Planet Kapow 27 : Antigua to San Salvador

¿Donde esta la lava?!!!!

Yes, I was somewhat shattered to once again not get to see lava. But “thems the breaks” as they say. But I can’t complain, the view on top of Volcán Pacaya and the surrounding areas was incredible to say the least. It had just rained (actually whilst we were climbing), which meant the water turned to steam and made the whole scene very dramatic. To demonstrate how hot it was up there, our guide had brought a branch of a tree and held it above one of the volcano’s vents. Within in no time it caught on fire and I was chuffed.

But I am fibbing somewhat. A night or two before we were sitting on top of our hotel, having a beer and soaking up the nighttime atmosphere of Antigua, and something in the distance (in the direction of Volcán Fuego) caught my eye. IT WAS LAVA! Even though I think we were 10km or so away, this amazing lava stuff was shooting into the sky and then rolling/dribbling down the edge of the volcano and slowly fading into the darkness. If only we were half the distance away. But it was still incredible.

Whilst Erin was making her journey back to Mexico to collect a replacement/temporary passport (after getting robbed in Lake Atitlan), Danielle, Lachlan & I crossed over to El Salvador.
Lachlan has a great piece of what we go up to there. Head on over the Planet Kapow to have a read and check out the latest video that is Planet Kapow 27 : Antigua to San Salvador.

http://www.planetkapow.com/1707

Planet Kapow 26 : Nebaj to Lago de Atitlan

This episode we get off our asses and do some hiking in the mountains around Nebaj and I show some kids how to do armpit farts. After our cultural exchange we head south the Lake Atitlan and take a 5 day spanish course at the San Pedro Spanish School.

Warning: This episode contains some rather stunning scenery.

Come read Lachlan’s post and sit back, relax, and spend the next 5 minutes watching episode 26 of Planet Kapow:

http://www.planetkapow.com/1697

I also have some pictures and a write up from the time up in the mountains: http://adamteale.com/1617/

Planet Kapow 25 : Finca Ixobel to Semuc Champey

Hanging out on a Guatemalan farm then cruising the Rio Dulce, then relaxing in the natural hot waterfall of El Paraiso to then swimming in the amazing natural water wonderland that is Semuc Champey. And MORE!

Come have a read and watch the ep!

http://www.planetkapow.com/1688

mp3 to wav (a little app written in Objective-C)

What?

Just knocked together a little app to batch convert selected MP3 files in iTunes to WAV format.

Seems to work pretty well so far.

When the app launches click the button to select the “Output Directory” of the converted files.

Then hit the “Go!” button.

 

Why?

I was looking for an easy way to batch convert selected tracks in my iTunes library to WAV format, and have them export into a directory (for later use in Final Cut Pro). I came across some Applescripts that would do the conversion within iTunes, but in the end wasn’t really what I was after. I started writing something in Python but then figured it would be a great opportunity to give it a go in Obj-C. It took half a day and I learnt a lot in the time it took to put it together.Hopefully people out there can find a use for the little app, or use the XCode project to build something better!


Requirements:

iTunes must be open and the tracks you want to convert must be selected

*Only tested on Mac OS X 10.6.7

 

Download:

App: MP3toWAV (164 downloads)

Xcode Project: mp3towavXcodeProj (325 downloads)

 

Notes:

Built using XCode and ObjC. I needed the following to talk to iTunes via OBJC:

 

 

 

Planet Kapow 24 : Caye Caulker to Tikal

Caye Caulker, Belize. Beautiful glassy water, coconuts, and not much else. This was the perfect place to revive ourselves post Cuba and get ready to hit up the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal over in Guatemala!

Grab your beach towel, a pina colada, and come chill in front of ep 24 of Planet Kapow:

http://www.planetkapow.com/1678

 

 

Cuba

Two and a half weeks is never enough time to give a place a decent $.02 worth, but…

 

From memory Cuba is the one place where I have traveled and spent so much of the travel time digesting what we had seen that day and then falling asleep just as confused as the first day I landed.

 

We started our journey off in the corazon de Cuba, Habana.

Here is a city with style and finesse, but rough around  the edges like an old cricket ball.

A city of old colonial buildings crumbling into cobblestone streets, 1950’s yank tanks that will take you anywhere in Cuba for a somewhat negotiable rate, places to eat from between $0.04 and $25 a meal, and bars where you can dance the night away salsa style well into the morning.

 

But let me cut to the chase.

 

The minute we hit the streets of Habana we were befriended by folks who we eventually learned to be known as jineteros – hustlers.

