 8/10
The location is actually pretty good. Keeping in mind that Australia is HUGE (bigger than the continental US) you have all sorts of climates to choose from. The weather stays about the same on the coasts (Sydney, Brisbane, Byron bay, cairns, etc.) as where Melbourne gets cold during their winter (June-sept) and hot (where the sun feels like a laser beam!) during the summer months (nov-feb). There aren’t any natural disasters except bush fires during the dryer months (which could be disastrous- but once the population dies off, you should be ok.) the only bad part of Australia is the HUGE desert in the middle (the outback). Unlike in the states and going through Nevada, you could go 300-500km without seeing anyone or anything. Including service stations. So be prepared. Being fuel and water with you if you venture into the bush.

*Water: 8/10
Most of Australia is in a constant state of drought. (It’s actually kind awesome that everyone i met only takes 7 min showers. and they do this instinctively.) however, while drinking/purified water is limited the place is an island- surrounded by water. Making it easy to get on a boat and sail away to somewhere else.

I should note: I never visited Tasmania- which may be a better option for the apocalypse- but I don’t know.

*Lodging: 9/10
The lodging (overall) is as sturdy as you would get in any first world country. Built to code, multiple accesses, some creative shops with apartments on top, etc.
In cooper pedy the houses are built underground (because it can get upto 45 (113F) degrees on the surface during the summer months.) I don’t know if zombies can melt- but this is the only place I found that is “bunker like” in Oz.

*Food: 8/10
Oh. Em. Gee. The food in oz is amazing. The agriculture is plentiful and is mostly organic/real food (no gmo food here.) the meat you can eat is also tasty and endless. Kangaroo, croc, emu, camel, pig, cow and lamb are all readily available. You would be able to plant/grow your own food- but you have to be careful during the summer months (which are the driest.)

*Costco/equivilant: 3/10
Big super-stores don’t really exist- but the towns are built in a way so you can walk down a single street and get everything you would need: grocery store, market, butcher, hardware store, 2-dollar store, pharmacies, banks, gyms, coffee shops, liquor stores, etc. all on a single block.

The first place that Australia loses my vote for “best place to be during zday” is because of the lack of guns. There is no where to readily get a gun/ammo. Unless you’re in the bush and you know a guy- there aren’t stores that you can loot to defend yourself against the ___12 million___ people/zombies that live in oz.

*Non-dead dangers: 1/10
Here is where Australia loses. Home
To crocs, sharks, 9/10 most deadly snakes, heaps of poisonous (and/or wicked scary) spiders, drop bears, mosquitos with dengue fever…. I’ve said it before and ill say it again: I think the Australian army should lease themselves out to fight wars with unstable living environments- because the Aussies are the most badass set of people that I know. Not scared of anything, really. However— with that said- do you really want to fight those types of people once they are undead and after your brains?

*Locals: 9/10
Oh, Australia. The winter gave me the blues hardcore when I first got there- but the people made up for it ten-fold. Depending on what your crowd is- you could party all night and day with Aussies- and they will love you. You could also just sit around a cuppa and talk until you’re blue in the face- and they will also love you. I lived in Melbourne for a while– and since I love “culture” (theater, music, dance, art, etc) this was heaven on earth for me.

Their craft beer selection is limited- but super tasty. their wine selection is bigger and even more tasty. Music sounds like western music (unless you talk about aboriginal music.)

I should also note that Oz DOES have some of the cutest animals (as well as some of the most deadly) on the planet. I mean– LOOK AT THIS FACE!

With all that said- the continent isn’t nearly as populated as other places (it has roughly the same population of texas) so you don’t have to get rid of a lot of people before having a whole place to yourself.

I went to a few areas in Peru: Lima, Cusco (Machu Picchu) and Arequipa (Colca Canyon). All are lovely as are the people and the food is out of this world. My whole time in Peru was based on hiking/trekking/outdoor-stuff. With that said, I will tell you briefly of Lima and then do a compare/contrast between Colca Canyon and Machu Picchu as far as places to go hiding after Z-day:

Lima is a great city. Here are the things that surprised me the most about it:

1) It looks like Europe. I guess it’s an old Spanish colony, so I shouldn’t have been TOO surprised, but the architecture did surprise me in how beautiful and ornate it (still) was.

