Oct 16 2009

Flutters and Whoosh


I started the day by waking up under a shelf.  How unusual!  I woke up under a shelf because it as the easiest place to make a little bed.  After I woke up we ate breakfast.  but first we had to feed K M TARP!!  by the way, Mungo is K M TARP.  K M TARP stands for King Mungo the Amazing Ridgie Pharaoh.  And then, we got going.  Our first adventure was the flutterbys.  We saw lots of different chrysalises and some cocoons.  PA150331 PA150332  Some flutterbys were coming out of their chrysalises when we were looking at them.  These people don’t actually collect the chrysalises that the find in their garden and then pin them to a board.  They actually buy them from other places and they let the flutterbys live there.  And when I said “pin them to a board”  they don’t hurt the flutterbys  at all.  They make sure that they hit a part that isn’t flutterby.  Another thing we saw in the flutterby garden was an owl flutterby caterpillar.  PA150341  Some people in Costa Rica eat those things!  And here’s the flutterby.  PA150339 And here is the monarch caterpillar.  PA150340 The monarch’s favourite things to eat and live on are poisonous plants.  One of their favourites is the milkweed plant.  This makes them poisonous, too, so birds and other animals don’t eat them.  We also saw a moth that was as big as this: BThat’s with its wing spread out.

We also went ziplining and swung on a Tarzan swing.  The ziplines stared off small and pretty slow, and finished with a speedy 1km zipline.  Sean and I both needed a guide to go with us so we didn’t stop in the middle.  PA150380   There was one that was just right for us to go down alone.  Twice Sean and I had to go down together.  The first time, I think the guide was just being silly.  But the second time was on the 1km.  Everyone had to go with another person, and Sean an I only count as half a person!  Sigh……  I hate only half existing.  The ziplines were mostly all connected together.  The landing/taking off platforms up in trees except for the last two.  Sometimes we would have to walk between ziplines but not very often. 

We did a Tarzan swing!  The Tarzan was about twenty feet long and was connected to a thick tree branch.  The guides would hook you up to the ropes with a couple other ropes and then you jump off the platform.  As soon as you jump off the platform you drop about ten feet before the ropes catch you and you start to swing.  The first time you swing away from the platform and start to come back, you get a pit in your stomach.  Then it looks like you’re going to hit the dirt wall thee platform’s built on before you start to swing out again.  Eventually you get close enough to the ground that the guys at the bottom start to try to grab your legs to slow you down.  Once  you’re slowed down enough, they put up a big set of inner tubes and they catch you.  But you only got to do the Tarzan swing once!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh, well….     

Oct 8 2009

The Stalking Birthday Tape


   Well, today I turned eleven and I don’t feel any older.  This isn’t strange because all a birthday is is just an exact date that makes you exactly eleven, not 10 and 364/365.  I didn’t really get anything for my birthday that was wrapped up in fancy paper.  My first gift was waking up at 6:30 so that we would be ready for a tour at 7:30.  I guess that isn’t so bad because that’s the time I’m usually awake by.  I got a “Happy Birthday” from Mum and Dad.  Nothing from Sean because he was too busy sleeping. 

   After breakfast we met the guide and off we went to the van.  As soon as I get in I see the Stalking Birthday Tape!! Ahhh!!!  The Stalking Birthday Tape says “Happy Birthday   Happy Birthday”  The “I” is a birthday candle.  So I got mad at Mum because I didn’t like the birthday tape. 

   I thought the Stalking Birthday Tape was gone until we went to the restaurant for supper.  On the table, straight down the middle, was the Stalking Birthday Tape!!!  Ahhh!!!  And then the waiter dude came and put a candle on the table.  Mum…..  After that everything was okay.  That is, until the waiter dude came with a cake that had a candle on it next a plastic hippo.  OH NO!!!  That’s OUR plastic hippo!  Mum…  Putting a plastic hippo on a doughnut or a small piece of cake at home and then singing “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas”  has been a family tradition for three years.  And the cake was GOOD!!!

   In case you were wondering, the Stalking Birthday Tape is currently hanging above my bed.  Dad…..

Aug 23 2009

Volcanic Vun


Ta-da!  My first blog for who knows how long.  Yesterday we all hiked up Volcan Pacaya.  On the drive there nobody really looked at the driver’s speedometer(I think) so we don’t no if he was speeding then.  I’ll write what I mean about that later.  As soon as you get out of the special white tourist van, all the little kids come up to you and say “Do you want stick? Is necesito for walk and poke lava.”  Another thing that they ask is “Hey, wanna buy horse. For ride on trail.”  Say no to them all, then try not to lose your guide while you leave the parking lot and get onto the trail.

The first hour of the hike is through a forest.  And then, all at once, you come out of the trees and see a big, black mountain in front of you.  P8220100 Bang.  And when you stand still all the stick-and-horse-sellers that are hiding behind their horses(that are for rent) sneak up behind you and ambush you with their sticks, horses, and buy stick or horse for volcan’s.  Eventually our guide stopped chatting with all of her friends and started to walk again.  When you walk on crumbled up lava rock it’s very easy to tell that it isn’t plain old ordinary dirt.  Walking through crumbled up lava rock is kind of like walking through dry sand.  It isn’t very packed down and if you go off the trail the gravel is very deep and you start to slide a bit. 

