Archive | December, 2011

Why You Should Have a Pet Reindeer

25 Dec

Merry Christmas to all! I know exactly what you should ask for next Christmas – a pet reindeer! There are three reasons why a reindeer would be a great pet.

Antlers

Reindeer lose their antlers every year and grow them back. This means each year you have your pet reindeer, you’ll have another set of antlers to hang in your den. Couple this with that facts that reindeer have the largest antlers to body size ratio of any deer and both males plus females have antlers, and you have a hell of a pet.

Milk

Pretty much all we drink is cow milk, and maybe occasionally some goat milk, but there are many other animals that product excellent milk, including reindeer. Compared to cow milk, reindeer milk has 3 times the protein, 6 times the fat, and half the lactose. Sounds pretty good, but be warned – it is pretty labor intensive as it requires someone to hold the antlers while someone else milks. Probably worth the effort though.

Santa Costume

How legit would it be to have a live reindeer to go along with your Santa costume? Can you imagine a reindeer pulling you down Lombard Street at SantaCon next year?


 


 
Photo: Britt-Marie Sohlström

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6 Things You Don’t Know About Costa Rica

23 Dec

I am back from two glorious weeks in Costa Rica. The beaches, rainforests, and wildlife made it an unforgettable trip and made me want to explore the rest of the Central America. Rather than turning this into a travel blog, I think the pedantic readers would appreciate some knowledge. So here are some things you probably don’t know about the country – pura vida!
 

  • Costa Rica is one of the greenest countries in the world. Yes, the vegetation is thick and vibrant, but I mean the environmental friendly type of green. A whopping 25% of the land is protected by national parks and wildlife reserves (for comparison sake, the world average is around 10%). On top of that, the government put forward a plan to be 100% carbon neutral by 2030 (already 90% of energy comes from renewable resources).
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  • Costa Rica has a tiny pocket of malaria in a remote part of the jungle. The Red Cross has a policy that you should wait 12 months after traveling to “an area” where malaria is found before giving blood (because blood donations are not checked for malaria). Thus, it could be difficult for travelers to Costa Rica to give blood for the following year (although you can show your itinerary and see if they will accept you weren’t in danger of being exposed to malaria).
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  • The Nicoya Peninsula has been identified as one of the five regions in the world where people regularly live to 100 (written about in the book Blue Zones). These regions share the common characteristics of putting family first, non-smoking, plant-based diet, constant moderate physical activity, social engagement, and eating legumes.
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  • Costa Rica abolished its military in 1948, immediately following a bloody civil war, and made it permanent by adding it to their constitution the following year. Instead, the budget is spent on education, culture, and security (they still have Police Guard forces responsible for ground security, law enforcement, counter-narcotics, and border patrol). Costa Rica is one of the largest of the 19 countries without a military and one of the few that is a democracy.
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  • But those Costa Ricans can be shady as well. China built Costa Rica a $105 million dollar stadium earlier this year as a “gift”. Hmmmmm, why is China giving out gifts? Why is a country known for its kickass lifestyle getting so buddy-buddy with a country known for its human rights violations? Check out this story to learn this and why a bridge was unofficially renamed from “Bridge of Friendship” to “Bridge of Backstabbing”.
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  • The country is only 19,653 square miles (imagine a 200 mile by 100 mile plot of land), yet it takes a long time to get anywhere. Many of the roads are still dirt. The roads that are paved are two lane highways – its not uncommon for a bus to stop in the middle of the highway or a cart pulled by oxen to slow down traffic. Despite this, it is one of the most developed countries in Central America.

 


 
Apologies for the lack of blogging. I will be bringing my computer with me on my next trips so that I can stay connected and write blog posts. Thanks for the patience!

If you liked this post, check out this one about the Netherlands (I haven’t been there, but did have a few facts to share).

Photo: Rafael Alverez

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