2) The economy of selling STUFF is unbelieveable. If you wanted pencil erasers, there was a guy selling those. If you wanted small pink rulers, there was a guy selling those, too. If you wanted a blue ruler, there was a different guy selling those. If you wanted plastic made-in-china-anything, there was a whole mercado dedicated to it with alcoves upon nooks and crannies dedicated to everything and anything you could ever possibly imagine.

TL;DR: If you want to get cheap knock-offs for cheap- go to Lima.

With that said- I did have amazing Cerveche here, and Pisco sours. If you are unaware (as I was), Peru is second to France in the number of “fancy 5-star food” dishes that they have available to the public. I was skeptical, but the only “bad food” I had was while on the treks, which I’ll describe later.

Later:

I flew from Lima to Cusco (mainly because a 1-hour flight was 92$ and the bus was 74$ and took 24+ hours. I may be self-employed, but my time is still valuable!) Once I got to Cusco, I was bound and determined to not get altitude sickness like I did in Quito and went for a 6k run. It took me over an hour– and I was tired, but I felt good. This proved to be a great idea- because I wasn’t nearly as tired as I was in Quito. I think the Coca tea also helped. (Gift from the gawds, I tell you!)

The Inca Trail tour (Cost 450+$usd) was all booked up for months, so I went on the Salkatay tour (cost 230$USD) which is MORE HARD CORE and WAY BETTER, imo. 5 days, 4 nights of trekking on uneven ground which the farmers now use to get live-stock/goods across the Andes to the various villages. We camped, ate simple food, ascended to 4,650meters above sea-level, woke up to roosters, hiked about 20k a day and I made some amazing friends.

Machu Picchu (59/70)  just as amazing as you would imagine. Or maybe you don’t know much about it- so that’s why you’re here… It’s a city where the Incas lived, high in the mountains, far from everyone else. The city was beautifully built out of rocks that were carved BY OTHER ROCKS and then SANDED BY ROCKS until they were smooth. Take the time to read that sentence again. Keep in mind they had no dynamite or sand-paper, no wheel and no iron/metal tools. This was 1100AD. All they had were pissed off Gods that they had to give sacrifices to, coca, chocolate, llamas and rocks. Oh yea, they didn’t even have donkeys at this time… Those were introduced by the Spanish. All the rocks were “harvested” out of the mountain and carried by either men or weak-ass llamas (who can only carry up to 50kilos).


Ok- moving on. Waynapicchu (is another mountain that over-looks Machu Picchu. This is actually the safer of the 2 places because it’s a higher mountain and has SOME structures that are left over. It’s also kinda difficult to get up to because the rocks and trail is strenuous for people with brains, let alone those without. (In the picture below- Wayna Picchu is the mountain peaking up on the right).

 

The location of WaynaPicchu is fantastic. 10/10. It doesn’t get too cold or too hot. Machu PIcchu has all the available means to do agriculture that held a civilization there for 300+ years. (9/10) There is plenty of water that falls during the rainy season, as well as natural springs. (10/10) The lodging is rustic, but could be adapted for common-day use. You need to replace the thatched roofs every 5 years, but your house can withstand the great tests of time, including earth-quakes! (9/10) There is not a lot of civilization. Aqua Caliente (a town named after a nearby hot-spring) is super touristy, but that means goods (like some of the best damn hot-chocolate ever!). It’s down the mountain, but probably has enough “stuff” that would tide anyone over during the apocalypse. (Except guns… I didn’t see any guns. Doesn’t mean that the farmers don’t have them, though….) 7/10. Non-dead dangers would include things the ruthless mosquitos, poisonous spiders and altitude sickness. Not too shabby over-all. (7/10) The locals speak Quechua and Spanish- but most of them speak a little English (enough to communicate with tourists). Quechua is a dying language, sadly, but their customs are not. They are kind and proud people of the Inca who still weave their own cloth, sing their own folk tunes and know how to convince the land to grow crops. (7/10)

 

(picture below shows the view of Machu Picchu FROM Wayna Picchu).

Colca Canyon is also a great place to go during z-day. If you travel south (8 hours by bus) to the big city of Arequipa you can get on another bus (for 3 hours) to the Canyon.

Be careful of local buses, though, because they tend to go off the side of the cliff often.

The canyon is the deepest canyon in the western hemisphere. It’s pretty desert-like, with not a lot of natural springs (but some!) and an impressive river at the bottom. The river is full during the rainy season (Jan-March) but starts to run dry after that.

From the canyon, you can drive up to summits of 4,900 and hike up volcanos (where the Incas held most of their sacrifices to the Gods). There aren’t many permanent structures here, but they do have a great vantage point.

