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Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey From NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer

Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey From NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer

by Mireya Mayor, Jane Goodall

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A quick examination of her roots, and one may never have guessed that Mireya Mayor would become the woman she is today. Yet, against all odds, this self-professed former "girly girl" daughter of overprotective Cuban immigrants blossomed from NFL cheerleader to Fulbright Scholar to field scientist and ultimately, quintessential adventurer. Now, with more than a decade's worth of thrilling exploits under her belt, Mayor recounts her life in a riveting, awe-inspiring new book.   In a series of short chapters, she relives each exhilarating event with uncanny charm and self-deprecating humor. Readers have the rare opportunity to follow the renowned primatologist around the globe as she unlocks the mysteries of the natural world and endeavors to save some of the planet's rarest creatures. Says Mayor: "I love the adventure, the exploration, the scientific discovery and the documentation. But really what drives me is the thought that future generations—my own children and their children—can one day learn to appreciate them like I do."   Throughout this unforgettable volume, she describes in stunning detail how she survived a plane crash...slept in jungles teeming with poisonous snakes...dove with hungry great white sharks...rappelled down a 14,000-foot sinkhole in search of frogs...draws blood from critically endangered lemurs...was charged by an angry silver-backed gorilla...was chased by elephants...and the list goes. Suffice it to say, Mireya Mayor has seen more in her 30-odd years than most of us will see in a lifetime. Her plucky spirit, brilliance in the face of calamity, and sheer will to succeed make this a classic mission book, and a thoroughly breathtaking read.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426207426
Publisher: Disney Press
Publication date: 03/01/2011
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Mireya Mayor is currently a host on Nat Geo WILD! channel with her own series “Wild Nights with Mireya Mayor” and can regularly be seen in documentary specials such as “Mystery Gorillas.” In 2009, Mayor also starred in Mark Burnett’s Emmy Nominated reality show “Expedition Africa” on History Channel. A former correspondent for the critically acclaimed series “Ultimate Explorer,” Mayor received the highly prestigious National Geographic Emerging Explorer award in 2007, and is a frequent guest lecturer for the NG Live! Lecture series. Mayor regularly appears on TV on MSNBC, CNN, Inside Edition and NBC’s “Today”.  She has also been featured in People, Marie Claire, Latina, National Geographic Adventure and Elle magazines and in The New York Times and Miami Herald.

Read an Excerpt

Deep in the heart of darkness in the lush rain forest of the Congo, the gorillas were dozing under the rays of morning sun that pierced the dense vegetation, exuding their infectious, albeit misleading, aura of calm. I, on the other hand, was swatting at sweat bees trying to make their way into my ears and up my nose. These bees are attracted to salt in human sweat, and although their sting is almost painless, their constant presence is a total pain in the butt. 

Especially when one is trying to observe gorillas and share in their Zen-like state. Ironically, the more I waved my hands to get rid of the annoying creatures, the more I sweated and added to my appeal. By the dozens, they clustered on my arms and legs and dive-bombed into my eyes. What satisfaction it gave me to crush them. While digging a bee out of my eye, I heard a noise behind me. Like most primates, gorillas are usually heard before they are seen. Not having a mirror, I was using the lens of my camera to pick sweat bees out of my pupils. Suddenly,reflected behind me was a gorgeous, 400-pound silverback. As if responding to an inaudible command, the gorillas had stopped dozing and now surrounded me. This wasn’t good. The females let out a piercing shriek. There were only three of them, but it sounded like a dozen or more. Frozen, our guide whispered to me to cower and pretend to eat leaves. Why pretend? I ingested several. 

Evidently feeling threatened, the females prodded the silverback to charge. So like a husband, at first he pretended not to hear, but the females began running at us. Our only weapon a ballpoint pen, I quickly ate more leaves. The silverback joined in the charge. Just inches from us they all stopped and began furiously slapping the ground.

Table of Contents

Foreword 8

Acknowledgments 10

Introduction 13

Chapter 1 Girl Scout Reject 17

Chapter 2 Antithesis of a Scientist 37

Chapter 3 Cheerleader in the Mist 49

Chapter 4 Seduced by Sifakas 67

Chapter 5 Caught on Film 89

Chapter 6 Don't Let the Lip Gloss Fool You 105

Chapter 7 Gorilla Warfare 117

Chapter 8 King Kong in My Pocket 135

Chapter 9 Sharks, Squid Ink, and a Frying Pan 155

Chapter 10 My Fear of Heights Conquered (Sort of) 173

Chapter 11 Leopard on a Gurney 193

Chapter 12 The Vain Girl's Guide to Survival 209

Chapter 13 A Near Disaster, I Presume? 223

Chapter 14 Machismo, Gorilla Porn, and My Worm 257

Chapter 15 Expedition: Life 283

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