A Day at Home

After all of our running around we figured a quiet day at home would be nice. As you can see, a quiet day around here is very chill.

There are more adventures planned so don’t worry, we won’t be watching the cats sleep every day.

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The Other Side of Ometepe

Ometepe Island, Nicaragua, is shaped like a figure eight around two volcanos. We are on the west side of the northwest volcano and have seen a bit of this part of the island. I have heard about interesting places in the isthmus and around the southeast volcano so I wanted to see these areas too.

There are buses that go to Altagracia (northeast of the volcano near us) every hour but only a few of them go on to other destinations. We caught the morning bus that goes to Balgue which is on the north side of the other volcano, and we took the bikes along so we could do some exploring when we got there. A nice strong guy just picked them up, went up the ladder at the back of the bus and tossed them on the roof!

1 3/4 hours and 80 cordobas later (about $3.20, 20 per person and 20 per bike) we arrived at Balgue.

We rode to the next town and by now it was getting to be lunch time, so we looked for a place to eat. We had seen many tarps with what looked like rice drying so we stopped to ask a lady. She told us that it is indeed rice, and there also is a place to eat just a couple doors away. It was one of those places in the trees and shrubs that looks like someone’s patio, that you wouldn’t even notice if you didn’t know about it. And I am sure it was a much more interesting lunch than any tourist hangout.

Lunch finished, we got on our bikes and were on our way, headed down along the isthmus between the volcanos.

Many people had mentioned Ojo de Agua (eye of water), a spring fed pool in the jungle that is very beautiful, so this was our next destination. It definitely was everything it is said to be! Sometimes I just have to pinch myself to believe the beautiful and exotic places I find myself in.

Now cooler, relaxed, and refreshed we set out again. After a good amount of uphill climbing we found ourselves in what I believe was El Quino, which is on the main bus route from Altagracia to Moyogalpa, our home base. We had some pretty spectacular views along the way!

Lucky for us, about the time we decided it would be s good time for a bus to come along, here came a bus!

Then, all we needed to do was to pick up a few things for dinner, make our way home, walk the dog, shower, and flop on the couch after a great day!

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Tuesday and Punta Jesus Maria

Our time continues on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. We can see the Punta Jesus Maria from the beach in front of the house so it is close, and we heard it was a great place to visit so this was on the agenda for today.

First though, the day begins at the house.

Our destination was close so we set off on the bicycles. There was a sign on the road directing us where to turn off, and we found ourselves on a beautiful canopied side road leading to the point.

We reached the point in the afternoon when the sun was starting to get lower in the sky, and it was absolutely beautiful! Everyone who told us that this was a place that we must visit was certainly right.

As we headed home we passed my favorite view of the volcano from the airport.


Last, but certainly not least, we had another beautiful sunset over the lake right in front of the house. Life is indeed quite nice on Ometepe Island!

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What Did We Do on Monday?

The days here on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua are flying by. We are trying to take advantage of our time and experience as much of the area as we can. Today we decided to try a bus trip. Tours are hard to come by because it is off season, and a driver quoted us $70 for a day. We knew that bus couldn’t be near that much! So, we headed to town.

We made it to town and got the bus schedule from the bike shop, learned nothing was going to our intended destination for a while so we decided to go towards the ferry dock where Robinson, our taxi driver contact was waiting for some potential customers. Down there at the bus stop was a bus about to leave for San Marcos, a town on the north side of the island that we wanted to visit also so we hopped on.

We had biked almost this far earlier but I was glad to go all the way to San Marcos. The road isn’t paved so it is a bit of a bumpy ride, but it was a chance to see a more untouched area. There are probably very few gringos who visit there because we got many curious looks, but everyone we greeted was pleasant and greeted us back.

This is only a small part of what this island has to offer, so we have more excursions coming up!

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Sunday scenes in Nicaragua

This is the time Nicaragua celebrates winning its independence from Spain in the early 1800’s. Today we could hear the sound of drums coming from town. The neighbor said there would be music and dancing starting at noon, so we decided to head into town to see what was going on.

