How Do You Get A Ferret To Use A Litter Box?

A ferret is a domesticated form of the European polecat.  It is a mammal that belongs to the same genus as the weasel, Mustela, and the family Mustelidae. A ferret has a fur that is generally brown, black, white or mixed. Their average length is of 51 centimeters, consisting of a 13 centimeters tail.  They weigh approximately 1.5-4 pounds.  Their natural lifespan is seven to ten years.  The male ferrets are typically larger than the female ferrets.

Ferrets have been used as domesticated pets for at least two thousand years.  In some parts of the world, they are used for hunting rabbits, but mostly they are only kept as house pets.  The black ferrets are considered to be endangered species.

What are the characteristics of ferret?

How Do You Get A Ferret To Use A Litter Box?

Ferrets have a slender body shape. They are long and their average length is about 50 cm. ferrets average gestation period is 42 days and the female ferret have litter two to three times each year. Ferrets become sexually mature at about six months.

Ferrets stay asleep for 14 to 18 hours a day. They are most active during the dusk and dawn. If they are kept in a cage, they require to be taken out for exercise and to satisfy their curiosity. They need an hour in one day to play and roam around freely.  They happily live in social groups and are territorial, prefer to sleep in an enclosed area.

When the ferrets are excited or thrilled, they perform a behavior called ‘weasel war dance’.  They do frenzy sideways hops, leaps and bump into nearest objects. This behavior is not aggressive but joyful in vitiation to play and goof around. They have a soft, clucking noise and when scared or threatened, ferrets make a hissing sound.  When ferrets are upset, they squeak softly.

What do ferrets eat?

How Do You Get A Ferret To Use A Litter Box?

Ferrets are known to be obligate carnivores. They usually rely on small prey which includes meat, organs, bones, skin, feathers, and fur. Ferrets have a short digestive system. Their metabolism is quick and they need to be fed frequently.  They are fond of eating prepared dry foods that include meat that provides them with high nutritional value. Some ferret owners feed mice or rabbits to their ferrets to match their natural diet.  They cannot digest any kind of plant matter. Foods like fruit are not recommended for ferrets and they might have negative ramifications on ferret health.

Ferrets and litter

Safety and smell control should be the two most important factors that should be considered before bringing a ferret into home. The ferret owner must watch out for the best litter option when keeping a ferret as a pet.  The litters that are made out of paper and wood are highly considered.  The absorbent rate of these makes the ferret stay comfortable.

Some of the factors that should be considered are as follows

There are many factors that are to be considered before buying a litter box for the ferret. This makes sure that neither ferrets dig their own poop nor they feel uncomfortable.

Ferret safety and protection

This is the most important thing to consider when choosing a litter option. One must not use litter equipment or boxes with sharp edges or rough surfaces that could cause injury to the ferrets or suffocate them.  Small cat litter boxes must be avoided for ferrets.

Smell control

The substance by which the litter boxes are made should be able to control the odor. Foul litter smell could cause discomfort to the ferret. One must use a litter box that could absorb the bad odors and doesn’t make their space too smelly.

Easy litter boxes

The litter boxes must be easy to use and easy to go to. This makes it simpler for the owners to teach their ferret pets the training methods for litter.

Keep the litter box dust-free

Ferrets are very prone to allergic reactions from dust. They are very sensitive to respiratory systems and it is important to keep the litter box dust-free and clean.

How Do You Get a Ferret to Use a Litter Box?

How Do You Get A Ferret To Use A Litter Box?

Ferrets are very trainable; hence one should be patient while teaching them the right ways to litter.  Ferrets are considered to be very low-maintenance pets.  They react well to training and learning techniques taught to them from early on and does not make the training process difficult for the owners. Since the young ferrets are caged and separated from their mothers at a very early stage of their life, it is important for the ferret owners to train them with affection and care. There are some ways of teaching the ferret to use a litter box. A few of them are as follows-

Rise and Shine method

One should get their ferret to imbibe a habit of using the litter box as soon as he wakes up.  Reward the ferret with a treat after every time he uses the litter box. This will get him hooked. In a couple of days, ferret will automatically use the litter box simply out of habit.

Praise the ferret

If the ferret uses a litter box, praise him and reward him with a treat. The nicer they will believe the owner is to them after they’ve used the litter box, the more they will use it.

Follow Your Nose method

Many experts suggest that ferrets love vanilla smell. Putting some of the vanilla extracts around the litter box and also inside the litter box will make the ferret follow the smell and they will simply find the litter box.

Other helpful tips

  • Never punish the ferret for making mistakes. Add a little more ferret littler boxes if necessary in different parts of your house.
  • The owner should use a low walled litter box. One must also put a little waste in the litter box so that the ferret can make out that it is a litter box.

One should always be patient and consistent use these tips to train a ferret. It takes time for any animal to learn something. There are some best litter for ferrets available in the market both online and offline.

How Tall Should a Hedgehog Cage be?

How Tall Should a Hedgehog Cage be?

