January 16, 2017


The (Almost) True Legend of a Lost, Cursed Honduran City : When Douglas Preston joined an expedition searching for the ancient Ciudad Blanca, he realized there may have been some truth to the warning not to enter the place (Eric Killelea  Jan 16, 2017, Outside)

In 2015, writer Douglas Preston was on assignment for National Geographic in Honduras, navigating the deep jungle of La Mosquitia with a team using lidar, a laser-based mapping technology. They were searching for the legendary Ciudad Blanca, or White City, where indigenous Hondurans were said to have fled from Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century. Preston's new book, The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story ($28; Grand Central Publishing), recounts the expedition, which included a team of scientists, researchers, filmmakers, and soldiers. After traveling through a lawless region filled with risks like jaguars and parasitic diseases, they found no evidence of the White City. Instead, what they found were the remains of what was likely a much larger, unique civilization near the edge of the Mayan empire. [...]

In the months after you returned home to Santa Fe, New Mexico, you fell ill from bug bites and were eventually diagnosed with leishmaniasis, one of the deadliest known parasitic diseases in the world. How is your health today?

It took a couple months for the disease to develop. The parasite is flesh eating. It's truly disgusting. I wouldn't recommend you Google images of this. The expedition team and I have received the best medical treatment in the world at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. We're part of a research project there. The treatment is very difficult and very physically demanding.

Unfortunately, it appears the disease is coming back in me and a couple of others. It's incurable. It creates a horrible, open ulcer on your skin. That healed up--there's a big scar on me now--but there are these red nodules again, showing that the parasite is multiplying again. I am going back to the NIH, but I'm essentially in total denial. I feel fine. I feel absolutely physically fit.

Posted by at January 16, 2017 4:52 PM