Unfortunately the drums we heard earlier were the festivities and we were told that things ended, not started at noon. No matter, there was plenty to enjoy.

We walked around town a bit, and then decided to take the beach path back to the house. It’s funny. I have to stop myself from writing “back home”.  This house has quickly felt like home even though it is temporary and we have quickly felt comfortable in this town. Anyway, as usual, the walk home provided some nice photos.

The life of a rooster is not easy. As I have been sitting on the front terrace putting this post together, he has been scratching in the dirt looking for food, poking his head through the front gate to see what is going on in here, supervising the hens who are out with him, occasionally (without success today) trying to get lucky, keeping a watchful eye on the neighborhood, and taking off at high speed to run off any other rooster who gets too close. He keeps pretty busy.

Anyway, that was Sunday. I am always a day or two, or three behind but my first priority is exploring and enjoying what this area has to offer! It is fun sharing what I enjoy here with all of you though :)

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity.  The more I see the world, the more I realize that although people are different, we’re very much the same. We speak different languages, have different cultures, religions, values, and physical traits, yet we all share common hopes and dreams of love, family, and survival. When I travel, I’m inspired to take photographs that capture humanity — of everyday people around the world — and provoke compassion and an understanding of our differences. My favorite photos capture the emotions of others and spark a curiosity about their lives. For me, these images reflect humanity and create connections between us.

I am currently in Nicaragua in a place much different than the USA, and also quite different from western Panama where I have been for the last two years. But, as much as it is different it is also the same. People go about their lives doing the things that people do everywhere. Maybe the methods are different but the goals are similar – to survive, to care for their loved ones, and to enjoy life along the way.

When you move to a different country with a different culture, language, climate, and traditions you expect that your life will be quite different. A bigger surprise though is how much it is the same. We are all just people. There is far too much US vs THEM these days. Maybe if we can know THEM as people there will be more peace and cooperation in the world.


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Saturday, and Biking North

Ometepe Island is fairly large, almost 20 miles long and 6 miles across. Since we like what we have seen a lot, we want to explore more of the island.  The island is oriented sort of northwest to southeast and we are in the west part. Thursday we went southeast, so Saturday we decided to go northeast in the other direction along the coast. You can’t go across because there is a big volcano in the center of this part, and another in the southeast part so the island is sort of a figure eight shape.

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

The day started,  however, with the neighbor next door asking if she could bring the cow over to graze in the yard. This is the first time I have had a request like that! Princessa is a good cow though, calm tempered and she provides a lot for her family. Right now though she is producing less milk because she is three months pregnant! (Cows are like people and take nine months, so the calf will be born in six months.)

We left Princessa to do her work and got out the bikes.  As we head out the north side of the town of Moyogalpa I saw signs for Hospedaje Soma, a hostel that has inexpensive tours of the island. This looked like a very comfortable place and the guy at the desk was very a nice, and also spoke English. Unfortunately though this is off season for tourists and they don’t have enough people to be running tours right now. He gave us a lot of info on the buses though, so we will try that.

So, we hopped back on the bikes and set off.

Our return trip took us back to town and back the the bike shop for a brake that wasn’t working. (They have been very nice about switching bikes if there is a problem.)  Since we were in town, who can resist a Cornerhouse smoothie!

Bandanna, pineapple, mango smoothie for me, iced latte for him, and great toast with homemade peanut butter and preserves.

Bandanna, pineapple, mango smoothie for me, iced latte for him, and great toast with homemade peanut butter and preserves.

As we made our way back to the house we passed the airport. Usually at this point I am watching the ground since we turn off on to a dirt road. Today, however, I stopped to look at the volcano and realized that if you get in the right spot you can see both volcanos!

Both volcanos!  Conception on the left and Maderas on the right.

Both volcanos! Conception on the left and Maderas on the right.

