Sunday, January 30, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We left the warmth and sunshine and arrived home safe and sound. Sadly, we went through a 50 degree temperature change from a high of 30 degrees to a low of negative 2o.

It feels strange to be back, but comforting at the same time.

Saturday Afternoon

Transportation has always been interesting during our travels. The fact that we do not have our own vehicle to drive this time around requires us to be more adaptable to the circumstances. Today we decided to go farther up the coast to a more remote beach, but vastly popular to surfers. Santiago offered to drive us in his Toyota land cruiser that has a very short box. In preparation, here he is installing the safety belt across the back. Nora looks skeptical.And voila... that looks so much safer now - doesn't it??
I did not want to be left out and squeezed in with my back against the cab.
Once we were out of the town limits, and veered off on the typically horrendously potholed and washed out dirt road, we realized that standing up and absorbing the bumps with our legs was preferable to the spine crunching seated position. JD and I knowingly looked at each other and silently agreed that we were once again committing a parental crime.
But what fun we had in getting there.
And here we are: at yet another beach. Another day of sunshine, salt water, and fresh air.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ometepe Island


Today we took a ferry ride to Ometepe Island. In the native language of long ago, Ometepe means 'two hills' and the hills in question are Concepcion Volcano and Madera Volcano. It is truly a beautiful island and JD's favourite place to be.
Here's Elsie driving the ferry. It was rough water going across and while everyone was happy and content, I lay crumpled on the deck, not daring to move lest I lost my lunch.
Here's Averyl with a volcano looming behind her. The clouds are so low that they are hugging the peak and obscuring its true size.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Signs


Every now and then I see something that is new and unusual, and definitely not found in Canada. This one is pretty self explanatory to those that live here, but in case you are having difficulties it is a picture of an erupting volcano.


This one I have never seen anywhere else before.
And this last one is just for fun.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Playa La Flor - Tortugas

We just went on the best trip. EVER! We rented a taxi and drove for an hour on the worst road I have ever been on. We had to cross three river where the bridges had been washed out, the car had no shocks and bottomed out just about ever 100m, and to top it off the car smelled of diesel. However that can all be overlooked because our taxi driver safely delivered us to Nicaragua's famous national park: la Flor Wildlife Reserve where amazing things are happening. First of all it is a park dedicated to protecting the threatened tropical rainforest and second, it is the only protected beach where endangered sea turtles arrive to lay their eggs.

At 9:00pm at night we arrived and were introduced to our guide. We had to cover all our flashlights and cameras with a red film to reduce the intensity of the light (so all our pictures have been converted to black and white). Stepping out on the beach our guide showed us about six 'piles' of baby turtles emerging from the sand. At first I thought they were dead, but they just move slow as it takes a lot of effort to climb out over top of all your brothers and sisters.
Each egg pocket has around 40 to 60 turtles. They have greater success in getting to the water if they travel en masse. Amazingly, we were allowed to pick them up. They were so cute. No really, they were. Their little fins tickled your palm as you held them. The guide encouraged us to carry them closer to the water because they are often eaten by crabs, or other predators along the way.Here is a great picture of a cluster of turtles that we carried to the water and watched as the waves came up and carried them off to sea. You can see the moon in the sky.
After a couple of hours, the emergence of the baby turtles was finished for the night and it was time to wait for the momma turtles to arrive. They usually do so after the moon has set so they have better protection. The most popular times for laying eggs are in April and November. We waited, and waited, and waited, but no one showed up. Nora could not stay up any longer. So we considered it a night and went home.


Wow!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Santiago and Queen Fairy Gwendolyn

Today we went out for an afternoon social visit in the country where Santiago and Gwendolyn live. It is a beautiful piece of land. As mentioned previously, they live in a school bus converted into their home. It is very cozy.

We planned on staying for dinner, but what I did not know, was that our dinner was still alive when we arrived. Santiago took the kids into the chicken coop where a plump chicken was picked out. Here he is explaining to the kids that if you rub under the chin just so the chicken will would calm down. It worked like a charm.


And then the grizzly part started. Santiago tied the chicken up to a tree, inserted a spike into it's
brain to kill it, and then proceeded to lop its head off.











Here's Elsie assisting Gwendolyn with the

de-feathering. Sadly, I was not able to 'pluck up' the courage to help.













And here is Gwendolyn. As can be seen on her expression, she is resisting the urge to involuntarily throw up.


All in all, dinner was good.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lobolira



We found an awesome place to rent for two weeks that far surpasses my expectations of 'roughing it'. It is a newly built house that has a kitchen, a bathroom and two bedrooms. What a joy!

San Juan del Sur

We rented a taxi one morning and changed towns. We have arrived at San Juan del Sur. It is a popular destination for many white folk both young and old. Basically, it is a hippy town that has changed with all of its outside influences. Here we can buy yummy bread at le Pan de Vida (very similar to 'With the Grain') or have a great cup of coffe, or cappuccino at Gato Negro (think Planet Bean). There is a mercado where we can buy our local vegtables every day (not unlike our Farmer's Market). And so on, and so on.

