Sunday, April 29, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
A sequence of random events had landed me with a house sitting gig in San Diego, a very sleepy little community a mile or so from the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, south of El Transito and north of Montelimar. The local gathering place for local expats and surfers is Los Cardones, a surf/yoga ecolodge, named after a local cactus. Very secluded and located right on the beach, a bumpy half hour away from the motorway, there is not much to do, other than surf and swing in one of the hammocks with a book. And that's just what people come here to do: The surf is consistent and excellent for everything from beginners like myself, and experts like my friends who moved here or come down to surf for months at a time.
Time to Surf
|Los Cardones Ecolodge|
- You get off the plane in Managua and your ride is nowhere to be found. You go to call him but your international phone doesn’t work. You:
- As you pick up your beach towel from the kitchen counter, an 8cm long scorpion scurries across the counter and launches himself onto the floor and hides under the trashcan. You:
- You go to brush your teeth at night and when you look in the sink, a frog is staring you in the face. You:
- The first page of the manual for the house you rented lists "local critters: Sting rays, poisoneus toads, scorpions, angry ants, and 27 varieties of snakes - 24 of which are deadly." You:
- You get tagged by a scorpion. The local cure is to drink a strong cup of coffee right away. You:
- After two days, you have sand and dust in every orifice of your body, your clothes, in your bed. You:
- You are driving down the road and see a family of three looking for a ride. The man carries a machete. You:
- You are trying to make a purchase but the sales person doesn’t understand you. You:
- There is an oxcart coming down the road. You want to take a photo. You:
Sunday, April 15, 2012
United Airlines flights to Houston depart terminal A and it should be noted that you need go towards gates 8-13 if you desire anything to eat or drink before departure, other than Dunkin Donut's and Wendy's. I luckily discovered this last minute and was therefore able to address the caffeine deficiency before boarding. Travel tip: look at what people are carrying, whether you are looking for groceries or a Starbucks, and follow the trail to the point of origin or ask where they got it.
|Houston, TX - America's |
Flying to Managua, or any other place for that matter, I recommend not checking luggage, especially not now that United charges $25/bag. It makes for an easy arrival plus you know you have your toothbrush with you at all times. But I did confuse the customs' officer who asked where my luggage was...
Having cleared the formalities of immigration and customs, where I overheard many arrivals speaking English with the officers, somewhat to my surprise, I approached the line of taxi drivers waving placards with the names of their passengers. Good news: No embarrassing sign with my name on it.
Bad news: No embarrassing sign with my name on it.
Looking to phone my friend who's driver was supposed to pick me up, I discovered that my international phone didn't work. I knew the last bus had left for the night, so dodging taxi drivers, I found a mini van loaded with surfboards and asked if he was going to Los Cardones, located down the street from where I was going to stay. The answer was negative so I turned to the Thrifty car rental agent and asked if she had a phone I could use. She handed me her private cell phone. I liked Nicaragua already. As I hung up the phone with my friend, my ride walked through the door.
My Spanish returned quickly and the driver, Alvaro and I had a great chat for the hour and a half it takes to get to La Casa on a mix of paved and bumpy dirt roads dotted with a variety of animals including skunks, birds, dogs, horses and oxen. So far, everything was in order and as expected.
La Patron had left me an extensive guide to the house and the pets, starting on the first page with power outages. As I read "we haven't had any in a long time so you should be ok", the lights started to flicker. I quickly skimmed the text back to where I'd seen flashlights mentioned. Flashlights were found next to the electrical panel so I flicked all the breakers off and on. The house remained pitch black, and what was worse, the fans were dead. I read the instructions for starting the generator and quickly realized, not trying to start it was the right decision, especially in the middle of the night. I don't like to play with electrical power.
By flashlight, I perused the rest of the house guide. Under "local critters" I read about scorpions, poisonous toads, tarantulas and sting rays. Exotic. It said that the local remedy for scorpion bites it to drink a strong cup of coffee right away. I wondered how effective that was, and hoped I wouldn't have to find out.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
I ponder this, as I sit squashed in with some 180 people on a plane high up in the air on my way to Nicaragua: Why this desire to travel to far-flung places?
All of my needs, according to Maslow's pyramid, are filled to one extent or another.
I don't even travel to "get away" from the mundane or the stressful as many (most?) people do.
But I have this creature living inside of me that needs to be fed, seemingly and slightly alarmingly, on a regular basis. It's a curiosity that needs to be stilled. I need to learn. To stretch the limits of my comfort zone. To see what's on the horizon. I'll keep going until I get there.
The world is my oyster.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
The chiropractor, a blond 6'3" Tarzan with California looks adjusted my neck. Ahhhh! I felt two inches taller already. Onto the next adjustment and I had the snap, crackle, pop part correct. However, when I looked up, the scoreboard read: Tarzan: 1 - Rib: 0. The only word I could think of starts with SH and ends with IT. So much for surfing in two weeks, I thought.
Tarzan, horrified but composed, gave me his cell number and insisted I call with an update in the morning and come back two days later. I did. Suing, suggested by many, gives you really bad Karma and wouldn't fix the rib anyway, so I never gave that much thought.
Now as intent as I was to fix me up for vacation, he pulled out all stops, including a torturing lower body massage by his wife. If you are looking for a nice, relaxing massage - this is not the place for you. If, however your hip flexor, IT band and SI joint get hung up and feel like guitar strings, take a deep breath and sign up. A combination of electrodes, ice, ultrasound and especially the torturing massage will quickly remind you of why you booked the appointment. It hurts like hell but I'm pretty sure they'll have the hip sorted before I leave, and my friends in Nicaragua said they'd just tape me up if I needed it...