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Reflecting: 2012

I guess this makes it a tradition now.

  1. Celebrated New Years in Antigua Guatemala with some Quezalteca. Paid the price in the morning.
  2. Climbed the Mayan temple of Xunantunich in San Ignacio, Belize
  3. Waded across rivers and swam into the mouth of a cave to explore the ancient Mayan sacrifices in Actun Tunichil Muknal
  4. Dove over 100 meters into the ancient sinkhole from the ice age at The Blue Hole in Belize
  5. Explored one of the largest ancient Mayan civilization of Tikal in Guatemala
  6. Bruised my face getting hit by a car while a riding bike
  7. Visited the house where a young Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in Atlanta, Georgia
  8. Biked through Bogoto, Colombia on a graffiti tour
  9. Ascended over 3,000 meters while joining a pilgrimage to the top of Monserrate in Bogota
  10. Drank an aphrodisiac milkshake made of blended (live) crabs and alcohol on the streets of Bogota
  11. Consumed copious amounts of the most delicious Colombian exotic fruits
  12. Partied with some of the most beautiful women on the planet in Medellin, Colombia
  13. Scaled the crooked staircases wedged into El Peñón de Guatapé
  14. Licked BBQ sauce off my fingers at The Salt Lick in Austin, Texas
  15. Got my lime on in St. Kitts & Nevis
  16. Scuba dived through the hull of a sunken ship off the coast of St. Kitts
  17. Got blown into the ocean by the hot blast of air from a jet engine in St. Maarten
  18. Camped in the Appalachian Mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway from North Carolina to Virginia
  19. Toured the house and plantation of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
  20. Stood in the very room where U.S. Bill of Rights was ratified in Richmond Virginia
  21. Honored the fallen heroes buried at Arlington National Cemetery
  22. Walked up the steps of The United States Supreme Court
  23. Toured Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s, MLKs, Roosevelt’s, The Vietnam, WWI & WWII memorials in Washington D.C.
  24. Hung out in George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon
  25. Saw the crack in the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia
  26. Taste-tested no less than 5 Philly Cheesesteaks
  27. Ran up the “Rocky Balboa” steps in Philadelphia
  28. Set foot inside the Independence Hall where The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were adopted.
  29. Imprisoned myself inside the Eastern State Penitentiary in the cell next door to Al Capone’s
  30. Toured Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty
  31. Mourned at Grand Zero
  32. Watched The Book of Mormons on Broadway
  33. Climbed to the top of The Empire St. building in New York City
  34. Cruised on a ferry underneath the Brooklyn Bridge to the Figment Festival on Governors Island
  35. Partied with thousands of boricua’s in the streets of New York for the Puerto Rican Day Parade
  36. Gawked in the Guggenheim
  37. Relived my childhood in Bethel, CT
  38. Swung on a bench-swing while enjoying the sunset over Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont
  39. Sampled a new Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor at their factory in Montpelier, Vermont
  40. Heard a Who in Springfield, Massachusetts
  41. Broke into the dome of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount-Royal to catch an awesome sunset over Montreal
  42. Talked my way into permission to take photos inside of the private library of Canada’s Parliament
  43. Dunked my head into a quarry 200 feet below me at the end of Canada’s tallest bungee jump
  44. Rode a bamboo bicycle through the graffiti-filled alleys of Toronto, Canada
  45. Stood behind the roaring water falls of Niagara
  46. Rocked out at the Rock & Roll hall of fame in Cleveland, Ohio
  47. Milked a cow and ate dinner with an Amish family in Millersburg, Ohio
  48. Survived a ferocious lightning/hail/wind storm in Jackson Center, Ohio
  49. Played games at Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Machines in Detroit, Michigan