Today we found the liberia and signed up . So, now we can get some books out and return them within a week. To sign up I gave them my name and home address and phone number. They did not ask to see any identification.

More Pics

Averyl really enjoyed the horses
I'll never tire of $12 lobster dinners!!
Some colourful characters that we met in town

Beach Beach Beach

One of the challenges of being on vacation is what to do with your time. Some people golf and can spend the whole day getting to the course and then playing. Some people ride motorcycles and plan day trips and check out all the corners of the earth. In our case, we have kids and the options aren't open to us. Luckily there is the the beach. La playa, as it is known here, offers endless hours of distraction. Favourite pastimes are collecting shells (Pop has put a limit on just how many that they are able to bring home). The age old 'cover some willing victim' with sand is a great hit. The kids seem to make friends where ever they go. This girl's name is Nayla and she also likes collecting shells with the girls.
Averyl, Elsie and Nora also found that just horsing around was a lot of fun.
One issue that exists all over the world is the amount of garbage. It is sad that the amount of plastic in the worlds oceans can now be measured as a percentage. These guys seem to be the only ones actually picking up around here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Waterfall

At every river, in every town, is a dam where most of life happens. People bathe, kids play, women wash cloathes, and everyone cools off from the heat. More than most do not wear bathing suits, but just walk into the water fully cloathed. My guess is that their cloathes dry so fast that it is not an issue and it feels good against the heat to be slightly damp for the next couple of hours. So, we all tried it and went in fully cloathed - well, not JD. He has issues with water that most of you know about. It was great fun, refreshing, and no salt and sand.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lighthouse

Today we walked along the beach. We waded through two rivers and arrived at a lighthouse. Against all precautions for danger, we climbed to the top to have a look. Half way up I decided this might not be the best parental move I had made and hoped that no one lost their footing. It was a straight ladder essentially up four flights.

Here's a view towards the north. Basically, while there is nothing to see, our property is at the far left of the photo, approximately 15 km from Masachapa.

Here's a view looking south. We are staying just around the last visible point.





Breakfast as usual


We had a woman next door prepare us supper. I asked for a fish dinner that would feed five of us. She went off and about forty minutes later came to find us on the beach. She had grilled a large red snapper complete with head, (that kind of freaked the kids out) that hung over both sides of a large serving platter. It came with rice. salsa, limes, and fried plantano chips. I had to server the head and serve the meat before C-A and the kids would eat it. I am very happy here.


This morning I found the same woman and asked for a platter of eggs, beans and plantanos. This is working out well for me. I just ask and I receive. Don’t anyone tell Cathy (from the Apollo Restaurant) that she has been replaced - well at least temporarily.

Ode to Roberto Burle Marx


While this is only a small fishing village on the Pacific Coast, someone has some good ideas about what to do with recycled materials. What a cool look! All the tiles are broken and no doubt came from many different found sources. Surprisingly, the installation is level but be careful.. stepping off the sidewalk is a hazard as the curb height ranges from 6 inches to 14 inches.





Roberto Burle Marx was a landscape architect, designer, artist born in the early 1900's and died in the 1990's. Google Copacabana Promenade, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil for a good look at the 1970's famous sidewalk. Here's a picture that I copied.

Masachapa

The kids hit the beach with ferocious zealous. The wave jumping was -and still is- an excellent attraction. They have easily slipped into life on the beach. Here are some photo's of our surroundings.


We had a lot of fun on this rock for the obvious reasoning that it looked like a sunken skull. The girls kept stepping in and out of the 'eyesockets' with glee.

Nicaragua 2010



Hello Everyone,


We have arrived safe and sound. The travel went fine. Averyl has officially overcome her tummy trauma’s at take-off and touch-down via air travel. Yeah! The only complaint is airport food really does suck and it is expensive. We shared our first plane ride from TO to Atlanta with a celebrity - Justin Beiber. Strangely, nothing to report on that, just name dropping. Our kids were unimpressed as they did not know the teen idol.


Upon arrival we were greeted with warm sweet air. It truly is wonderful here. We hired a taxi to drive us to our first destination: Masachapa - a small fishing village on the Pacific Coast. We had to ask the driver to stop so we could take off all our travel cloathes before we expired from heat exhaustion. Socks are just not something of importance in Nica. Nor are long pants or sweaters.


Casa LaSasso. We are staying at a typical Nica establishement - unrefined, casual palapa on the beach. These places can often cause me grief in terms of keeping our stuff organized and clean, but I also think that is precisely the reason I am travelling - to come to terms that life in Guelph is very organized, clean, safe, and predictable. And knowing that it exists and is waiting for us upon our return makes me take in all aspects down here with a zen like perspective.