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What I learned in residence in Central America, 2007

Last meal - Nica Buffet!

This is essentially a summing up of our ten month experience in Nicaragua. During which we have had a fabulous time, and we intend to come back at some stage because it's a really great location to spend time, learn new things, and have some awesome experiences you just can't get in Australia.

A school play, a butterfly farm, and leaving Nicaragua.

The virgin on parade. Again.

After Leah left we had a mere scrapping four weeks left on our Nicaragua sojourn, which we were somewhat dismal about. We'd really started settling in and enjoying ourselves, and realised that of course, we'd been starting to take the whole experience for granted until it was indicated to us that soon, we wouldn't be here to have the experience anymore. Like I said, dismal. Combined, in my case, with food poisoning.

Ear infections, Masaya Volcano, and a pleasant bout of food poisoning

It's okay, Telepizza. I have reservations about large groups as well.

Obviously, getting back home from our five star vacation took some getting used to. There was the lack of five starness in our house, for example. And the lack of swimming pools. And the lack of zoo. We begrudgingly got used to these things and set about a little more relaxation in the couple of days before Leah took off.

San Juan Del Sur, a water taxi to Majagual, and a bottle of suave vodka...

Eagerly awaiting the arrival of our boat taxi on the shores of San Juan Del Sur.

On our final full day in San Juan Del Sur, we decided it was time to get out there and actually swim in the pacific. We didn't want to swim at the actual San Juan Del Sur beach, because it was fairly oily looking from all the moored boats, the sewerage from the town was outlet right into the middle of the bay, and on top of that all the local dogs appeared to use the beach as their toilet. So we booked a water taxi to take us to one of the less accessible northern beaches: Majagual. We packed a picnic lunch, farewelled our awesome villa, and wandered down to the beachfront to catch the boat.

A Halloween party, margaritaville, Leah and Hillary Duff, and a room for every occasion...

When in doubt, black is the halloween colour...

Because we were completely unprepared to dress up, Leah and I took the lots-of-black-clothes-and-black-eyeliner-counts-as-dressing-up-for-halloween path. After much deliberation, we managed to make Kaleb a bang-up ninja costume cunningly crafted from tie-pants, one of my black hoodies, Dave's singlet, and several well placed safety pins. Then we hurried down to the bar to take advantage of happy hour, and a few more rounds of margaritas.

San Juan Del Sur, Lago Azul, Pelican Eyes and a good old fashioned relax at a luxury resort

Ah, the luxury of the ferry.

We settled up our extortionate hotel bill the following morning, and heaved our packs back to the port at Moyagulpa. Alright, we had someone else heave them into the luxury 4WD and hand them to us at the dock. We found out that we were just in time to catch the ferry—very luxurious compared to the fiberglass Pepsi boat we arrived in—and spent the hour long journey alternating between the luxury cabin watching bad Spanish soaps and the top deck, from which we had unfettered 360 degree views, an invigorating breeze, and a view of the truck filled with maduro that had pulled onto the ferry with us.The views were fabulous.

Cascada San Ramon, Petroglyphs, and our initiation into the saddle club...

Bright eyed and bushy tailed at 8AM. Except Leah, for whom breakfast was a bit much...

Devastatingly enough, we had to be up and ready to go at 7:30AM for the San Ramon waterfall hike, which we begrudgingly achieved. We scoffed a mediocre breakfast while being swooped by hungry insects, dogs, and urracas. Then we wandered out to the foyer of the hotel to await our ride.

San Jorge, Ometepe, Villa Paraíso, Lago Cocibolca and a bazillion mozzies...

Volcan Concepción—from San Jorge

Leah, Las Isletas, Mombacho, the Laguna De Apoyo, and an unfortunate toilet incident...

Photo of Leah with a deep fried guapote

Mmmm. Big fried fish at the isletas.

What adventures we have had, on our psuedo holiday inside a holiday with Leah!

The little generator that could and a Nicaraguan karate tournament

Photo of our little generator

Gosh, isn’t THAT an attractive generator?

Well doesn’t time just fly? Just a quick catch up entry to keep you all fully informed about our doings around the exotic location of Nicaragua. What Dave and I are finding bizarre and freakish is that firstly, we have been here for just over eight months, (where does the time go?) and it’s now easier to work out how many weeks we have left here as opposed to my earlier entries which were how many weeks we had been here for.

Food, glorious food - updated information on the Granada eating scene

A lady cooking up some typical Nicaraguan street fair

Since my last blog entry about food is getting read a lot, and now we’ve been to quite a few more restaurants and started settling into the whole food vibe, I’ve decided it’s time for a new, improved, and updated blog entry about the food in Granada.

Awesome Nicaraguan brand names

It never really looses its humour edge, does it? You go to a foreign country, and the brand names get you every time. I thought it was about time we compiled a photographic list of our favourite Nicaraguan brands.

Día del Patria

The whole school... with Kaleb hiding out on the left up the back.

The 14th of September is a big deal here in Nicaragua - so big, in fact, that the street we live in is named after it. It's Nicaraguan independence day or some such the like, so that means that in the lead up there's a lot of flag waving and performances and other excitingly patriotic occurrences.


Taking a well earned rest

But, of course, this is Nicaragua we’re talking about, celebrator of the virgin, and she certainly hadn’t yet been sufficiently celebrated. So we all had a public holiday on Wednesday the 15th, and then on Saturday night there was a whole lot of excited firecrackers going off all over the show from the various churches continuously for over an hour.

Correos del toros... I think.

For those who got a teensy bit close to the bull horns...

Saturday and Sunday the 11th and 12th of August were the first of the weekends for “Hípico”—the names confuse me. This is ALWAYS the 15th of August, however because this August it fell on a Wednesday, the powers that be decreed that not only should everyone have the day off on August 15th, but there would also be parades, parties, fun in the streets and general merriment on both of the weekends surrounding the 15th. These Nicaraguans, they know how to do a public holdiay with style.

My big toe

Relevant pictures seemed inappropriate. Fairy floss, anyone?

And what a fun-filled couple of weeks it's been. Once again, Nicaragua is celebrating the virgin. We asked our Spanish teacher Veronica if there was a month that they didn't celebrate the virgin here, but apparently that's unheard of. Anyway, on to the events!

A picture would represent 1000 words, if I'd had my camera which I didn't...

This photo is an irrelevant side picture of a particularly attractive butterfly, but I am about to tell an anecdote that I would have loved a picture of but didn't have a camera.

Home sweet home!

Parade at our front door.

Okay, so the water and power situation is now at least consistent. We get both power and water all weekend. There is no water every weekday between the hours of ~8AM and ~3PM, and there is three hours per day of no power, running on weekly schedules. All very respectable really.

Returning to Nicaragua

The ceiling at the Teatro National

Our final day in Costa Rica saw us hitting the buffet for the last time, getting all our stuff together, settling our bill (which was less than $400 and that included about four meals!) and heading back to the bus station, having been out of Nicaragua for over the required seventy two hours.

Day three in Costa Rica

How cool is that toucan?

Okay, so this was our final day in Costa Rica, and we were doing a big tour to “Tortuga Island” (tortuga = turtle). Sounds fun, but involved being AT A DIFFERENT HOTEL AT 6AM. Fun factor rapidly declining.

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