Posts Tagged ‘nature’

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

 

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Belize (zombie survival)

Posted: January 13, 2013 in Z0mB!eZ
Tags: , , , ,

Belize = 44/70

 

Belize is an English settlement in Central America that has a population of about 360K (for the whole country). They are on the Caribbean coast, so that means there is a crap-ton of snorkeling, diving, water sports as well as the convenience of the country being really small so you can drive across it in 2 hours.  I was there in November and the bugs were AWFUL on the farm—but I was also a) on a farm b) came here during the “wet season” c) terribly unprepared. So just bring socks and long-sleeves and you’ll be fine.

 

 

LOCATION: 7/10

Central America is a great location weather-wise. A lot of rain in the “winter” (wet season) and it gets really hot, but never super cold. (no snow). This makes it ultimate camping weather, which is important during an apocalypse.

 

WATER: 9/10

Water a plenty here! When it’s the wet season, (if the air is ok), you could drink rain-water (and everyone has a rain-water collector.) If you find a spring, you could also drink from that.

 

Also, because it’s a coastal city, you can always get on a boat and paddle out to one of the keys (caye) for either R&R or escape!

 

LODGING: 6/10

Housing is kinda touch/miss in Central America as a whole. Some people have wood shacks with steel/tin roofs that are easily accessible to zombie hoards. Other people have cement/adobe huts with thatch roofs (again, not really zombie-proof). Many places in Belize were raised up, though, which IS pretty zombie proof—except they are made of wood (easily burnable). So housing may have to be reinforced.

 

FOOD: 9/10

My Belizean experience included a lot of farm food (There is an organic farm in Rancho Dolores, btw) which was all delicious. Papaya, oranges, limes, lemon, kumquats, bananas (a plenty), coconut, rum, sugar cane, beans, onion, ginger, etc were all on the menu every night. The locals all have chicken-coops and cows and sheep and other animals that are all tasty when prepared. The other nice thing is that the locals all know how to butcher meat/eat well— so if you find a local who isn’t undead, you’re in luck!

 

COSTCO/SUPPLIES: 4/10

You won’t have a problem finding a machete, but finding guns/gun supplies will, most definitely, be more difficult. I never found a need to go and get weird/random things that weren’t available at a local store, which is nice. If you are willing to “camp” for a while- you’ll be fine.

 

NON-DEAD DANGERS:  2/10

Oy… where do I begin?

-panthers

-fire ants

-fer de lances (pit viper snakes)

-mosquitos (malaria…. Very rare, though.)

-scorpions (I didn’t see one)

-Tarantulas (actually, they are pretty docile, but a worry, none-the-less).

-rats/mice a-plenty (potential rabies/diseases if they get in your food supply.

 

LOCALS/CULTURE: 7/10

There is definitely a lot of amazing and proud culture in Belize. A lot of the locals are from Africa (slave ships) or from other countries in Central America. All have amazing ancestor tips/tricks as well as ways to celebrate/have a good time (almost all include rum).

 

Dec 23rd, Leon, Nicaragua

Dear Mom,

I went volcano sledding. Hold on, let me repeat that for you. I SLEDDED DOWN A VOLCANO! Yep. new sport. Basically, you hike (30 min) up the side of the youngest (and most active) volcano in all of central america (Cerro Negro) with a make-shift toboggan (basically a board with a piece of PVC pipe on the front and a piece of formica board on the back), change into an orange jumpsuit (“for protection”), take a deep breath and sled down.

The “ash” is basically fish-gravel (but black, smelly and hot). The sun was beating down on us and most people were still hungover from the night before (the Big Foot Hostel had a huge party the night before with free drinks and a lot of beer pong). The sunset was breathtaking and the thrill of going 70+km on a piece of wood (DOWN A VOLCANO) is totally worth the price of admission (25$– plus you get 2 free mojitos… If you survive).

The only scary thing was the potential of the mountain spewing at any minute. Other than that- it is just a great story and bucket-list item. Not to mention that Leon, Nicaragua is probably one of the safest and cleanest cities I’ve been to yet in all of Central America. Totally worth a visit.


Dec 24th, Isla Los Brasiles, North of Poneloya, Leon, Nicaragua

Dear Mom,

The Hostel had a special where they drove you to the beach for the day and then they provided an all-you-can-stuff x-mas dinner with an open bar. I gladly paid the 25$ and laid on the beach and did absolutely nothing. To say this is paradise is an understatement. Except for the 15 people that were included in the special, the beach was deserted. It was actually a sea-turtle sanctuary (Nicaraguans will scour the beaches in search for the eggs, dig them up, and sell them on the black market. This organization buys the eggs back from them, hatches them as best as they can and releases them back into the wild.) So after a very hectic day of laying on the beach, sunbathing and playing in the bath-water-temperature ocean, I decided to be productive and save some sea turtles before going back to the hostel for an amazing dinner that didn’t disappoint! 🙂


Dec 28th, San Jose, Costa Rica (Zapote)

Dear Mom,

I went to see a bull fight today at the “Annual Festival”. The whole area was set up with carnival rides, beer and food tents, and a huge stadium that holds (maybe) 5K. The seats are, well, ok–there are no seats. More just like platforms. In the center is a dirt pit and a “moat-like area” that holds all the people (out of reach of the bull).