The scientific name for a hedgehog is known as Erinaceus europaeus. There are around seventeen species of hedgehog that are found in major parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and these hedgehogs are also seen in some parts of New Zealand. There are no hedgehogs native that belong to Australia and there are no living species native to America. Most of the hedgehog species have a weight of around 700 grams but the well-known western European type of hedgehog gets bigger and weighs nearly 1,100 grams and its body length is estimated up to the range of 15 to 30 cm that falls as 5.57 to 12 inches. These hedgehogs consist of a stubby and slender brushed tail which has the capacity to grow up to 6.0 cm.

Characteristic features of the body

All hedgehogs are very similar when you take their body form into account but there are few species that survive in the desert area and they have big ears and long legs while comparing to other hedgehogs. The tiny, broad and sturdily built body of hedgehog is richly coated with sharp spines which is also absent in the underbelly, legs, face, and ears. The colored spines are banded with light brown and black while the underbelly is covered by a scattered coarse coat which simply ranges from white to black and even sometimes found to be blotched, depending upon the species. The face may be white, brownish, or showing a masked pattern. The limbs are thin and very short, but the feet are large and bear long, bent claws and also the first toe is small or even absent in Atelerix. Although the eyes are big in size, vision is poor. Hearing and smelling capacity of hedgehogs is considered to be an awful one and their ears are conspicuous part and are gradually tapered, mobile muzzle ends in moist as well as the hairless nose.

Food that hedgehogs love to consume

 Food that hedgehogs love to consume

The top food item on the hedgehogs’ favorite menu are some insects species and they also consume rats, toads, eggs, and reptiles such as lizards, snakes, etc., Hedgehogs adds up additional protection to their spines like “self-arming”. There are many poisonous plants and hedgehogs sometimes eat those poisonous plants and then make bubbly saliva in their mouths. The hedgehogs simply spread the saliva mixed with the plant’s poison by licking their spikes thoroughly and this helps them to prevent an attack from another animal. As you know hedgehogs simply stays on the ground but still, they are capable to swim quite well and even climb a tree easily.

Hedgehogs usually make noises like hissing and crouching as well as they will straighten up their spines at the times of sensing danger. The best defensive way of the hedgehog is to shape up itself into a secured sphere. Hedgehog has a tendency that essentially makes a muscle that encircles the body from neck to rump along the sides of the body just beneath the skin and within which the topside spines are embedded. As the animal curls, this muscle and several smaller are connecting muscles shrinking in the upperparts into a bag which is similar to that of a drawstring within which the head, body, and legs are haggard.

Protecting characteristics from attack

The normal oblique spines are flexible and become straightened up, and the rodent changes into a sphere of intimidating sharp spines that simply protects the exposed head, adjunct, and soft underbelly. In this pattern, hedgehogs basically protect themselves against other predators in the woods, but they are sometimes prone to meet dangerous situations created by other species such as hawks, owls and eagles that possess lengthy and piercing talons with scaly legs. Hedgehogs move in a speed of a slow toddler and they take small, spontaneous steps. Their speed varies the species to species and they are capable of showing sudden and violent speed. Hedgehog is also known for its body features that support it to raise high from the level of the ground.

 Constant body parameters

Hedgehogs are mainly night lovers but at times they are also found in daylight. Most hedgehogs are earth lovers and a few species could easily climb up the tree and swim in the water. Hedgehogs take up the shelter in rock crack holes, under vegetation, under the hanging rocky bodies, or in burrows during the day time. At the time of sleep, their temperature drops to 4 °C (39 °F) whereas the heartbeat decreases from 190 to 20 per minute, and their breathing is simply reduced to 10 breaths per minute. You have to understand all these body conditions about hedgehogs for making it as your pet animal.

Size of the cage and its features

Size of the cage and its features

Your beloved pet hedgehog would spend most of its time inside the cage, so, first of all, you need to make sure that everything inside the cage is set up properly for ensuring a comfortable sleeping form, playing area as well as food area. Now, you must make a list of items that you would like to fill the cage for your lovable hedgehog and you should buy the cage accordingly. Meanwhile, you must make sure that it also falls under your budget. You must also learn about cages before buying the one which suits your little guy. According to many hedgehog owners around the world, they state that the better hedgehog caging choices could be the wire cages as well as plastic storage containers. If you are about to buy a cage you must look into considering these options and determine which fits your home all by yourself.

At a minimum size of consideration, the hedgehog cage that you choose should be around 2 feet by 2 feet in size and also you can make use of 2 feet by 4 feet wide which are also most preferred by many hedgehog owners. When you possess a spacious room that can fairly fit larger cage, then this could be simply great because this can certainly allow your hedgehog to dwell in more space for exploring and playing. They are little but they do stay in a proactive manner, so you need to make sure that there is enough space in the cage for it to move and roll around comfortably without any restriction. You can also fill up your best hedgehog cage with a fabric liner, wood shavings liner and also paper shavings liner. You can buy these products in the market or also in the online stores.

Need a Camera for Hiking?

The weekend is coming up and you need camera to capture your memories. You could go with the phone camera. It is already on your phone and ok. But, ok does not mean it is good and highly sharp. Maybe if you get the Iphone the images would be sharp. But, that cost way too much just to take pictures. So, you got to compromise and buy a camera. Go traditional and do without the phone to learn what its like to take pictures with real taking picture machine. Phones are good buy phones are for calling people. Upgrade your HD quality and catch every tree line you see for the image. You got to capture the real moment of life. A moment that only be captured with a camera. Down below, I want to give you more reason why you should get a camera to take pictures in a hiking trip.