 

(this trek was brought to you by Troy Meat Shop)

I want to talk about 2 places in Ecuador for the Zombie Apocalypse. One very quickly (Quito) and one in more detail (Galapagos).

 

First off- Ecuador is a lovely country located in South America right on the equator. It uses the US Dollar, everything is pretty cheap (I bought a whole new outfit, bra and all for 7$ total and ate lunch for 1.50$) and the people are friendly enough. However, I just came from Colombia– so they seem “normal” in comparison.

 

Quito is high…. like… really high…. It’s 2800 meters in altitude, which I didn’t realize and I went for a run/walk (6K) and it took me almost an hour. ALMOST AN HOUR! Back home, this would have taken me MAYBE 35 minutes. I was huffing and puffing and feeling faint and exhausted after 5 minutes of running. Being frustrated and feeling defeated, I went to the [quito crossfit] where I tried to kick butt, but, again, felt defeated and weak. I called my parents and they said “well, duh… you’re really high up. You have altitude sickness”. It was only then when it hit me just HOW HIGH I was. (not on drugs). I was almost 2 miles up.

 

Anyway- Quito is amazing to go to because you should TRAIN HERE! You should run/walk and get your lungs used to the little oxygen. You should power through the weird climate (surprisingly cold) and stay for about a week. Go hiking up some mountains. After you’ve done this for about a week, you’ll be in great shape to run a marathon…. or survive the Zombie Apocalypse. Whichever comes first.

 

That’s all I have to say about Quito. I didn’t stay long enough to gather enough intel about anything other than it’s altitude. So now I’ll move onto…

 

The Galapagos Islands! (51/70)

A wonderful set of islands (created by Volcanos) where 97% of the land is for the animals and only 3% is delegated to humans. Lots and lots of diving, hiking, and crazy animal life can be seen here. The majority of the humans that you’ll see are tourists (who will be eaten/disposed of quickly) and the locals probably have their own plans. But here’s the best part:

 

Location, Location, LOCATION! It’s an island. 500miles (at least) off the cost of Ecuador. It is slooooooowwwllllly moving towards the coast– but you have a few million years until that happens, so I think you’ll be ok. Because it’s surrounded by water, chances of a zombie outbreak happening here are slim-to-none. Also, because of the little human population, this is a great place to hide up. Also- there is sooooo much to do here! Tons of Scuba equiptment that you can rent if you needed to quickly get away, tons of boats, lots of different islands to go to (that aren’t inhabited at all). etcetc. 10/10

 

Water: everywhere. The island’s water supply is not potable (I found this out, sadly). So bring your iodine/steripen. The water that surrounds the island varies from really hot currents to really cold currents. (read: you can see penguins and sea lions and all kinds of wild-life, which is AWESOME.) 8/10

 

Lodging: The buildings are standard cinder-block. Sturdy. There are no natural disasters here except for erupting volcanos, so you don’t really have to worry about flooding or earth-quakes that much. 7/10

 

Food: there is plenty of agriculture on the island as well as fruits and LOTS of fish. Be careful, though. The sealions will fight you for that fish. 9/10

 

Costco – ha. no. nothing even close. I haven’t seen a single gun, either, since I’ve been here.  1/10

 

Non-dead dangers: There are sharks, barracudas and snakes and what-not, but nothing that has caught any local’s attention. It’s pretty safe here- including the lack of mosquitos. The biggest “problem” are the horse flies, which really like me, apparently. 8/10

 

Locals: the locals are really chill and relaxed. It’s a tourist destination, so if they don’t get a buck from you- they’ll get it from somewhere else. The safety on the island is amazing and the views of wildlife are just unbelievable.

 

I’m pretty sure that no one reading this is a creationist (why would they read about the zombie apocalypse?), but here, there is no one that doesn’t believe in darwinism/evolution. How can you not when you see 150+ yr old tortoises or manta rays that are wider than that fat-lady-riding-her-scooter-at-walmart? However, I’m spoiled by the Colombians and their sheer PASSION of life and brilliance and gusto… The ecuadorians are more laid back. This could be both good and bad- but because this is my blog- I’m counting it as a missed opportunity. 8/10

 

I haven’t really felt inspired to write a Zombie-survival page for every country/place that I’ve been in. Panama was difficult because I was mostly in Panama City or Colon. Portabello was amazing because that’s where a lot of Captain Henry Morgan battles were fought and I got my PADI certification while diving amongst his sunken ships!