These guys were nice enough. Patient with our awkward level of the Spanish language, full of info, and they knew a guy in the next street who has space for us to sleep in his casa particular (more on that soon). And most of the time these guys would leave you alone as you politely expressed “no gracias”.

 

The problem was we never really escaped it except for the time out on the eastern edge of Cuba in a great little town called Baracoa.

 

Whilst it seemed that most folks in the bigger cities of Santiago del Cuba and Habana were keen to befriend us, help us lighten our wallets and leave us talking about jineteros for the rest of the day, there were other places and people that were indeed the lovely type that you would really have enjoyed getting to know better, places like Baracoa & Santa Clara.

 

Looking back at the trip we have all decided that Cuba is probably best spent far from the bigger cities, out in a village surrounded by less entrepreneurial types.

 

Ok I’ll stop whinging.

 

In the moments we got over the jineteros we did meet some nice folks, like Roman & Amelia who were a son & mum combo running their casa particular in Habana.

We spent a few days of new year’s eve with them and had a blast. Roman gave us all some salsa lessons and educated us on the history of Cuban music. These guys were so fantastic and friendly. One night we were fortunate enough to get Amelia talking about her life and times in Cuba. Basically she said that she was tired, and hadn’t ever experienced a different way of life, and was extremely sad that her son and husband were living in Italy and that she it would be extremely difficult for her to visit them. When we tried to give her money for the new years day lunch she threw, she politely said “some things are more important”.

 

Basically:

We bicycled around and checked out the limestone peaks of Viñales.

Then we took a convertible taxi east to Santa Clara to see Che Guevara’s statue & sample a $.04 hamburger.

A slow bus journey took us down to Trinidad for more dancing and partying in caves.

Along the coast we dropped into Santiago de Cuba for …. hmmm not sure really, an old fortress and a nice view.

But then we found Baracoa, a beautiful little town (the first capital of Cuba and was where Christopher Columbus landed) on the eastern tip of Cuba, full of friendly people and a somewhat different look & feel to what we had experienced over the previous 2 weeks.

To me Baracoa was a taste of what everyone could have been like in Cuba if we didn’t stand out as foreigners with dollar signs floating above our heads. And we even managed to find ourselves out amongst the nature of Baracoa on top of  the table top hill “El Yunque”.

And managed to do this whilst using both the CUC & CUP money systems (what a feat!).

 

Everything in Cuba pretty much seems very old, and recycled. I met one truck driver whose truck dated back from 1954. He said his Dad had given him the truck 20 years ago, and his father’s father 20 years before that. And the old truck keeps on running (on a slightly more efficient diesel engine).

 

The poverty in Cuba is blatant and is an obvious explanation for the plethora of entrepreneurs. Perhaps it is all to do with the sanctions imposed by the US back in the day, or maybe Fidel’s plan of self sustainability just didn’t work out or wasn’t completely well thought out. Perhaps I should read a book about it all.

 

So, yeah i get it, should you go there (because you value my travel opinions so strongly of course) ?

YES! A big fat YES! I mean NO! I mean… work it out for yourself!

 

We’ve met way too many people with such positive views on their experiences in Cuba that it really must be awesome. We went in fairly unprepared and had to learn the ropes as we went, and especially after our chill time in Mexico we were really just not ready.

(photos coming soon)


Planet Kapow 21 : Tulum to Cancun

The final episode of our Mexican leg on our way to the bottom of South America. Yes, there’s still quite a ways to go! And yes once you feast your eyes on this latest ep you might somehow realise that we are slightly behind on the episodes too!

But, you will really enjoy this one I promise.

We visit Tulum, spend xmas there, and spend a good few minutes talking about our favourite memories of our Mexican experience. Then, we head to Cancun…

As per usual head on over to Planet Kapow, sit back, have a read, and take in all that is our final Mexican PK episode.
Cuba, you’re next!

http://www.planetkapow.com/1641

Planet Kapow 20 : Palenque to Merida

Ruins. Lotsa ruins. But amazing ruins!
THIS. IS. PALENQUE!!!!!!

After the a rather chilled tie in San Cristobal de las Casas we headed north on an overnight bus to Palenque. After Egypt I would say this place is one of the most impressive ancient sites I have seen.
To top off a trip to Palenque we headed north and swam in the blue sinkholes (ceynotes) of Cuzuma. The clarity of the water was amazing, and they fact that these sinkholes exist with swimmable conditions is beyond cool.

Read the adventure, and come experience the awe that is episode 20 of Planet Kapow:
http://www.planetkapow.com/1626