Cameras Are More Designed for Outside Pictures

Cameras are more designed for the outside world. They may not be better than phones when it comes to indoor quality. But, on the outside cameras do jobs that photographers have to get done today. Photographers need a good picture no matter the rain, wind, water, dirt storm, or the sweat. Your picture is guaranteed to come out good no matter what weather conditions is going to happen out there in the wild. And, you know there is going to be some weather conditions starting all over the place. Don’t lie to your self. Cameras can withstand the cold too. They are not making them to be water proof. Their making them to withstand harsh weather and still get a one clean shot on nature. Ignoring the effects of nature to get that one perfect shot that will make you realize your moment at the forest was one of 1000 lives. Best camera for hiking to take a outside shot. Seeing, you need to buy a camera to capture the wild’s look because you need a shot that ignores the elements of nature.

Cameras Can Take Instant Pictures Still

Many people assume cameras stopped making instant pictures back in the 1990s. But, instant cameras still exist and are great for people who want to take a photo and eject it out from the spot. In fact, they are not the dull square you see in movies. They are HD quality and some can give descent output size. Pretty much the best camera for hiking. Instant cameras have come a long way. Being fully optical now and some having the ability to let you edit images after you take them. You can adjust the contrast and add filters right on the spot. If you need to take pictures and put them on your wall fast, this is the way to go about doing this. I suggest you get a instant camera if you want to make a collage of pictures for a painting on wall too. Your older now but you don’t have sacrifice everything in life. You can still take pictures like your 8 year old self and make a beautiful group of memory pictures.

 Hiking is Better With a Camera

Hiking is not something you do with a phone. You go to the wild to be closer to nature. The problem with phones is that they connect you to the world and that ruins the nature experience. With cameras, there is no connection to the web, girlfriend, friends not with you, and family. You can free yourself and just walk around with friends in the woods. You and your friends will have a much relaxing experience if you take a camera. Don’t remind your friends or you of the world for one moment of time. There are times when you need a break from society too. Let the camera help you get there and disconnect from world with corporations and all that useless technology stuff.

How Do Women Want Men to Smell?

20 women were chosen to answer what they want men to smell like. Most said they want men to smell like nature. Have a pine wood smell, basic clean smell, strong, basic, wood, and nature smell. They want their man to smell like they been working out in the fields or working at some basic location. They want them to ideally smell basic clean. They don’t mind men smelling like fruits but they hate them smelling like fruits all the time. They want people to smell them and ask “What are you wearing?” They want me to walk in a place and smell like a regular person. That is way they want men to smell. Want to know more? View what is written below and let’s dive deeper into why women want me to smell this way.

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Women Want Men to Wear Deodorant

Most, if not all women want men to wear deodorant over everything else. Women want men to focus more on getting to be basic odor clean overall. The basics is take a bath and wear deodorant. It is nothing flashy and nothing that is over the top. But, it lets women know that you are trying to take care of yourself. They want you to smell basic clean overall because they want you to focus on taking care of yourself more then pleasing them. They figure if you can take care of yourself and focused on that, then you can take care of them and help them out when you can. Now, all women do not think like this. So, you got to keep in mind that this is the mindset for 50% of the women you meet. If you happen to meet someone else who does not care about these things, she is the other 50% of women that you don’t hear about on TV because TV does not show you all the women types on TV. In fact, TV in modern times is very stereotyped and focused on certain types of women. There are a big range of types of women in each race. But, you can not see all on modern TV. You got to watch old movies from the 80s and 70s.

Cologne Reminds Women of Sex

First time hearing this, cologne reminds women of the person they last had sex with. Buy best smelling for body wash for men and cologne to keep her in your thoughts. That is what you want right? Women like to smell things. They are always smelling things like a dog. Women never talk about it. But, some of them go around smelling men in public to learn what they do in life and where they have been. Women use smell to obtain information on men and people they find interesting. I don’t know why women do it often. Could be tied to natural instinct.

Wear Body Wash That Has Nature Smell

Women love men with nature smell, so buy the best smelling body wash for men with nature smells. Nature reminds us of peace, food, safety, and shelter. That may be why women want men to smell like nature. They secretly want men to go out and hunt for food or resources. They want men to smell like they have been working somewhere or been outside attending the fields. They want men to smell like they are hunters. Generally, men are suppose to be hunters. They are suppose to hunt for food and figure out how to obtain the best food for the pack. They are also suppose to evolve in their level of things over time. Women smell men and hop they are living up to that standard. Make your girl feel more secure and safe by applying some body wash that comes from nature. Make her think you are working in the fields or working at work.

