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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.

A dink.

We also realised that we had a lot of planning to do. Sure, it's a damn sight easier than leaving Perth was, but we had to work out what to do with all our furniture, how much duty free we could bring back with us, and of course, how many fun Nicaraguan momentos to bring without causing a ruckus at customs. And of course, the cancellation of bills, payments, arguing with various agencies, having the back yard ripped up... the usual.

Pinatas!

We allowed the first two weeks to slip by unnoticed. It's easy to do. Then, when we realised everything wasn't just going to sort itself out, we decided to make a comprehensive list. Exciting stuff.

Ladies in the markets selling Christmas baubles.

Our major concern was what to do with all our stuff. Ridiculously enough, all those fancy-shmancy international moving companies don't ship from Nicaragua to Australia! I know, insane, isn't it? We didn't want the hassle of selling it, so we settled on the option of giving it away. We searched around for an appropriate venue, and we settled on Carita Feliz, a fabulous organisation run by Peter Kolind who feeds a couple of thousand children every week, educates a large percentage of them, runs a farmacia for the poor people of Granada, and is generally generous. His latest project; setting up a women's refuge, seemed like the ideal venue for our furniture, so we arranged it all with him to collect it on our final weekend and booked ourselves into the Dario hotel for three nights. A bit pricey, but guaranteed wireless in all the rooms and a pool, so we were happy.

The scene is set with glittery sheep and cows...

Kaleb enjoyed his final week in school, which culminated in a school play about the birth of Jesus, for which Kaleb had a special costume made of satin (first time I've seen a nativity play where the shepherds wear satin and not teatowels on their heads, but there you have it). We had the costume run up at Tienda Ruth, the lovely dressmakers who use treadle sewers and were busy creating costumes and Christmas gear for every kid in the neighbourhood. The play itself was fabulous. The costumes were extreme, the sheep were made of cardboard and covered in glitter, and all the children comported themselves beautifully. There was lots of awesome dancing as well.

Cool caterpillars

A couple of days before we left we took Kaleb and Jacob up to a butterfly farm - not the one at the base of Mombacho, but one just out of town. Not only were the butterflies stunning, but the boys also got to chase butterflies with nets to increase the collection, which was great fun. The farm was beautiful, as were the butterflies. A very satisfactory morning.

A butterfly.

We got the house packed with a minimum of fuss, weighed our bags to ensure they were all the right weight, and enjoyed the freedom of not cleaning like idiots because we paid someone for the privilege. We ended up with six suitcases which was pretty reasonable. We then hung out in the hotel for three days, and visited with our soon to be far away friends. The best thing about the hotel was the hot water - and the best bath EVER. I took several baths.

Tienda Ruth - where the sewing machines run on foot-power.

On our final morning, we went to breakfast at the restaurant. Which was no fun really, but at least it was free. We went for a coffee, settled our bill, and stuffed all our possessions into the back of the hotel's luxury ute, and made our way to the airport to begin a horrific thirty eight hour transit adventure.

Dave, shopping for a new look.

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