Travel Journal

By : Amanda L

History of the Mexico Aztec Existence

Dear Journal,

Today we moved, again. I think we are in a place called the Valley of Anuhuac. My mom informed us we are in the Sierra Madre region, as the god of Huitzilopochtli led us to a brand new settlement. My family and I praise the god for his wonderful blessing because we would be homeless without him. Our settlement is call, Tenochtitlan and we now live next to Lake Texcoco on a Marsh.



We've been here a while now, but recently we conquered our rival, Azcapotzalco. We made it through because we have an organization driven by the big markets. The most popular is the Tenochtitlan Tlatclolco. We use currencies like cacao beans and woven strips of cloth. I believe we are the most dominant civilization because of our advancements socially, intellectually, and artistically. My mom says my family is special because we are "trendy". Our house is now covered in feathered tapestries, headdresses, ceramics, and stone jewelry. Our city though, is different. Temples and stone statues line the corners to honor our beloved gods. We love to speak to them and others in the language of Nahuatl.


Dear Journal,

We have our first emperor, he is recognized by the name of Itzcoatl. He got us a three way alliance with the city-states of Texcoco and Tlateloco. Today though, a European named Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, unexpectedly came to our settlement. Our great leader said he may be from Cuba and landed in Yucatan. His group of Spanish explorers fought our Aztec natives, and unfortunately 50 died and many were captured. The governor of the Spanish is now collecting a larger force group. Now, I'm frightened and so is the rest of my massive community. All we know at this point is that they are coming from Cuba under the guidance of Thernan Cortes.

~Feb 1517

Dear Journal,

A couple of years have gone by, my harsh frightfulness has been constantly increasing day by day. Today, I was captured by Cortes. He came with 2 ships, 450 soldiers, supplies, and 16 horses. He took control of my town, Tobasco. He made an alliance with the Tlascalans. The Talascalans, our enemies, charged with the Spanish into Veracruz, a city on the coast. Cortes took my family and me with him. My mom was taken away from us, I don't know where she is. This makes me feel isolated and homesick. One of the guards said, she was chosen to be Cortes's mistress and translator, but I don't believe him.

~Feb 1519


I'm still captured, and will probably never be let go. Cotes offically defeated us all, the community has vanished.

~August 13 1521

Modern Cost Rica Economy

Dear Journal,

Today we are making our first stop on the Cruise ship! I got off the boat realizing I was in the middle of a busy port, as people were rapidly loading and unloading goods on and off ships. The sign read "Welcome to Port Limon." I blended into the crowd of people who seemed to be walking to a specific place, and we ended up in what seemed to be a town square of some sort. I looked around trying to take it all in. It wasn't beautiful or grand, it was different and a little run down. All of a sudden, someone was tapping on my shoulder behind me.

His name was Professor Jeffrey Beckford, he was the mayor of Port Limon and happy to show me around. I asked him why the city was so run down and sad. He said that money was a problem there. It started to go down hill in 2005, but bounced back a little in 2010 and 2011. During that time period the tourist industry dropped 8%. They had a very high unemployment rate, but more tourist ships coming made it alot better. They also relied on Eco-tourist now, to support the economy. Ever since then, it hadn't been the same and neither had the standard of living for that region.

First, he took me to the famous Del Monte banana growing plantation. They produce about 9,000,000 bunches of bananas every year in Port Limon. Costa Rica is the number 1 producer and number 2 exporter of bananas in the world! Jeffrey was really excited to tell me how bananas became famous there. He explained to me, that when there use to be slaves, a slave owner needed an easy, cheap way to feed his slaves. The owners would plant a bunch of bananas on the side of a road, when they were ready to eat, they were delicious! The rich and fertile soil made them irresistible Jeffrey smiled as he finished his story and I had another question for him. I asked, "How much do people get paid on plantations today?" Jeffrey's smile disappeared as he explained "there are downfalls and one of which is, because of the high unemployment rate, they only get paid $237 in 15 days. Where if you worked on a pineapple plantation for 15 days you would get more like $250." On that note he led me back to the ship port.

As we arrived Jeffrey told me about the importance of the port . He said that the most important waterway in South America is the Panama Canal. Port Limon is extremely close to there and receives payments when ships stop at Port Limon head to or from the Panama Canal. When we got back to the port I asked him, "Do all the shipments come from the same country?" He chuckled and told me they have many trade agreements with other countries. He began to list names like China, Canada Chile, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Belize, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Singapore, US, Albania, Columbia, Croatia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon Macedonia, Morocco, Serbia, Tunisia South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine......The ship honked for last call and I ran to get aboard as he continued to list countries. I turned around to wave and say goodbye, as he rambled on.

