Olympos Night Swimming

“So, are we going to the beach or not?”

It was about 1 AM and a bunch of us were hanging around the garden at Bayram’s Treehouses, drinking beer, chain smoking, and challenging one another to riddles and brainteasers. We’d been planning on doing a night swim since hearing that afternoon that there were phosphorescent plankton in the water, but mostly we had just talked about it… and now that we’d stuffed ourselves on free dinner and gotten started with the drinking, those couches were feeling mighty comfortable and it didn’t seem like we were ever going to get up. I was laying back with my head on some cushions and my feet propped up on the discarded Backgammon board and my eyes were nearly starting to close on their own.

“Come on guys, we’re going.” Sarah, a blonde Australian who had been to the beach the night before and tipped us off to the bioluminescent phenomenon, was the de facto ringleader. She stood up and prodded all of us for a bit until we stopped grumbling and gathered up our things. I ran back to my room to drop off my bag and grab a flashlight and a towel, then we all set off.
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Tasting Death: eating fugu in Japan

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I’m a bit of a foodie (though honestly I dislike that word… can we come up with something better?) and I live for new experiences, so of course I had to try eating fugu, the poisonous pufferfish that is a delicacy in Japan. After doing a bit of research it turned out that it’s not really as dangerous as I had previously thought, since the preparation of the fish is so highly regulated in Japan and fatalities are quite rare. I was also a bit misled when I thought it was illegal back home in the United States, since apparently a couple restaurants in New York serve it. So that was a bit of a let down, but the idea of taking (however slight) a risk and trying some great sushi was still appealing when two of my new friends invited me to join them. Continue reading

Tayrona National Park Pt. 3: Sleeping in hammocks is overrated.

[This is Part 3 of my Tayrona adventure. Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 here.]

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So when I left off last I had been crowing about how I scored the last available hammock in the mirador for the night. I may have celebrated that victory a bit too quickly though, because those fancy hammocks are up at the top of this big rock formation and right over the water, and it was absolutely freezing once the sun went down! Plus, my amazing luck meant that it took until that exact day, nearly two weeks into my trip, for the traveler’s sickness to hit and that was the furthest area from the camp restroom. It also meant a somewhat treacherous climb in the dark over slippery rocks. (Seriously guys, bring a flashlight, no matter where in Tayrona you end up staying.) Continue reading

The Great Colombian Journal Hunt

I always meant to pack a journal to write in on my first solo trip, but it never happened. It may have been that my last week in New York was just so hectic I didn’t get a chance to buy one, or the fact that I came down with some kind of mutant head cold just days before setting off. In any case, it wasn’t until I was on the plane that I realized I hadn’t brought anything to write in, but at that point I wasn’t really concerned. This was the first trip of its kind for me, so who knew if I would have the time or inclination to write about my adventures as they were happening? I figured I could always just buy something once I landed in Cartagena.

This proved to be easier said than done, but in retrospect it was a blessing in disguise. It led to one of the stories I’ve told people over and over about how amazing the people you meet on the road can be.

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