Diagram of a Blue Footed Booby

The Blue footed booby is a unique creature that gets its Blue feet from Blue collegen in fish they eat. They nest in the ground but hunt at sea. They look really funny but if you get to close sometimes they’ll peck you.(diagram by me)

 

The Amazing Galapagos


We recently embarked on a 4 day cruise around the Galapagos, we saw many things including turtles, blue footed boobies, sea lions, marine iguanas, and many other animals along with beautiful snorkeling, hiking, beaches, and lots of fun! My favorite animals were the sea lions because they are sooooo cute and also are very playful. When we swam with them they would play with us pretending they would run into us and then turning away or doing flips and jumping out of the water. The landscape was just amazing, it made me think about how we should protect this and how maybe in the future people would never get to expeirience anything even remotely like this. The Galapagos is truly an amazing place, it has some of the worlds best snorkeling and has numerous endemic species found only there. The fact is that humans are animals of the earth just as much as the next animal but we are just more advanced therefore we have a larger impact. When we have larger impact we must right our wrong and protect our nature before it disappears. Believe it or not animals and plants help us in many ways, disposing of waste and giving us air are just two of the many services they provide and without them we would undoubtly be lost in a world of pain. It makes you appreciate the earth and its biodiversity more. I think we should all treat the earth better so that together we can make a difference.

 

One guide on 3 steps to a good vacation, one guide on 0 steps to an excellent vacation.

Living from one hotel to the next and traveling far is hard, especially for long periods at a time. When you are staying in different places you start to miss the comforts of home and appreciate your daily comforts more. Moving is tiring, unpack, pack etc. It’s repetitive and dull. I get headaches and frequently try to remember why I chose to come on this trip. We have long periods of time where we participate in a world renowned sport called doing nothing aka boredom. Sitting in cars and waiting to check in isn’t much fun. No one likes to wait, well maybe there is someone who does but that’s sorta weird. Anyways… if traveling is soooooo hard and soooooo bad then why do we do it? The answer to the aforementioned question is generally to see cool things (I pity those who have to travel like this for work). When you stray from home you see things you have never seen before, experience things you’ve never experienced before, and then there is also the thrill of travel. The thrill of travel is something unique, when you bond with new people and see new things it’s really special. If you never went anywhere you would never get to see so much of what our world has to offer, you could have fun and do new things. This is why people enjoy travel, not to be confused with a vacation, I think that they are almost the same thing but vacation you are just taking time off. Taking time off is step one step two is doing something. When you start step two you pick a place, draw a plan and start, no I’ll do it next holiday or the like. Step three is to have fun because often times when people go on vacation they get caught up in logistics (not me I’m a kid!) or worries and forget to enjoy the experience, “How was you vacation? I don’t remember because I was too busy worrying. Obviously this isn’t the easiest task and planning ahead is a good idea. That was the three tips part but I actually found a solution that includes zero steps! Step zero is book a trip to Costa Rica with Il Viaggio Travel (link added by my mom) who will provide you with a guide and plan out everything for you. You will get to drive in a nice car, have snacks and refreshments and see all the things you wanted. We just finished that section of our trip in Costa Rica and we had a lot of fun (It was my personal favorite country so far). Our guide was very nice and was a fount of knowledge, he was local and had lived in Costa Rica his whole life fluently speaking English and knowing the ins and outs of travel, guiding, and Costa Rica! I hope this bit inspires you to travel and experience new things.

 

Poem: A letter to Toucan from Me


A Letter to Toucan from Me (by Ethan)

Colorful, Toucan

Beak, and talons, sharp, smart, cunning

Majestic, Toucan
What are you thinking?

Bird thoughts? or maybe flight thoughts?

Soaring flying thoughts?
Where are you, Toucan?

Up Or Down? Flying in Dreams?

Hope it’s fun, Toucan
What foods do you like?

Berries? Nuts? Or coconuts?

Hope it’s good, Toucan
One letter for you

One letter Just for you, Toucan

A letter from me

 

Thoughts on the Guatemala City dump

Today we saw the Guatemala City garbage dump, the main dump for the capital of Guatemala. The garbage dump is about as large as 24 football fields put together. We viewed the dump from a cemetery above the valley, it was a chaotic site. Garbage trucks moved in and out and people flowed like water in a stream, trying to find treasure in the trash. Vultures circled, seemingly to mock the poor people who had to sort through garbage just to make a living. The birds rested on the ground, in trees, and feasted on anything they found.

The smell was horrendous, a sickening smell like old compost or rotting eggs. The ground was littered with piles of garbage that seemed to multiply in just the few minutes we watched. People raced to the newest trucks in hope of finding something valuable, others simply tried to find what people may have not seen in hopes of finding a hidden gem. These were the people who had been kicked to the bottom or even kicked out, they could not escape and were destined to stay here digging in the dirt and acting like a pack of starved wolves.

The Guatemala City dump is a sad place full of people who can’t find opportunity elsewhere. The sight of so many poor, homeless, pathetic people is saddening and it’s hard to look past how unfair it is. It was almost overwhelming to stand there and have so much more than these people, what must they have gone through to be forced to do this? How could they continue to live like this? It gave off a feeling foreboding as if this was what would happen if you didn’t succeed, it made you want to turn away and run.

 

Swimming Holes in Guatemala

There are many places that are fun to swim in Guatemala, these range from swimming holes to rivers and swimming pools. The few places mentioned in this post are my favorite and sort of not really favorite places that we as a family have swam during our 2.5 months living in Guatemala.