~May 2013

Modern Geography of Ecuador

Dear Journal,

Today, I have arrived in Ecuador, South America! My home is in Nevada and I just realized that Ecuador seems a little smaller than Nevada. I came in on a ship, through the Pacific Ocean right on to the coast of Ecuador. We first made a stop at Columbia, and after the captain dropped off me, they went to Peru. I can't believe I have one week to explore 276,840 km of land! Not to mention, 2,237 km of beautiful coastline.

It's my first full day and I'm going to explore the inland of the mainland. Starting off on the Eastern border, there are flat to rolling jungles. This is due to the Amazonian Basin lowlands. Here, there are nature resources like timber and hydro power As we traveled outward toward the coast, the elevation decreased and it got warmer. It looks more like central Highlands, with all of the landslides occurring here! There was a lot of petroleum drilling, as well.

I woke up this morning on our second full day, ready to explore the long coastline. On the coast it is very tropical and moist, but other parts are plains. In the southern coastline, there is the Andes mountains where the highest active volcano, Cotopaxi is located. Now that I'm done exploring the mainland, I can't wait to go to the Galapagos Islands tomorrow!

Its my last day exploring, but I saved the best for last! Traveling 600 km from the coast, I am now on the Galapagos Islands, which are owned by Ecuador. I was here a couple of years ago, but things have changed because of volcanic eruptions Now there are 61 islands and isolets, with 13 main islands. I am first visiting the highest point and largest volcano of the Galapagos. Volcan Wolf is a total of 5,600 feet high at its' highest point. I will be staying on the largest island of Isabell for the rest of my trip. I may even explore some of its' 1,771 miles of land.

It has been a long week and I've learned many new things. Not only do they have hydro power and timber, but they also have petroleum and fish. It may all sound nice and pretty, but there is also national hazards. These include earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes floods, and droughts. They also have some current issues, like deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution, and oil pollution. My trip has been great, but I can't wait to get back home!

Sincerely Yours,

Amanda L

Modern Culture of Brazil

Dear Journal,

"Boom!" We have just land on the tarmac in Brazil. I'm going to be here for a while because this is my new home. I'm adding one more person to the 190 million that are already here. Luckily, I blend into half of them because I have white skin. The other 40% mixed and 10% black don't bother me. It's just the huge culture shock.

My normal routine is changing as of now. Moving from the US means I have to learn Portuguese. I am trying to take it all in, while I'm trying to decide if I want to be Roman Catholic or not. I originally grew up with no religion, but I want to fit in so I'm becoming a Roman Catholic. I want to honor the past Europeans, who established traditions and churches. I am experiencing extreme culture shock and want to adapt to my new life. I can try to fit in, but I will never have a large family like many of the people here do.


The main reason I'm here is for my job, today is my first day of work. I am going to meet my new boss at his house, maybe he can tell me how to act...... I walked up to him and shook his hand as a habit from the states. He was very impressed I already knew how to greet someone, not knowing that's what we do in the US. He glared at my out, with a wince on his face. I asked if I was under dressed and he replied with a slight smirk. He held his hands for a gift, but my hands and pockets were empty. This upset me, but he continued to ask me questions about my life to get to know me. One of his questions included how much money I had. Shocked, as we don't talk about how much money people have in the states, I replied "$900,000 in savings."He said I was very wealthy and I was aloud to communicate with him because I was part of the upper class. We soon headed out for lunch, but I immediately realized we were lost. So, I stepped to the side to confront a Native American about directions. My boss urgently yanked me away. His scowl showed me I was not to communicate with people of another race.

After our meeting, I started walking to my new apartment. On the way I witnessed 2 women nurses kissing each other on the checks when meeting at a coffee shop. When I got to my apartment building the bell hop gave me a quick glare because I was late to check in. As soon as I proceeded in to my room, I had to start preparing for our corporate event that night. The lady at the front desk warned me I had to get a manicure, so I urgently put on my formal wear to be sure I was appropriately dressed. When I left my building, I decided not to make the same mistake again. I went to buy a little gift and I arrived at the register the clerk warned me about not to get any black or purple presents, as they are mourning colors. So I got a different gift and I was on my way.


I've been here a full year and now I love my job everyday. I quickly adapted and now I don't want to leave, but my time has come to head back to the states. I will never for get my year in Brazil.