Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Collecting Shells

Averyl loves collecting shells and she is very successful.

While we were at Playa Gigante,  Averyl was sorting her latest finds and showing them to us.  It so happens that this simple display scared the wits out of C-A and Averyl.

A beautiful blue spotted crab and and his friend crawled off the table where Averyl had spread them.  We let them get away...back to the beach.  They were probably just as surprised about the event as we were.  However, the two run-aways probably had a head ache after their fall from the table.  

Now Averyl always checks to see if anyone is at home first before putting them in her bag.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Shiffletts meet the Saighs

We all know about towns that have 'sister' cities.  Meaning that both towns possess similarities in population, altitude, industry...etc.  Well, can that apply to families?

While hanging out in Granada, at the park, the Shiffletts met the Saigh family.  They originate from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   Myles, the father, is a carpenter and rides dirt bikes. Katie, the mother, is the book keeper for the family business and abides by homeopathic practices.  They have three kids, ages 7, 5, and 3.  

Once we found each other, we hung out for five days until our plans took us to different locations.   Here are all six kids playing at the park.

This is an adorable picture of Nora and Elias, three year olds, while on a boat trip.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


'Twas Christmas eve and all through the town, not a creature was sleeping or wearing a frown.

Firecrackers going off, every minute and hour, with loud music blaring at maximum power.

Our children slept through it, they had no cares, in hope that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.

The pinata was twisted, and so was JD, who bought the Tazmanian Devil for the ninas three.

Santa filled it with candy, and presents... a few.  Wrapped up in banana leaves, newspaper too.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tooth Fairy

We all discovered something new today.

The tooth fairy pays out Cordobas for teeth in Nicaragua.  Averyl lost her sixth tooth yesterday while brushing her teeth.  She happened to drop it, while at a restaurant called Big Wave   Daves.  But in good faith the tooth fairy payed out 10 cordobas (about 50 canadian cents).


The sunsets of San Juan del Sur.

What else can I say...that pictures don't say.

...hmm... there was a warm wind when I took this photo.  

..hmm..  i had sand in my sandals.

The clouds at dusk, just after sunset.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Here's a story...

Long, long ago in a land far, far away JD was hanging out with Zinger at his house in El Tuito, Mexico.  They happened upon two guys riding motorbikes and struck up a conversation.  One guy was named Jim.  They hung out for 5 days and partyed.

Fast forward twenty years...

In a land far, far away, JD was riding his motorbike through Nicaragua last January.  He was approached by a guy interested in his motorbikes and struck up a conversation.  His name was Santiago.  After a while, JD looked at him and said.."Is your other name Jim?"

Indeed it was.  It was the same guy and he lives near San Juan del Sur in an old converted school bus.  The kids just love this part.  We had dinner with Santiago and his partner Gwendelynn last night.   Oops, I forgot to take a picture of his bus. 

But here is Santiago and Nora sharing a moment.


Surf's up in San Juan del Sur

We hit the mecca of tourism in Nicaragua.  San Juan del Sur.  

This is us at the beach.  JD, well known for melting when he gets wet, stayed on shore and took pictures.     

Nora, in her element.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Well, no adventure would be complete when travelling to a tropical country without a  story about coconuts.  And guess what....we have one.

While having a picnic with the girls in the garden, I asked Sergio (the house gardener) that when a coconut fell, could he please give it to us.  But he took it upon himself to haul the ladder out, climb up on the roof and use a metal rod with a hook on the end to shake the tree.  

Down came many coconuts.  

With his long machette like blade, Sergio hacked the outer skin away and then I put a straw in to have a drink.  Wow.  I have never done that before.  Neither had the kids.  Elsie took the first sip and spit it back out, Nora basically followed suit but Averyl and I had a good long drink.  It was very good.  Nothing like I have every tasted before.  (I aim to have a real honest to goodness pina colada while here) 

Once done drinking the liquid from the centre, Serio then cut it in half.


And we all took turns scooping out the flesh.

Friday, December 19, 2008


There are some things that I may never figure out in life.  Laundry might just be one of them. JD and I both can't figure out how anyone can dress in white here.  I see children, adults, seniors all dressed in immaculate white cloathes... and then along comes the Shiffletts. We are a dirty looking bunch.  My kids love to play in the dirt.  Pile it up, sit in it, sift it through their hands and then their hair.  Nora even went so far as to do a sand angel, face first, in a pile of sandy lava dirt that is the ground surface of all areas that do no have vegetation. 

Upon arrival back at Salvador's house (aka 'home away from home') I asked Dora, the house attendant, to do our laundry.  What she gave back to me made my mouth drop.  Our cloathes were white!  Seriously white....including the dirty stained t-shirt of Averyl's that she wore here on the plane that I have never been able to get clean.   How did she do it I do not know.  My spanish is not that good to ask or to understand.  WOW. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008


We took the local bus from Managua to Granada today.  Yes, it truly was a ride to experience. No chickens thankfully but extremely crowded and lots going on.  Nora had the grace to fall asleep in my lap and cause my slight discomfort to expand.  The girls have started a game of counting buses while out in the bustle of the city.  Once on a bus, however, it soon changed to taxis and the count from one city to another was 225.  That's a lot.  

We are staying at the Oasis Hostel in Granada.  It has many hammocks (we bought one) and a pool (already in the pool business).  This is a favourite spot of JD's as you are able to grab a cold beer as you enter the hostel.   My favourite...there is a lot of eye candy (currently, six strapping young Belgians) 

The city, like the rest of Nicaragua is poor, but generally happy.  The concept of contentment is different here.  The concept of disposable income and consumption does not exist here, as I expect it does not exist anywhere else in Nica.  Today Elsie did not finish her lunch and asked to take it with her.  She gave it to the little boy that was sitting on the steps.   
Granada is the oldest city in Nicaragua and the oldest city in the Central America for that matter.   We took a carriage ride through the city.  Elsie was excited as she was the lucky one to sit up front with the driver (ok, she was the only one brave enough to).  Here is a picture of the church of Eglisia Guadalupe with us on our carriage.  

Other adventures during our stay included climbing the bell tower of the Eglisia la Merced.  It provided us a nice view of the city rooftops (which by the way are all made out of clay 'u' shaped tiles) and far off in the distance we could see the Lago Colcibolca (the largest lake in central america at 160 kilometers long) 

Having breakfast one morning, we were able to share it with a parrot which made the girls giggle and smile.  Speaking of food, eating is different.  We can eat eggs with rice and beans every morning with plenty of local fruit.  But come lunch time, all things are different.  To JD, who usually goes out for lunch during his working days, all seems normal.  He can saddle up to any place offering beer and be content.  Me, on the other hand, has experienced mild difficulty, I guess in terms of mental adjustment to eating out for every meal, coupled with the confusion of how and what to eat.   So, I found el supermercado.  I solved my problems by being able to walk through the aisles, read all the ingredients, and start to know just what exactly all these words in spanish mean.  Also, I feel entirely at ease now when my kids are hungry and I can feed them immediately. 
We are back at Salvador's house again and are going to hang low for a couple of days and plan our next outing and our longer range plans.  


Monday, December 15, 2008

Arriving in Nicaragua

Well, we made it.  The kids were fabulous and are great travellers.  

The weather upon arrival was 80 degrees,  with a slight breeze and a moistness in the air that is not available in Canada.  (well, maybe in July and August)

We were greeted at the airport by a man holding a sign 
that read J.D. Shcifgtletft.  We figured that was us. 
The man drove us to Salvidor's house.  It is here that we 
will call home and drop our stuff.   
Here is a picture.

We are off to Granada today.  We are going to ride the bus. 
The kids are very excited.