My (crazy) friends were in the moat until it was their turn to jump into the pit with the bull. No one, sadly, was able to explain to me why this stuff happens– except it’s like Central America’s version of Hockey…. You wait for the blood to show up and then you get all excited and really pay attention.

I should note, though, that my friends got a t-shirt and admission (and the best seats in the house)– and I had to pay 30$USD for a semi-crappy seat. So I think they got the better bargain. (Remember: Risking your life sometimes pays off!)

Would I have jumped in as well? ABSOLUTELY! But someone had to take the pictures.


That’s all for this week, Mom… I hope you didn’t have a heart attack from this.

Love,

LN

I meant to write this a long time ago, but time slipped away from me.

THE ATM TOUR!!!! SOOOO COOL!!!

A caving adventure where a guide takes you, not just to see ancient Maya artifacts, but give you an experience of a life-time.

Tour Guide:

Carlos Panti (From everything I’ve read, he’s the best. He has his own company now- so give him an email: carlos.caveguide(at)yahoo(dot)com.


Place:

San Ignacio, Belize.


Cost:

75$USD (or 150$Belize).


Things I wish I did differently:

They suggest to bring snacks, good shoes, towel, change of clothes, and bug spray. Carlos told us to not use bug spray anymore as it’s killing the wildlife once you go swimming (which you do). Besides that, I wish I brought more snacks (so I could have shared with the group) and warmer clothes for the ride back. I wore my Vibrams and that was probably the best idea I’ve ever had.


Who’s it for?

People who like rock-climbing, caving, exploring ruins, hiking, going on “real Indiana Jones adventures”, getting an amazing workout.


Who is it NOT for?

Kids under 12(ish), unfit people, closterphobic people, people who can’t swim well (or freak out if their heads are under water), people who don’t like water/caves.


My experience:

I stayed in San Ignacio for the night and went on the tour the next morning. You hike for 45 minutes through the jungle and cross a river 3x (the same river every time). Then we stopped for lunch and a swim in the most clear water I’ve ever seen! It was basically magical. Then Carlos gave us headlamps and took us into the cave.

We swam into it (as it was too deep to walk) and turned on our helmet lights. Carlos told us a crap ton of Maya culture (fun fact, it’s not “mayan” unless you’re talking about the Mayan Language). What they were like, what history tells us, what this cave may/may not tell us, what historians have found here, what biologists have found here, etc. (It was quite the history lesson and I loved every bit of it!)

In between history and guiding, we walked/climbed/oriented through sections of really slippery/sharp rocks and spiky stalagmites hanging from the ceiling. There was even a segment called “decapitation rock” where you squeezed through this segment of cave where the skinniest part of you (your neck) had to get past this jagged rock. As a team, we all helped each other through the cave without getting hurt.

One of my favorite parts was this big open room with a pretty shallow floor and Carlos told us to turn off our lights. We wandered into the cave in total pitch-black. Using our footsteps as a sonar and “trusting our hearts” we made it through that section. The quietness and pitch-black-ness is unlike anything that you experience on land. Carlos would sometimes yell out suggestions of “Think about the Mayans and what it was like coming down here with just a torch… What do you feel? What do you think you see? Are you using your heart or are you straining your eyes?”

Once inside the main chamber (how the mayans did this with pots on their heads, I’ll never know) we turned on our lights and climbed up some giant rocks to a much drier part of the cave. Took off our shoes (as to preserve as much as possible) and continued onto the magic.

We saw dozens upon dozens of pots in all sorts of conditions, shapes and sizes. Some were perfect. Some were cracked, but most were in their original positions– still with stuff (chili peppers and other sacrifice materials) inside! Some were in places that only Gawd can explain on how they got there (with no light and no equiptment—how did they get them up 30 meters??? UNBROKEN!??) This main room was, or so we were told, a sacrifice room where they would pray to the Gods for some rain and leave offerings (sometimes people. We saw 4 human body remains total).

Overall- the tour was AMAZING and my silly descriptive words don’t do it justice at all. Honestly guys, it’s worth every penny and more. They are probably going to be closing it/restricting it soon (I didn’t have to sign a waiver and there were no built up pathways like there would be in the states– that will all change soon. As well as achiologists taking out the pottery and analyzing it). They don’t allow cameras anymore because some jabroni dropped his on a skull and broke it. 😦 So here is a decent video on Youtube.