I digress.

Colombia was amazing. I spent over a month in Colombia and it wasn’t enough. A place that all the cable news stations warn us about to never venture out to, I loved every single minute. I swore that all the citizens of Colombia had a meeting where they agreed to treat every foreigner as if they were royalty because their reputation is kinda crappy. Everyone agreed and they set off to find any foreigner… Throwing them gifts and tokens of appreciation and love. There is a new tourist slogan about Colombia where they say “the only risk is that you won’t want to leave”. And this is true.  For some reason, though, I think the amazing hospitality and the kindness of people would slowly go away once they all became zombies.

Medellin (58/70) was a city where I cried, constantly, because of the beauty of that city… However, the only safe place to hole up in would be Arvi, a natural park where you have to ride a gondola (Metro-cable-car) up to it. Even then- you’d have to go through the swarms of Medellin-citizen-zombies just to get there and then hope/pray that there is electricity that is powering the metro.

Location: 8/10 (in between a lot of mountains, but lots and lots of people…)

Water: 9/10 (delicious tap water!)

Lodging: 9/10 (brick/concrete houses all over. Plenty to squat in.)

Food: 9/10 PAISA!!!! GO HERE JUST TO EAT BANDEJA PAISA!

Costco equivilent: 4/10 – while there are no super-stores that I could find, there are markets… however, those markets will be managed by Zombies….

Non-dead dangers: It did rain a lot while I was there, which means mosquitos later. But overall, I didn’t meet any weird-looking dogs or snakes or scorpions or anything else that was deadly while I was here. 9/10

Locals: there is still a lot of crime in Medellin, apparently. I didn’t witness any, but everyone told me that there was still some sketchy areas. Which means, of course, that there are guns! and lots of them! So you’ll have a huge arsenal — if you can find them. Also, if you meet locals who are Colombian, they will welcome you into their home and you’ll instantly be family. 🙂 Always a nice feeling. 10/10

Bogota (60/70) is like a Latin NYC but with the weather of Seattle. It’s higher up in altitude so it remains temperate all year around. Walking around a city is one of my favorite things to do of all time- so this was perfect for me. Some hills, a lot of random little shops, lots of posters to gawk at. It was lovely. However, Bogota has well over 7 million people- making it NOT any kind of ideal place for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Location: It’s high up in the mountains. The weather is temperate year around. It rains a lot, but this means great for growing crops. 8/10

Water: delicious tap water– also lots of natural springs! (9/10)

Lodging: Tons of great housing. Very well constructed. Just the problem with very close neighbors. 8/10

Food: The food can vary. The restaurants vary all over the board- but they won’t be around after everyone is zombies (or they will only be serving brains). I did spend a great deal of time just eating the various fruits that were in the supermarket. (one day I picked up 15 different fruits and tried a variety of them). All were different and pleasant. There were no chickens or pigs to be found, though– not sure where the farms are. Also- it should be noted that you can get ANYTHING delivered in Bogota. Anything. We tried this with beer and pharmacy drugs. (#winning) 9/10

Costco equivalent: While there were no huge “super stores” that sell everything (and you certainly can’t just buy guns like you could in the states) there are tons of security guards on every corner “guarding” something and holding semi-automatics. Finding weapons won’t be a problem, but finding enough ammo may be. Finding other stuff isn’t a real big problem- but you just need to go to several stores to find them. (7/10

Non-dead dangers: The only big thing here is dugs. Which raises a great question: What would a coked-up zombie be like? Would he run faster? Would he even bother running after you at all? I should add this to my [good questions] blog page. 9/10

Locals: Again- the most awesome and hospitable people on the face of the earth. Full of life (and would probably even love being zombies). They would definitely be the most fashionable ones that I’ve found. 10/10

Cartagena (49/70) is probably the “most safe” because it has an “old city” that was once used as a fort against the Spanish during the gold-war days. However, it’s hot. I’m not just saying it’s warm…. I mean it’s sweltering. Shade is going to be your best friend (along with the delicious juices- be forewarned- all your generator power will go towards the blender to make juice.)

