Categories
Travel

Copán in Honduras: Stellar Stelae, plus Macaws

The fifth and final Maya site of my trip was located in a new country, Honduras. Getting there involved another long bus trip from Flores to Chiquimula, Guatemala, where I hired a taxi to take me the last hour and a half including crossing the border. The town of Copán Ruinas is less than ten miles from the Guatemalan border, but of course it still requires the administrative details involving in leaving one country and entering another.

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Travel

Magical Tikal: Sunrise as the Jungle Awakens

One site on my itinerary was largely responsible for inspiring the entire journey: Tikal. This Mayan site in the Guatemalan jungle has long been on my list, and I was excited to finally be making it happen.

Getting from Flores to Tikal is pretty easy.

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Travel

Flores, Guatemala: Island of the Setting Sun

With a two-minute boat ride across the Usumacinta, I had crossed the border from Mexico into Guatemala. My lancha pulled up to the dock in what is hardly more than a one-street town.

La Técnica, Guatemala isn’t even labeled on Google Maps, and it serves only as a jumping off point for cargo and people crossing this frontera, legally or not. My ride for the morning was on a mini-bus or colectivo. It looked the part.

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Travel

The Lancandon Jungle: Mayan sites of Yaxchilan and Bonampak

The main goal of this trip was to visit three of the most important Mayan archaeological sites: Palenque in Mexico, Tikal in Guatemala, and Copán in Honduras. While planning the trip, I looked at several ways to travel between my visit of Palenque onward to Tikal.

I found a pretty interesting option that would take me into the heart of the Lancandon jungle which lies on the border between Mexico and Guatemala.

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Travel

Chiapas, Mexico: San Cristóbal, Cañon del Sumidero, and Palenque

After a week together in Oaxaca, my wife Jan headed home while I began a two-week solo adventure in the world of the ancient Maya. From Oaxaca, I flew to the Mexican state of Chiapas, where my main target was Palenque, a Mayan city whose structures mostly date from the seventh century.
Carving at Palenque

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Travel

A week in Oaxaca Mexico: Tlayudas, Raspas, and Mezcal

Oaxaca (pronounced wa-HA-ka) is a state in southern Mexico with a capital city of the same name. In recent years, Oaxaca has become a popular tourist destination, well-known for its fantastic food scene.

Church of Santo Domingo
The city’s iconic church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán

It’s not surprising then that the highlights of our visit to Oaxaca were all about the food and drinks we had there.

Categories
Learning Spanish

21 Spanish Language Resources to Keep You Motivated

21 Spanish Resources
If you are learning Spanish as a second language, one of the challenges is continuing to find new material that is appropriate for your current level. Of course, that changes every few weeks, as what was challenging a month ago might be too easy for you now.

With that in mind, I wanted to publish this list of some of the best videos, podcasts, apps, websites and books that I have utilized this year in my studies. Everything on this list is available for free, except the books near the end of the list.

Categories
Robotics

Better Data with the GoPiGo Robot Car’s Distance Sensor

I recently built a GoPiGo robot car from Dexter Industries. The car is a complete robot platform built around the popular Raspberry Pi single board computer. Once you build the car, you can log in to the robot over ssh or even a desktop environment via VNC. Either way, the robot’s behavior is fully programmable using a variety of languages. The most commonly used library is for Python, and that’s what I am using.

GoPiGo with front-facing distance sensor
GoPiGo, with a front-mounted rotating distance sensor.
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Travel

Cuenca, Ecuador: A Luxury Stay in an Idyllic Setting

Leaving behind the hustle and bustle of Quito, we headed to Ecuador’s third-largest city, Cuenca.  Despite a population of half a million, Cuenca still manages to feel like a small town.  We splurged on a luxurious place to stay, choosing the amazing hotel Mansion Alcazar.

Interior Courtyard of the Mansion Alcazar
Interior Courtyard of the Mansion Alcazar
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Travel

Quito, Ecuador: Big Clouds and Big Churches

Dark clouds above Quito
Dark clouds blanket Quito in this view from El Panecillo.

An overcast sky was ever-present during our stay in Quito, but in many ways the weather just enhanced the scene.  Instead of dulling the colors, the dark rolling clouds seemed to transform the landscape into a dark and rich painting palette.

While headed to Quito’s historic Old Town, I took this shot of a typical street scene, framed by clouds and mountains.