  50. Cruised through the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana
  51. Uncovered a top-secret SR-71B Blackbird jet
  52. Urbex explored a decrepit church in Gary, Indiana
  53. Watched the 4th of July fireworks explode over Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois
  54. Photographed Chicago’s skyline at dusk from alongside Lake Michigan
  55. Walked a lap in The Great Mall in Saint Paul, Minnesota
  56. Found one of the meanings of life in the Badlands National Park in South Dakota
  57. Laughed at the corniness of The Corn Palace in Mitchel, South Dakota
  58. Stared up the presidents nostrils at Mount Rushmore in Keystone South Dakota
  59. Sat in a Bison-induced traffic jam in Yellowstone National Park
  60. Waited for The Grand Geyser to blow in Yellowstone. Totally worthy it!
  61. Smelled sulfurous gasses spew from the bubbling mud pits in Yellowstone
  62. Stood in the center of the universe in Wallace, Idaho
  63. Climbed rock towers in Frenchman Coulee, Washington
  64. Contributed my chewed gum to The Gum Wall at Pikes Market in Seattle, Washington
  65. Landed in a sea plane in a lake on the south-side of Kodiak Island in Alaska
  66. Played a game of chicken with a brown bear in Kodiak, Alaska. The bear won.
  67. Crossed the Arctic Circle on the perilous Dalton Highway
  68. Drove the Seward highway and discovered the diverse wildlife of Alaska
  69. Rode ATV’s through Denali National Park and caught a glimpse of Mt. McKinley’s summit
  70. Stood underneath the Alaskan pipeline
  71. Drank an apple-tini from an ice glass at an ice bar inside an ice hotel in Chena, Alaska
  72. Spooked a wild moose and her calf in Fairbanks, Alaska
  73. Feed some reindeer in North Pole, Alaska
  74. Hiked to a glacier in Juneau, Alaska
  75. Summoned my inner Homer Simpson at an old abandoned nuclear power plant in Elma, Washington.
  76. Watched glassmakers blow glass at the world renowned Museum of Glass on Tacoma, Washington
  77. Zenned-out at the Japanese Garden in Portland Oregon and then porked out Voodoo Doughnuts
  78. Hiked to the top of Multnomah, Falls in Oregon
  79. Kite-boarded and stand-up paddle-boarded on the Hood River in Oregon
  80. Got soaked from the spray of ocean water as it rushed into Devil’s Churn
  81. Climbed to the top of Smith Rock in Oregon
  82. Rafted down the Big Eddy Thriller rapids of the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon
  83. Stumbled my way through the pitch-dark Lava River Cave near Bend, Oregon
  84. Hiked to the top of Watchman Peak and watched the sun rise over Crater Lake
  85. Stood with giants at the Redwood National Park in California
  86. Experienced an extended deja-vu in Mendocino California
  87. Completed a 2-year 23,822-mile cross-country road-trip around North America
  88. Watched the Space Shuttle Endeavour fly over the Golden Gate Bridge
  89. Completed a 13-hour hike from the valley floor to the top of Half Dome and back in Yosemite National Park
  90. Dined on a 7-course meal at one of the finest restaurants in Lima Peru and attended a beauty pageant as a VIP guest of the bathing suit designer
  91. Scuba dove with hammer-head sharks, sea lions, octopus, sea turtles and more in The Galapagos Islands
  92. Swam in Tortuga Bay in The Galapagos Islands
  93. Climbed to the top of Sierra Negra and witnessed the most amazing sunset on my birthday
  94. Straddled the two hemispheres at the center of the earth in Quito, Ecuador
  95. Soaked in natural hot springs after experiencing the excruciating head pressure associated with altitude sickness in the mountains of Quito, Ecuador
  96. Pulled an all-nighter in Bogota Colombia and partied with some bohemian Colombians
  97. Relaxed with friends on the beaches of El Salvador
  98. Attended the opening day of the Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit at The Science Center in Los Angeles
  99. Leapt out of an airplane all by myself and fell through a cloud.
  100. Helped out those in need by donating some old clothes and feeding the homeless on Christmas.
  101. Sweated profusely at my first Bikram yoga experience.