Location- you have the beach and the old city wall. You could probably hole up in the old city, but there isn’t much going on there except for really old buildings that have withheld the test of time. (9/10)

Water: some potable water– but it may turn sketchy after the apocalypse…. unknown. There is plenty to swim in, though! 7/10

Lodging: Lots and lots and lots of really old (beautiful) buildings! (10/10)

Food: they don’t grow a lot THERE– they ship it in. So getting food may be a problem for later. 6/10

Costco Equivilent: again, no super store. No super-market, either. A lot of little mom/pop stores. 3/10

Non-dead dangers: the currents in the ocean CAN be quite high. Also, the UV rays can hurt you something fierce if you aren’t wearing sunscreen. (Mental note: Add sunscreen to my zombie survival kit!) 7/10

Locals: The locals were lovely here– but I prefer them in other parts of Colombia. It should be noted that this is a tourist destination and I didn’t have a chance to meet “the real locals” who weren’t trying to sell me something. 7/10

Santa Marta (53/70) is lovely- but more lovely was Tayrona, a national park located just east of Santa Marta. It’s glorious to go hiking, rent a hammock, lounge at the post-card-looking beaches. Is there a lot of food? Not really… There is plenty of fish and fruit- but nothing else, really. Are there a lot of people? Just tourists. In my opinion, this is where you would go to vacation during the Zombie Apocalypse. Especially at Tayrona. No zombie wants to go hiking through the jungle and the beach would be isolated enough that would make you relax a little during the terrible times ahead.

Location: secluded and off the beaten path. Beautiful beaches. Especially Tayrona. A lot of places you can only access via boat or long hikes. 10/10

Water: everywhere! You have to buy filtered/bottled water here… so bring some iodine or a steripen! 7/10

Lodging: Plenty of old buildings in the “old city” that you could hole up in. There are also really cute bungalows on the cliffs that you could squat in. No AC (and you would need fans at least) 8/10

Food: Lots and lots of fish! some fruit that is grown locally/a little ways away. But not a lot. Agriculture could probably happen in Tyrona after the apocalypse, though. 8/10

Costco: nope. None. No big stores what-so-ever. 4/10

non-dead-dangers: jelly fish was a scare for a day as were the currents. Our legs were also eaten alive by mosquitos and sand-fleas (note: put baby-oil on your legs to avoid getting bitten by sand fleas!)- but other than that- it’s a beacher’s paradise. 7/10

Locals: the locals were lovely. Kinda and amazing people– even for a touristy destination. 9/10

Barranquilla (61/70) was special in it’s own way. I went there and stayed with a couch-surfer (now a great friend) for 4 days. It was also the very beginning of Carnival, which is the 2nd biggest Carnival in the world after Rio. The first night was my first experience of Colombians and how passionate they are about life. Laughing, singing, dancing, drinking, offering everything and anything they have to total strangers. (Again, the amazing hospitality). Carnival was unique- so I shouldn’t grade an entire city based on it’s crazy/amazing festival. I will note, though, that if you want to have a great time right before Ash Wednesday– go to Barranquilla. Book ahead. Just go, laugh, have a great time. Go to the beach after you close down some bars. Dance your ass off. Be silly. Drink aquadiente (and cringe… because it’s foul) and then drink some more. Enjoy your time in Colombia.

Location: It’s kinda like Dallas/Fort Worth. It’s very concrete and sprally and massive. It’s a sport to drive here. Not a lot of parks, but plenty of places to hole up in and hide out– you’re also close to a beach if you need to get away. 9/10

Water: lots of potable water and you’re close enough to a beach to get away. During the rainy season/months it rains a lot and the streets are flooded. (forwarning) 8/10

Lodging: LOTS of concrete/safe buildings to hole up in. Lots of places to hide. 10/10

Food: The food is decent. I had a lot of standard dishes that I enjoyed. You can get some awesome seafood here as well as some produce. I’m not sure where the produce comes from- so again, it may be imported. 8/10

Costco- *edit*- They have Pricemart! 😀 I haven’t been there- but it exists. I doubt you can buy ammo- but you can probably buy everything else. 7/10

Non-dead dangers: The only “scary” thing about this town is the local’s kidneys and their driving….which leads me to…. 9/10

Locals: Amazing locals. The best, actually. It may have just been the people that I stayed with- but I was constantly and pleasantly surprised by how amazing these people are. Their culture is just oozing out of them and you can’t help but be happy and feel welcome and immersed in their lives. 10/10

So there ya go…. That’s Colombia. I will be back (this time I’ll actually know Spanish). *note: the Colombians speak the best spanish in all of Latin America. So if you want to take lessons- do it here and learn it properly. I did not follow this advice because I’m stupid. So I’ll continue to speak Spanish like a 2-yr-old.