I visited the Mérida zoo, with a small waterfall, camel, a lion, monkeys, birds, etc. An evil ferret bit me, so I got vaccinated for rabies just in case. Then I visited the botanical gardens, with pretty flowers, strange plants, a cute bridge, dense tree clumps, and even tree forts!

That weekend, I visited a quaint set of cabins near some hot springs and a cute graveyard with some friends. The hike to the hot springs was amazing. We made shish kabobs and pasta and fruit smoothies. We had an awesome time hanging out, playing cards, and drinking.

I spent Carnaval week in Colombia. First, to Santa Marta, with some nice beaches, islands, huts, spiky trees, cow statues, cool trees, suds spray wars in the streets, and of course lots of garbage.

But the crown jewel was Cartagena, especially the walled colonial city, with its great colonial architecture, cute little doors, crumbling amphitheater, homeless people, and cheap shaves. Then there’s the castle, cannons aimed downtown, with its many (and sometimes water-filled) labyrinths. The hilltop convent provides an excellent outlook of the city. Did I mention the massive boots? A one hour boat ride took me to La Playa Blanca, a postcard-perfect beach paradise.

Rumor has it I got a bit drunk in Maracaibo (video), on the way back to Mérida.

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