Staring At The World Through My Rearview

“Just looking back at the world, from another level, ya know what I mean?”

Reflecting: 2011

Reflecting back on 2011 here are 99 of my top memories (in chronological order). Thanks to all that shared in the experiences!

  1. Shared life goals and dreams with great friends at the Sanctuary of Truth in Ancient Siam, Thailand
  2. Smobbed through traffic running from the police on some janky scooters in Bali, Indonesia
  3. Scuba diving in the Gili islands of Indonesia
  4. Whitewater rafting down the Telaga Waja River in Bali, Indonesia
  5. Got buzzed off Luwak coffee in the hills of Ubud, Indonesia
  6. Listened to the chanting and watched the traditional Kecak Dance at the Uluwatu Temple in Bali, Indonesia
  7. Bungee jumped a BMX bike off a platform into a pool below in Bali, Indonesia
  8. Witnessed traditional Thaipusam rituals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  9. Smelled the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  10. Made $100,000,000,000,000 (that’s one-hundred-trillion) Zimbabwe dollars in Malaca, Malaysia
  11. Kayaked through the waters of Halong Bay, Vietnam
  12. Saw Ho-Chi-Minh’s body in Hanoi, Vietnam
  13. Nearly got run over by hundreds of scooters in the street of Hanoi, Vietnam
  14. Saw dogs heads for sale (presumably to be eaten) in Hanoi, Vietnam
  15. Got fitted for a custom tailored suit made in Hoi An, Vietnam
  16. Hiked through the MySon Relics of Hoi An, Vietnam
  17. Celebrated Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) with a spectacular fireworks show in Nha Trang, Vietnam
  18. Rode a red-eye sleeper train from Nha Trang to Saigon, Vietnam
  19. Shared beers (with dirty ice from a burlap sack) with some old Vietnamese men that didn’t speak a lick of English in the streets of Saigon, Vietnam
  20. Crawled through the underground Cu-Chi tunnels and fired an AK47 used during the Tet Offensive in Saigon, Vietnam
  21. Witness the effects of Agent Orange at the War Remnants Museum in Saigon, Vietnam
  22. Hiked through Angkor Wat during sunrise in Siem Reap, Cambodia
  23. Watched the sun fall from atop a temple in Angkor Thom in Siem Reap, Cambodia
  24. Donated to the Cambodia Landmine Museum Relief Fund to help them remove more active landmines from the Cambodian/Thailand border
  25. Got tickled by fish that ate the dead skin off my feet while I sipped on a glass of wine in Siem Reap, Cambodia
  26. Road a horse through the old rice fields of Siem Reap, Cambodia
  27. Toured the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida
  28. Drove my RV on the famous Daytona Beach in Daytona Beach, Florida
  29. Ate a feast at The Wilkes House in Savannah, Georgia
  30. Peered through others peoples prayers at the smallest church in America in South Newport, Georgia
  31. Took a bike ride around St. Simons Island, Georgia
  32. Boated out to the start of the Civil War at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina
  33. Went rock climbing in Charleston, South Carolina
  34. Relaxed in the shade of the giant 400-year old Angel Oak Tree outside of Charleston, South Carolina
  35. Sat on “A Bench By The Road” on Sullivan Island, South Carolina
  36. Hollered in Spivey’s Corner, the “Hollerin’ Capital of the Universe”
  37. Deciphered the original Rosetta Stone at the British Museum in London, England
  38. Straddled the international dateline in Greenwhich, England
  39. Walked through the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France
  40. Climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
  41. Listened to hymns at Notre Dame in Paris, France
  42. Road bikes and dominated baguettes & babies in Versailles, France
  43. Picnicked on the grounds of Marie Antoinette’s old Palace of Versailles in France
  44. Saw Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa at Musée du Louvre in Paris, France
  45. Avoided paying for an overpriced ticket to Moulin Rouge in Paris, France
  46. Ingested a “Mother of Pain” currywurstspezialitäten (1,000,000 on the Scoville scale) after signing a liability waiver in Leipzig, Germany
  47. Witnessed the atrocities of Hitler’s concentration camps in Auschwitz, Poland
  48. Participated in a scavenger hunt through downtown San Francisco, California
  49. Launched a new version of MFI new hobby of kiteboarding in the Outer Banks of North Carolina
  50. Retraced the path of the Wright Brothers first 4 flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
  51. Marveled at the Bodies exhibit in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  52. Witnessed an amazing 4th of July fireworks display in Savanna, Georgia
  53. Tried smoked rattlesnake meat in St. Augustine, Florida