Control Your Body Odor Before Its too Late

Your body odor can get out of control before you can see 1 to 10. You got to make sure your looking out for your skin. Checking to see if its need to be washed from behind or sprayed on under the armpits. Stinky smells should alert you that its time for some form of soap. Buy some soap, deodorant, hair wash, and any other product you need when the bacteria pushing out your skin pores is getting too strong. Not interested in artificial cleaning products? Go with the best natural deodorant for men and other natural soap substances. They can help you a little more then the regular stuff. Increase your body’s overall energy and make it easier for you to remain in calm state. Going natural is always more beneficial to your body’s health. Read more information on controlling your body odor below.

best natural deodorant for men

Sweat Causes Body Odor

Sweat causing you to have odor spurting all over your skin. Sweat is the thing water that comes out of body that comes from exercise, heat, or chemicals. For the most part, sweat comes from working out. Lifting weights and trying to catch more biceps and triceps matter. Sweat starts to affect your body once you reach 12. At that age, that is when you need to use deodorant under armpits. The sweat from your armpits smell really bad. You can just wash your self with soap and water. No way, you must put on some deodorant under those arms. Even if, you don’t feel like doing it and trying to save money. Your employer made deal with it for a day, but not for a week. I advise you to walk in a store and put on deodorant if you really are low on cash. Business must be handled. Back to main topic, sweat occurs on everybody and it is what causes you to be smelly. During the time, body tries to extract all the bad chemicals flowing in its body. Bad chemicals in the mind, organs, and emotions that should not be there. These things make it harder to function in society and relax.

Shower Daily to Wipe Away Odor

To combat sweat, you shower each day to wipe away the odor. Importantly, do it for days when you have to show up for work. Maybe you could hide it for a day. But, don’t do it and talk about it. Ok, showers are filled with two things you need. Soap and water to help you get all the dirty smells from your body. Also, helps you breathe better and allows your back to get a nice water massage. Releasing pint up tension in the bones and helping you see things calmly. Hydrating your body to see a balanced health level. Showers also work as a waterfall effect. You can find yourself taking a shower for hours while thinking about the things that bother you or trying to tell you self everything is going to be ok. Showers are wonderful for reducing stress. Each day, take a shower and make your body clean.

Should I Use Deodorant With Spray or Rub On

Deodorant comes in many forms these days. You got your sprays, soap, rub on, naturals, and rub on soaps. Which one you use depends on your personality. If you like to do things quick, I suggest you use rub on soap deodorant. Artificial rub on deodorant works good for 8 hours. Make sure it is soap and not the slick gel kind. If you like to be with nature and have extra vitamins in body for more strength, go with a natural soap deodorant. Applying it is not like artificial deodorant however. You got to let your body go without deodorant for 3 days. Then, apply the best natural deodorant for men. The body needs time to get the deodorant out of system and be ready for natural deodorant. Some may need to wait a week for the effect to kick in. So, you got to put something under your arms for a week. Like a smelly natural gel or something similar during that time. Last, is the spray. Spray is the fastest but its the fastest to go out too. Use spray deodorant for events that last a couple hours. Hopefully, you know everything you need to know to pick deodorant that fits.

A whirlwind trip to Victoria Australia and Queenstown, NZ


I was needing an excuse to check out Australia and my good friend Torry had some free time over the 4th of July holiday and also wanted to check it out. The plan was to meet in Warrnambool, Victoria and then drive the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne. Torry has a friend living in Woomera, Australia’s equivalent of Area 51, so he first headed to Adeleaide. I wanted to explore Melbourne, so I spent the weekend there before heading on a train to meet him.


After spending so much time in Auckland, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in a ‘proper’ city. Melbourne is definitely a ‘proper’ city, actually reminding me of Santiago. There’s a life to the city—it’s a living being, not just a destination to drive into for work and then leave after a day’s work. It’s brimming with life, culture, food, universities, people, and activities. Oh yeah, it also has beaches! It’s the kind of city I’d like to live in one day.

The train ride was pretty uneventful—it left Melbourne and went through the countryside. Probably what caught my attention the most was the train network and how many people used it. It reminded me of my time living in Spain. And to boot, the trip from Melbourne to Warrnambool only cost $30 USD! I arrived about 30 minutes earlier than Torry but when we met up in the evening, we wandered the town of Warrnambool in search of food and found a small pizza and pasta place with delicious food. My pizza had the perfect crust—not too thin and not to thick, crispy outside and chewy inside. It was a nice feed after a long day of travel.

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We headed off the next morning, first checking out the nearby Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, where I saw my first Kangaroo, Koala, and Emu. Then it was east down the Great Ocean Road toward the 12 Apostles rock formation. Overall, the Great Ocean Road was very reminiscent of California’s Pacific Coast Hwy, with windy roads following the natural terrain along the ocean side.

I had picked up a guide to the Great Ocean Road, which had different options for side trips, such as gastronomic tours that went to cheese, wine, whisky, and chocolate producers, as well as more natural excursions, and driving roads. We made our own path, visiting a variety of each, taking plenty of time along the way to take in sights. Torry made all the reservations for budget hotels and hostels along the way and one night we ended up in a ‘hostel’ that was in reality more like someone’s house. When we first showed up, the address given was literally someone’s home that could have been on an episode of Hoarders. The guy that greeted us said he was just ‘filling in’ for someone else, but seemed to have as good knowledge of the place as anyone. He said that the place we arrived (the Hoarders home) was full, but down the road was empty. We followed him and I immediately noticed the ‘For Sale’ sign out front. It seemed like these guys were renting out homes for sale. The cupboards were full of food, even with fresh milk in the fridge. I was tired and didn’t feel like putting up much of a fuss. We stopped by the grocery store and self-catered for the night.