We came home to relax but it wasn’t long before the golden light of the setting sun caught our eyes. Of course I had to grab the camera! I can never resist a beautiful sunset over the water.


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Friday is for Food

Our adventure continues house sitting on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. It is interesting here that so many people come to the house selling things. A guy came by a few days ago selling tilapia fillets which I am glad we bought because they were great. Another guy came with little pastry/cookie things which I don’t need, so he will be happy when the folks come back. Another guy was selling plastic chairs.

Today we knew the gardener would be here and it is pay day. We also knew the vegetable truck would be coming and I had a list! If I remember I bought 4 carrots, 6 chayotes, 3 cucumbers, 6 tomatoes, 2 pounds of onions, a cantaloupe, a pineapple, 6 beets,  and a bunch of bananas. I think that was all, and it was about $12.

Once all the expected visitors had been here, I set out with Cappy for a walk. It seems to help to run off some of his energy, and sometimes he even manages to walk beside me like a good dog!

Today's photo of the volcano

Today’s photo of the volcano

Then we had a few things we wanted to do in town, so we set off on the bikes. It’s like Panama a bit. We wanted a pump to inflate a flat tire on a bike. Nope, no such thing. We had checked with a few stores and bike rental shops and heard the same thing. If you want air go to the car repair shop down the street. There are no pumps sold on the island. But, an email with the homeowners and the right advice and voila, una bomba! We also learned that there is a guy who goes to Pricesmart in Managua every Tuesday so if we want something, we only need to ask on Monday and he will bring it back.

As we did our errands in town we saw the gray clouds over the volcano getting bigger and bigger, and a cool breeze started to blow. We took off at a good clip to make it home before the rain but didn’t quite make it, much to the amusement of some of the neighbors we passed on the way home.

My I got all wet but had fun doing it look.

My I got all wet but had fun doing it look.

Yesterday we ordered nacatamales from the family up the road who makes them every Friday. Just before we left on the bike one of the boys arrived with our order in a bucket obviously hot off the stove. They were too hot to even touch! So, when we returned from the bike ride we knew we had an excellent dinner waiting for us.

She makes two kinds, one with corn base and pork, the other with rice and chicken. Both are really good!

She makes two kinds, one with corn base and pork, the other with rice and chicken. Both are really good!

Next time I see the cook outside I am going to ask her if I can help her next week. I would like to know how she makes these. They are different from the Panamanian tamales and would be a great addition to my recipes. These, besides the rice or corn, and pork or chicken, they have slices of potato, tomato, onions, a leaf I can’t identify, and really yummy flavoring.

After dinner is relaxing time with a good dog and a good book.

It is a rough life here

It is a rough life here

The final surprise of the night was something flying up under the rafters. At first I thought it was a bat but it didn’t fly like one. Then I realized it was a huge black witch moth, which I recognized because we had them occasionally in Panama.

A black witch moth.

A black witch moth.

So, another day on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. Tomorrow we plan to do some more exploring, with the camera of course!

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Thursday – One Week

It’s funny. In a way you can get an idea of what a place is about in a day or two, but it can also take years to really know a place. We have seen a lot in our first week here, but I also feel like we have barely begun to know what life here is like. This is a big island with many other towns and things to see, and this island is only a part of this country.

Yesterday (Thursday) we decided to go biking to San Jose del Sur, a town on the south side of this part of the island about an hour away by bike.  The road took us through green fields and farm areas, and through some small towns. I didn’t think about our relation to the volcano and that we would be seeing another side, or the fact that we could see the other volcano as well so we had some great surprises in store.

We are really enjoying this island!  Friday we will be mostly home for various people who stop by on Fridays. Then, on Saturday, we want to bike in the other direction to see what it is like on the north side.

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The House and the Man in Charge

I have had requests for a look at the house and puppy, so here you go. We are really suffering here, as you will see :D

update – this is not our home. We are house sitting for friends on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. We live in David, Panama. 

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