  54. Witnessed the final launch of the Space Shuttle program (STS-135) in person in Titusville, Florida
  55. Flew my first international flight as a pilot in a Cessna 172 from Florida, USA to Freeport, Bahamas
  56. Snorkeled in the crystal clear waters from a catamaran of Icacos, Puerto Rico
  57. Whitewater rafting down the Pacuare River in Squires, Costa Rica
  58. Slept in a hammock at Rockin J’s in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
  59. Scuba diving in Bocas del Toro, Panama
  60. Took a private water taxi to Star Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama
  61. Zip-lining through the tree canopy in Red Frog Beach, Panama
  62. Watched ocean-liners pass through the Panama Canal
  63. Performed my first “elevator jump” bungee jump into the fog above a river near La Fortuna, Costa Rica
  64. Soaking in the hot springs during a violent thunderstorm while lightening illuminated the silhouette of a volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica
  65. Went on a nature walk and saw sloths, monkeys, toucans, frogs, lizards, and more in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
  66. Spent the night on a converted oil rig in the waters of Semporna Malaysia
  67. Scuba diving in one of the Top 10 diving locations in the world in Spipidan, Malaysia
  68. Followed a Xmas parade down the cobblestone streets to a soccer game in Antigua, Guatemala
  69. Disconnected and relaxed along the shore of Late Atitlan, in Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala
  70. Saw the ruins of Joya de Cerén in San Salvador, El Salvador
  71. Climbed the old Myan pyramids of Tazumal where the heads from human sacrifices used to roll down in Chalchuapa, El Salvador
  72. Roamed the colorful streets of Grenada, Nicaragua
  73. Hiked up and volcano-boarded down the black ash of Volcan Cerro Negro in Leon, Nicaragua
  74. Thumbed my nose at an antiquated embargo and traveled to Cuba
  75. Navigated precarious and unmarked roads in a rental car with a bent rim to Cienfuegos, Cuba
  76. Lived with Cuban families in “casa particulars” and learned about life in communist Cuba
  77. Listened to rumba music on the steps of Casa la Musica in Trinidad, Cuba
  78. Galloped on horseback across the Cuban countryside to a waterfall up in the mountains of Trinidad, Cuba
  79. Witness firsthand as Cubans lined up in a breadline (and milk-line) for their weekly rations in Trinidad, Cuba
  80. Sampled Cuba’s infamous $7.00 CUP ($0.40 USD) street pizzas in Santa Clara, Cuba
  81. Witnessed the final resting place and monument of Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Santa Clara, Cuba
  82. Stayed in a 5-star resort and relaxed on the white sand beaches of Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba
  83. Drank an overpriced, watered-down Mojito at La Bodeguia Del Medio in La Havana Vieja, Cuba
  84. Sipped daiquiris at Floradita Restaraunte Bar, Earnest Hemmingway’s old watering hole in Havana, Cuba
  85. Marveled at the communist propaganda throughout Havana, Cuba
  86. Photographed old school cars parked outside of the Capitolo in downtown Havana, Cuba
  87. Met the famous Cuban artist Leo D’Zázaro at his studio El Ojo Del Ciclón in Havana, Cuba
  88. Strolled down El Malecón while sipping on Havana Club rum in Havana, Cuba
  89. Watched kids playing stickball with a broom and bottlecap in the streets the Centro district of Havana, Cuba
  90. Shared a Xmas eve feast — Cuban style — with my hosts in Havana, Cuba
  91. Hitched a ride in a old “Yank Tank” with a Cuban, Mexican, and Lebanese to Playa de Este, Cuba
  92. Ate a Xmas day pig roast on the Santa María del Mar beach in Havana, Cuba
  93. Toured Partagas Cigar factory and bought some Cohiba cigars from shady factory workers in Havana, Cuba
  94. Walked through Necropolis Cristóbal Colón at sundown in the Vedado area of Havana, Cuba
  95. Swam from Playa de Cerado out to a reef and then scuba dove (because Cubans aren’t allowed on boats) in Ciamito, Cuba
  96. Ate a $1.00 CUP ($0.04 USD) scoop of ice cream at the state-run Coppelia in Havana, Cuba
  97. Photographed the murals and sculptures of Salvador González Escalona on Callejon De Hamel in Havanah, Cuba
  98. Celebrated the end of the year and the start of the next on Calle del Arco in Antigua, Guatemala

Cramming In San Salvador

It would be silly to not stop in El Salvador for at least a night, and really, that’s all it takes to get a sense for this country when you’ve got an amazing tour guide (contact Mac here if you need a guide anywhere in Central America).

For some reason this country felt a little more dangerous that most others, so one night was plenty for me. On to the next one.

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