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The final leg of the trip led us into Melbourne. After driving the Great Ocean Road, we took a flight to Queenstown, New Zealand. We planned a few activities, such as snow shoeing, taking a jet-boat ride, and off roading, but unseasonable warm weather prevented us from snow shoeing. The jet boating ride was along Shotover River and was amazing. The river forged its route through a canyon and the driver tried to get as close as possible to the walls. Since it was a jet boat, basically a giant jetski, it was able to spin on a dime. We only got a little wet, but it would be really refreshing on a hot summer day!

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We considered taking a 4×4 tour of the area but after reading a review ‘You are picked up from your hotel in a comfortable 4WD Minibus,’ we agreed that we’d be better off renting a 4×4 than paying to ride in a ‘comfortable 4WD Minibus’. So we rented an AWD Toyota Rav4 and went on our own routes. It was probably the most comfortable way, as we were able to stop and take pictures whenever we wanted. We didn’t get the Rav4 stuck, even though Torry thought I should have tried harder.


After a few days in Queenstown, it was time to go back to work. Sadly, just as we were leaving, the snow began to fall. The morning I left, all of the hills were covered in snow and would have provided plenty of interesting snow shoeing opportunities.

I can’t wait to return to Queenstown in the summer!

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Getting out of Auckland

It is definitely long overdue, but now that I’ve settled in New Zealand, here’s my first blog update in over a year!


I started my job with 0 days of vacation, but have been slowly accruing free time. In the meantime, I’ve been spending most of my time exploring the Auckland area, which definitely has a lot to see. My company shut down over Christmas, so I decided to take some much-needed travel. I experienced a number of ‘firsts’ on the trip, such as the first time camping in New Zealand, the first time using my new tent (I was told that NZ is very strict about bringing in a ‘dirty’ tent, so I brought a new one), and my first extended road trip outside of Auckland.


I chose to head south to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing for the first stage of the trip. The Crossing is a trail just short of 20kms over volcanic terrain with amazing scenery. A friend of mine decided to come along for the ‘adventure’. We loaded up my car and headed south. When we got close, we looked into the details of the Crossing.


The trail isn’t a loop, so we had to arrange transportation. There are several bus companies that offer drop-off and pick-up service, but I thought the price was really steep–$35/per person. To put it in perspective, there’s a bus company here that offers trips between Auckland and Wellington (8hrs away) for $29.99. Of course, most people we talked to had the scare tactic—that it’s quite common for cars to get broken into, etc. I had a suspicion that it was actually the bus company operators that break into cars—to scare people into submitting to exorbitant fares.

We headed to the campsite and set up camp. It was a basic campground, with water from the mountain and a non-flush toilet. It was really crowded though—reminding me a lot of camping at the Bonnaroo music festival. We met a Croatian couple in the same situation as us—not wanting to spend so much money for the bus, we decided to drop off one car at the end and the other at the start. It worked out well, and we ended up having company on the hike.


The trail starts at about 1100m, climbs to 1900m, and then drops down to around 750m. Fortunately, the weather was good—overcast and windy, but not rainy.  Like elsewhere in New Zealand, it changes quickly—when there are clouds it is cold, when the sun peaks out, it’s scorching hot. Most of the hike was above the tree line, and the views were extensive. In a few places there were still hot spots of activity, mostly steam belching out with the off smell of sulfur. Only the final few km’s were in the forest.


After finishing the hike, we returned to the cars and fortunately the bus operators hadn’t broken into either of our cars! We hit the road a little further south to another campsite, this time a bit less crowded.


The next day we headed on toward to the town of Whanganui, a quaint city bordered by river and sea. We stopped in a restaurant and had a feed (Kiwi term), glad to have a filling meal after the hike of the previous day. Afterwards, we headed along the coast to the town of Hawera. It was raining so we decided to get a room rather than set up camp in the rain.


Refreshed (and dry) we headed up toward Mt. Taranaki for some light hiking and sightseeing. It was Christmas day, so almost everything was closed—except a few gas stations and Chinese-run fish&chips stores. We checked out the city of New Plymouth and then hit the road heading north toward the surfing town of Raglan.


Raglan has a rugged and beautiful coast—not best for swimming, but a ‘world-class’ surfing spot. Not far away is Bridal Veil Falls (seems like a common name), a 55m drop. There were a few freshwater eels in the stream below the waterfall.


Finally, after a few days on the road, we headed back. I feel like I know a lot more about New Zealand and appreciate all it offers. I can’t wait to start exploring more…once I get some more vacation. And I’m definitely looking forward to some more excellent driving conditions to exercise my Honda Euro R!

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Back in the USA


This latest post is definitely long overdue! In the time since my last entry, I left the semblance of normalcy I had grown accustomed to in Santiago and headed back to the USA for a new job.

Admittedly it wasn’t an easy decision to make—I was enjoying life in Santiago and had gotten to know a few good friends. Unfortunately the reality of life often takes hold—it had been over two years since I had a ‘real’ job and despite the numerous issues that came up along the way where I was able to use my problem solving skills, I could tell my engineering knowledge was probably getting a little rusty. I tried to find some engineering jobs in Santiago, but my luck was falling short. I could have stayed as an English teacher, but it wasn’t something that I really wanted to do.