1. (Not because it’s the best) Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey is a series of pools located deep in the jungle, it is only accessible by an approximately (traffic and such) six hour drive (it took us about 8 hours). So why should you risk an aching butt and a stuffy car for this? Well I don’t really know because it’s not that amazing. This place is very beautiful full of small falls and crystal clear water but it’s not all amazing and great, the rocks are slippery and the water is cold, there isn’t many deep areas and places to jump are limited. Semuc Champey is one of the most advertised place along with Lake Atitlan (later) so it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to go.

2.(because It looks nice) Lake Atitlan

To avoid saying the obvious Lake Atitlan is a lake called Atitlan, no it’s really quite beautiful, it has clear water and very cute villages and lakeside homes. We stayed at a hotel on the lake known as Casa Del Mundo, it is situated on the edge of the lake terraced down a steep mountain. Travel is mostly by boat and there are many fun activities, this may not be the number one place to swim but it is a very nice place to stay, cool off, and just relax.

3.(it’s a cave!) Cueva Setzol

Cueva Setzol is a cave filled with water! After a small hike you will arrive at a large open cave with several areas both underground and above. The rocks are sharp but its alright when you are in the water, the water is deep enough to comfortably swim and there are several places to jump, the caves are large, stretching in many different directions. There are wonderful stalactite/stalagmite formations and interesting flora. After or before your swim you can explore numerous caves with some cool places! Remember to bring your flashlight and have a wonderful time!

 

4.(Numero uno) Las Conchas

Las Conchas is my personal favorite swimming area, comprising of several pools and waterfalls it is very beautiful. There is even a rope swing and pools of different depths. The area has places for camping and a waterfall to jump off, it is about twenty feet tall! The nice atmosphere combined with the water and waterfall make it worth it! It is not as famous as Semuc Champey but in my opinion is way more fun! The only downsides are that it can get cold and that it is out of the way and a bit of a hike without a car. It also has nice smooth not slippery rocks (Makes more difference than you think).

In conclusion these are all fun places to swim and you should definitely check out at least a few. The beaches I have gone too have been cool although I am going to Roatan so I may have different opinion (Roatan is in Honduras though so….)! Safe travels. 😀

 

Shopping, Money, and Rambo

   

  I already know what you’re thinking, “Aw darn, this post has no bullet points.” Yep, that’s right, just boring plain text. Anyways if your still reading this after seeing how it has no bullet points and how I said it will be boring then your in luck because I can sort of assure you that it is interesting (ok I can’t but maybe you’ll live through it anyways). On a not very side note and with all that out of the way its time talk about how my father became Rambo (sort of) and many other fun things that make Guatemala who it is, Guatemala! The unique place has a wealth of hand made crafts and arts made by locals. Each region can even have its own specialties between villages. Like that village I made up called Cpuchingy which specializes in exploding pig head mounted on ATVs 3 for the price of one! These beautiful creations can range from carvings and paintings to weaving and beadwork, many locals can often be found all along streets, in parks, and in stalls trying to make a living. One amazing place to find these crafts is Nim Po’t, this  market is run by locals and is a huge collection of hand made crafts. Could you really resist a pound bar of chocoalate? Some cool things we saw at Nim Po’t were a wall of colorful masks, beautiful beaded necklaces, and bins full of hackysacks. We decided to buy a hackysack, well my brother bought it but that’s ok because I can still throw it at him! As you enter this amazing market you can’t help it but be amazed by the many crafts adorning the warehouse-like building. This also leads me to how my dad became Rambo, in Nim po’t there is several of those posters where you stick your head in the hole and it makes you look like someone, when we saw the Rambo poster my dad started laughing so he went behind it and we took a picture (which will now be shared with the world muahahahaha!).

  

Doesn’t it look delicious? 

   Doesn’t all that shopping make you hungry?  You simply can’t leave out the food, food shopping is shopping too! Don’t discriminate! The food in Guatemala is hands down amazing – even the street food is amazing. From Native Guatemalan dishes to Italian food, this country offers many types of classic and fusion styles. My personal favorite is Rincon Tipico, a delicious mouth watering restaurant that only has maybe 6 menu options. Deliciously cooked and seasoned meats are served with blue tortillas, guacamole, chips, potatoes, and salad. Not to be neglected, even the local tiendas which dot every street sell yummy munchies both old and new types. On to the next topic or I will never stop talking about food! Money in Guatemala can get tricky with exchange rates and stuff but it’s pretty simple if you really think about it, one dollar US is equal to 6 quetzals, the national currency.

     How do you buy awesome things if you don’t speak the native language, Spanish? There is a simple answer… you can’t. So of course you need to know a little Spanish to buy yummy food! A useful Spanish question involving money is “¿Que hora es?” which means “how much” (very important for buying snacks!). Wait, I meant “¿Cuanto cuesta?”.  Another useful sentence is “me das…” or “can I have…”. That’s the end of this guide made with care from a cafe in Guatemala. Sorry this may not live up to my other guides in hilariousity (if that’s a word) but maybe it will help you in your trip to Guatemala or to reminisce about your own visit to one of the craziest countries around!

 

A concise guide to living in Guatemala

 This is a concise guide to living in Guatemala.

  1. Don’t get hit by a car, seriously.
  2. Don’t drink the water or you may end up with a slight case of amoebic dysentery.
  3. Eat as many tacos as possible.
  4. Always bargain at markets it’s part of the fun.
  5. Remember that baño is bathroom in Spanish.
  6. Try and get a guide for climbing a mountain. It’s generally an alright idea.
  7. Don’t be kidnapped!(or adultknapped when applicable)
  8. Watch out for fruit worms in your mangoes.
  9. Remember that it is roughly Q6.3 or 6.3 quetzals to one American dollar.
  10. Don’t clog the toilet by putting toilet paper in.
  11. Be super awesome! And say hi to everyone you meet, or good morning/afternoon/Night.

That was a concise post on how to live in Guatemala. From Ethan in Guatemala.