Once we got as high as we were going(the shoulder on the right side of the volcano), we started to feel the heat in the air.  Dad pointed out that in some places the air was shimmering a little bit from the heat waves.  We were all pretty sure that the heat was coming out through the cracks in the cold lava.  Later she told us that the lava was only THREE DAYS OLD!!!  P8220104 Hmmmmm…  Any way, we didn’t see the marshmallow roasting holes until it was time to.  First we stumbled to a place where we view the erupting of the volcano.  P8220154 The volcano doesn’t erupt from the top because it’s easier to go out the side. 

Now, it is time to roast marshmallows.  Our guide brought us back to the place where the air was shimmering, but she brought us farther away from the trail than Sean and I went.  If you read Mum’s blog before mine, you’ll know what her new worst-thing-ever is.  She hates walking on ice that is over water for fear of falling through.  So walking on three inch thick cold lava that is over top of hot lava is even worse.  It doesn’t help that there are holes that have lava in them in clear view.  I just have to rub it in. “Oh, look, there’s a red hot hole.  There’s another one.  And another.  Oh, look, we’re jumping over one right now!!!  Listen, when I stomp on the rock, it sounds hollow.”  When you roast the marshmallows over the red hot holes, you can’t stop turning the stick for very long or the marshmallows catch on fire.  It takes about one minute to roast four marshmallows at the same time.  Sean dropped his stick into the marshmallow roasting hole that we used and it didn’t have to to touch anything to catch on fire.

On the way back to Antigua, Mom, another girl from Calgary, and I were talking and Erica(the other girl from Calgary) asked how fast the driver was going.  Mom looked and said that the driver was going 120 kph.  The speed limit on the road we were on was 80 kph.  The road was very curvy and when he turned I slid a bit.  Later the speed limit changed to 40 kph so I checked his speedometer and it said that he was going 90 kph.  This driver also did a lot of swerving back and forth to get around other drivers that were going the proper speed.

Jul 25 2009

Volcanoes + Lake = Floating Rock Fun!!


Today we all went for a walk around town.  Around this town(San Pedro) there are a lot of mountains and a few volcanoes.  There is also a lot of lake.  So when your walk takes you to the lake, and there is a lot of white, light rocks on the shore and the water, something has to happen.  Floating rock fun!!  There are a lot of lava rocks on the shore, and there are a few that are just floating on the water.  Some are heavier than others, but all of the white rocks and some of the brownish-blackish rocks float.  Once thrown into the water, the heavy ones take some time to resurface, but the light ones barely submerge at all.  P7240213  And once you realize that they float back to you, you have to start picking at them to see how soft they are.  And when you realize that you can dig a hole in them with your fingernail, you have to start grinding them against harder rocks. P7240217  And once you start grinding them against harder rocks, you have to start grinding them into things.  There, I think that I’m finally done explaining the process of playing with lava rocks.  Sean made an arrowhead and a die, and I made a rectangular prism.  YAY FOR THE VOLCANOES AND THE LAKE!!!

Jul 5 2009

Frog Blog


At night the frogs begin to sing their wonderful song of frog.  Unless it is raining.  Then the song is quieter and the rain is louder.  We are camped at a RV park/Hotel called Villa Patzcuaro.  The town that  we are in is also called Patzcuaro.  There is a small pond near the bathroom that isn’t filled with sewer water.  All there the frogs live in and around that pond.  I have three stories to tell about the frogs.

The first story is the Story of the First Races.  These races happened the day after we got to this campsite and realized that there were frogs.  Here are some pictures of the First Frog.  P6290049 P6290051 

The First Races were between Sean and I.  We each took a frog and raced them from one side of a rectangle to the other.  Sean could have won 7-6 but he forfeited so I won!!  Here is some footage live from the races.


And here is a picture of Sean’s Champion Frog. P6290056   


Story Number Two is the Story of the Family Races.  We have no pictures of that but let me tell you, it was way more exciting.  We all had candies and before each race, everyone would put a candy in the middle.  The winner got all of the candy.  On these races, the stadium was a circle.  It had a smaller circle in the middle.  That is were everyone put their frogs at the start.  I would say “Ready, Set, Go!” and we would all let go of our frogs.  You weren’t allowed to touch, blow, or scare your frog to make it win.  All you could do was cheer and hope that your frog won.  In the end, Sean had the most candy, I got second, Mum third, and Dad got fourth. 

And the third story is the Story of Trying to take a Video of Frogs at Night.  Even if you have a very good camera it is very hard to take a video of a frog at night.  There isn’t enough light and you end up with a big, black recording of frog croaking.  I wanted a video of a frog croaking so I just tried to find one with a headlight and hope the camera can see it too!!  But, most of the videos were no good so they were all erased… except for this one!!  I was doing a lot of fooling around with the zoom but you can see this little mister the entire time.  He’s in the middle and he’s green, incase you couldn’t find him.