Coming back meant finding the right job, not just ‘a job’. I decided to take a job that I felt would really fit me both as a person and as an engineer. This might sound strange—but as I learned working for Toyota—being an engineer was the only thing that mattered. I still vividly remember the time I was asked by a Japanese coordinator, ‘Dave-san, what’s more important—work or other things?’ Well, if you’re reading this blog, you can probably tell what matters more to me (but at the time I had to carefully word my response to said coordinator).

So what’s this new job that fits me better? I’m currently working as a technical service and support engineer for Loadrite, supporting the Americas. Loadrite is a New Zealand based company whose bread and butter are scales and data reporting for heavy equipment, such as wheel loaders and excavators. In a nutshell, the scales enable a company to accurately track and load trucks…. so that when they leave the mine or quarry site, they don’t need to dump the overweight portion (to avoid fines) or leave under-loaded, wasting fuel. The products help to streamline a company’s operations and increase its bottom line.








I am one of only three in the USA in this role and the company itself has fewer than 20 direct employees here. Compared to 30,000 working for Toyota, it is quite a change. In my role, I have the flexibility of working from home most of the time, but there’s a small office here in Phoenix where I go when I need to access our products for more detailed support. Other times, I hit the road to support installations or calibrations. So far I’ve done this here in Arizona, as well as Iowa, Washington, California, and have a trip planned next week in Utah. Most times, I get to use problem solving and quick-thinking skills to help resolve customers’ issues.

In short, it is far different than my 6 years spent in cubicles for Toyota. I’m actually able to meet and work with customers, as well as see good results and pleased customers. Of course I met many customers when I worked for Toyota, but to this day, no one has ever said ‘I’m so glad my foglamp doesn’t pop out of my Avalon’s bumper after a 5mph impact’ or ‘Thanks for making sure I can drive over curbs in my Highlander without the rocker panel falling off.’ Seeing the immediate satisfaction of a loader or excavator operator being able to accurately load trucks… as simple as it seems, is gratifying.

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But obviously, life’s not all about work—since I’ve been back, I’ve gotten back into playing tennis, hiking, and taking photographs. I finally purchased a new camera and have been taking a few photos—but not as many as I would like. After living in Santiago where there was almost always something going on, I decided to live in downtown Phoenix—close enough to walk to restaurants, bars & café’s, as well as the supermarket.


I’m definitely not done traveling—I’m just taking a hiatus of sorts and developing my next set of plans!


Living in Santiago


When I started this blog, its intended purpose was to serve as my travel blog. Since selling my motorcycle in early June, my traveling has wound down and I began making my way to Santiago, Chile. I had seen almost everything I wanted to see in South America, my camera barely working,  but I still wasn’t quite ready to return to the USA.
Always in the back of my mind as I traveled through Latin America was the thought of looking for a place that I might want to live… at least for a while. My criteria weren’t too strict; the place would have to have potable water, friendly people, be moderately safe, and have prospects for employment. After getting to know many places, I narrowed my list down to three cities; Bogotá, Colombia, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Santiago, Chile.


I can’t put my finger on that one single thing that pointed me to Santiago. To be honest, my first impressions of Santiago were not favorable. In fact, I didn’t even mention it in my blog! When I arrived the first time in February, I wasn’t planning to spend much time there (‘Patagonia or Bust’ would have been an appropriate sticker to have had) and it was really, really hot and there was a lot of smog.  I wandered around a little, caught some live music in the closest plaza, but wasn’t really turned on to the city.


It wasn’t until I returned to Santiago at the end of March that I got to know and appreciate the city. I arrived to start training as a motorcycle tour guide, first staying in the up-scale neighborhood of Las Condes, later moving hotels to stay in downtown Santiago. Although Las Condes is a nice neighborhood, it wasn’t really appealing to me—it is more of a yuppie crowd. Downtown Santiago seemed a lot more ‘real’—the kind of place where people work and live without a lot of pretense. I ended up making some friends and got to know the city a little better. An added bonus to the downtown area, there are plenty of parks, plazas, museums, and cafes in which to relax and escape the bustle of city life.
With the motorcycle tour, I departed Santiago heading toward Cuzco, Peru, but had to return about a month later, heading back through on the way to pickup my motorcycle in Buenos Aires. To break up the trip, I spent a few more days in the city, getting to know it even better. All-in-all, I actually spent more time in Buenos Aires during my travels than in Santiago, but I found that the people in Buenos Aires were a little more ‘closed’ and it wasn’t so easy to meet and get to know locals.


So, when my travels started winding down and I sold the motorcycle, picked up a bike, and I headed back to Santiago—almost finished with travels but still not ready to return to the USA, find a job, and return to the ‘same old.’ The tourist visa for Chile gave me 3 months to stay. Staying in a hostel was affordable, but staying in a bunk bed while sharing a room with 7 other folks wasn’t something I wanted to do—I wanted to ‘live’ in the city. I looked around and found a room for rent in an apartment located directly in downtown, I can literally look at the Chilean president’s office (La Moneda) from the front entrance. The price was about the same as a hostel, but allowed me to have a private room and a lot more peace and quiet. I am the fifth person in the apartment, 3 guys from Chile and one girl from Brazil. The three guys work in various areas in Santiago and the girl is studying in an exchange program. Even though there are a lot of people, it never seems like it because it’s rare that everyone’s home at the same time.  There’s a place for my bicycle and I can get almost everywhere within the city via my bike or the metro, with the closest stop being within a block.
Now that I’m living in Santiago with my own place to stay, I’m on the hunt for a job—either teaching English or working as a mechanical engineer. My plan is to enjoy my time here, knowing that I can always return to the USA and find an engineering job—but I would like to find something here that allows me to stay for a longer period of time.








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An even more unexpected twist of events


When I titled my previous blog entry ‘An Unexpected Twist of Events‘ I had no idea what was yet to come. The events of these last few days have made for quite an unforgettable visit to Argentina. I’ve been traveling around South America on a motorcycle for the last 6 months and have seen just about everything that I’ve wanted to see in South America (really the only place left is the Galapagos Islands). As my wish list was winding down, I listed my motorcycle for sale on the internet, see what offers I would get.

Traveling around without a set itinerary made it a bit difficult to coordinate the sale, but I found one guy that was going to be more or less crossing paths with me and we arranged to meet up in Formosa, Argentina. He was traveling by bicycle and wanted to switch to a motorcycle.  Being in Foz do Iguaçu, getting to Formosa meant a 500km drive, crossing through Paraguay and then into Argentina. Not knowing what to expect, I gave myself 2 days to get there, as I would have to cross the Brazil-Paraguay border and then the Paraguay-Argentina border.

I had been to Paraguay one time before, with the sole intention of buying a new front tire for my motorcycle, as taxes are extremely low as compared to surrounding areas. Where I bought the tire was in Ciudad del Este, a border town with Foz. From what I could tell, there wasn’t much more going for the town than cross-border commerce—people came from neighboring Brazil and Argentina with the intention of buying cheap goods. As such, it had a slightly seedy feel to it and I didn’t care for it much at all—the kind of place to visit, get what you came for, and leave as soon as possible.

The first time I entered Paraguay, I just followed the motorcycle lane across the border and found myself dumped right into the city, not having passed through immigrations and customs of either country. This time I actually needed to get my passport stamped out of Brazil, get my bike officially out of Brazil, get my passport stamped into Paraguay and my bike temporarily imported. The first step went fine—I was stamped out of Brazil and then went to get my bike noted as exited. Unfortunately that process took about 1 hour—not because there was any line, but because they were incredible slow. Once I had it taken care of, I went to the Paraguay side of the border and received my entry stamp. Next I went to customs to have my motorcycle temporarily imported. While I was there, I witnessed the agent receive at least 3 bribes from others delivering stacks of paperwork for him to process. In all of my travels, this was the first time seeing such blatant and open bribery. Fortunately I was able to get my motorcycle imported without having to grease the works.

After that I was free to roam legally in Paraguay with my motorcycle, but it was raining and getting dark and I only drove about 100kms before looking for a place to stop for the night. In the town I picked to stay, there were only 2 restaurants; one with only deep fried empanadas and the other with rotisserie chicken. For me it was a relatively easy choice. Unfortunately the chicken was only tepid and its accoutrements of rice and boiled yuca were actually cold. Thinking back—this is exactly the kind of food that could cause food poisoning. I was tired and not thinking about it, but fortunately I didn’t come down with anything!

The next day I awoke and hit the road, fortunately the rain had stopped, and looked for a place to grab some breakfast. Unfortunately the first place I found only had hamburgers for breakfast—not exactly what I had in mind. A little further down the road I did find a place that was willing to serve eggs instead of only hamburgers. After eating, I kept continuing on the road toward Asuncion, where I would have to cross the border into Argentina. Down the road I stopped at another restaurant and chose milanesa de carne—breaded flattened steak. Once again, it was served cold. I still can’t figure it out, but I found it quite uninspiring to eat food that had been prepared earlier and had been sitting around for however many hours.

I usually try to avoid big cities because they tend to be confusing, especially driving around in a car or motorcycle. Asuncion was no exception… at one point I was on a 4 lane highway entering the city, but without making any turns, it dwindled into little more than an alley. Finally I turned to a reliable source to get me back on track—a cabby. I got back on the right track but still had to stop multiple times to get all the way out of town.

Once at the border, the process was quick and painless—I was stamped out of Paraguay, exited my bike, and went to do the same in Argentina, a familiar process ad I’ve entered Argentina many times now during my trip. Fortunately the process was relatively quick and I was back on the road toward Formosa in no time. About one hour later, I arrived and began looking for the hotel, Residential City, where I was to meet the future owner of my motorcycle, Dylan

I found the place, checked in and soon saw that it was pretty grimy, especially for the price they were charging. It looked like the place hadn’t received any attention in years. I don’t have any problem staying at places like this, but usually the owners realize what they’ve got isn’t gold and thus charge accordingly. Not this place, though.

I met Dylan, the buyer, who unfortunately had eaten some bad empanadas and wasn’t able to venture too far from his bathroom. I went to the supermarket to grab some fruit and bread to hold me over. Later, I unloaded everything off my bike and took it to my room with plans to go through everything and sort what I would keep and what would go with the bike.

The next day, I awoke, had a quick breakfast, and jumped in the shower. The shower-head was the electrical type, something that I’ve never seen in the USA, but common in Latin America. In the middle of my shower, I noticed that the unit was actually smoking and then I saw flames, so I immediately got out of the shower and cut the electricity to the unit. This was only the start of things to come.

A run in with the Formosa, Argentina Secret Police

After I got dressed, I started going through my things when someone came to the door of the room and identified herself as a police officer. She was wearing plain clothes but showed me her badge and then started asking me questions about where I had come from, what is my profession, and what I was doing there. I told here that I came from Paraguay the night before, am a guide, and that I was just there passing through, relaxing a bit. I didn’t want to tell her that I was there just to sell my motorcycle. She then told me that it is mandatory for visitors to the province to check in with the police, just showing their passport, etc. I told her that I would go (not really planning on sticking around long enough to do it, though). She also talked to Dylan and told him the same thing as me.

A short bit later, she came back and told me that she would arrange a vehicle to take us to the police station and that we only needed to bring our passports to identify ourselves. I still had a few things to take care of on the motorcycle but wanted to search for another hotel. Unfortunately, the policeman was at the front of the hotel and wouldn’t let me leave. I quietly asked the hotel receptionist if this person was indeed with the police—she said yes and that they come by every day looking at the hotel’s books to see where people are from, etc.

When the police vehicle arrived, it was a Ford Ranger pickup truck and we were instructed to climb into the bed. We drove through town, getting odd looks from townspeople as we headed to the station. When we arrived, it wasn’t actually the police headquarters, but rather a nondescript building on a side street. We were escorted inside and taken past the front desk to the back of the building to an ad hoc processing room. The place didn’t feel like a police station, but there were a few wanted signs and some of the people had guns, even though everyone was in plain clothes.

After waiting for some time, before anyone talked to us. I was taken in a room and very briefly questioned about why I was in Formosa. I told them that I had entered from Paraguay the afternoon before on my motorcycle and chose to spend the night in Formosa. They reviewed my passport and then typed the information in a computer and then took a series of mug shots and a full head-to-toe shot. After that, they returned me to the waiting area and said it would just be a few more minutes.

About an hour passed and I asked if I could go and they said not yet. At that point, which was a good 2 hours into the process, feeling completely misled by what the officer told me in the hotel in the morning, and not liking where things were going, I asked to contact the US Consulate. They refused.

After waiting for some time more, they said they wanted more information and would be taking my fingerprints, but I would have to wait until the fingerprint person arrived. At this point I again asked to contact the US Consulate and they refused. As a result, I sent a text message to a friend in the USA asking him to contact the US Consulate on my behalf.

Eventually the fingerprint administrator arrived and I gave 2 full sets of fingerprints and had even more questioning–but very basic such as the name of my parents, my profession, marital status, etc. Afterwards, I was taken back to the waiting area and told that it would just be a few more minutes.

After even more time had passed, an officer presented a document written in Spanish and said I had to sign it to be able to go. The heading said that it was from the department of ‘Robos y Hurtos,’ Robberies and Stolen Goods. The document was about a page long and had a lot of terminology that I had never seen or used and I didn’t feel completely comfortable signing it. I asked them for an English version but they refused, so I signed it, also writing in a note in English that I signed it unwillingly. They told me that if I didn’t sign it then I would have to wait for immigrations to come and pick me up—maybe a bluff, but the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time in police custody. They then said it would just be a little more time before I could exit—something I was growing accustomed to hearing but hadn’t seen it to be true.

Another hour passed and I was told that I needed a medical examination. I had to wait behind several others but when it was my turn, the officials explained to me that it was a compulsory examination to verify that I had not been beaten by the police while in their custody. The official asked about bruises or wounds, but I had none to explain.

After I left the medical examination, I was told that I could leave—really. And so I did. I had helped Dylan in translating requests of the police, so I waited for him and we left together. The entire process took just shy of 6 hours. I was very glad to leave and glad the procedure did not take longer (they told me that it could take up to 24 hours).

When we arrived back at the hotel, I took care of the few things left to fix on the motorcycle—when I adjusted the valve clearance, I couldn’t find the exact gasket for the camshaft tensioner. Unfortunately the one I found wasn’t doing its job and was allowing a little oil to leak. I decided to fix it with some silicone gasket maker. The other item was that the rear tire was low on air, so I took it to a tire shop to patch the innertube. It turned out to only be the valve, which was an easy repair.

Later we found a notary who notarized the sale documents to allow Dylan to circulate freely with the motorcycle. The notary business in Argentina is where I need to be—to notarize 2 documents, we were charged just shy of $50—something that would be done for free in almost any bank in the USA. After that, we transferred things—including him giving me his touring bicycle. So now I’m traveling by bicycle.

After everything was complete, I found another hotel and spent the night. The next morning I went to the bus terminal looking for a ticket out of the province. I chose to visit Rosario, Santa Fe.