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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Tuesday in Nicaragua

I was moving right along catching up on blog posts and photos, and the internet went out. I have been working off line so when things are fixed everything is probably going to get posted all at once. We have been having a great time and doing all sorts of things, and if it wasn’t for some afternoon rains I probably wouldn’t be in the hammock long enough to write about them.

So, Tuesday, what did we do Tuesday? The first order of business was to walk to town and find a couple bikes to rent. Not only do I miss riding, and there are many places to explore here, it’s also easier to get some shopping and errands done when you don’t have to always track down our taxi driver (nice as he is, we are too used to coming and going as we please)

We decided to give the beach path a try. We heard that there is a good path that goes right to the ferry dock in town and indeed there is, and with some good photo ops along the way.

We found some very decent bikes to rent, $42 for both for two weeks. It felt great to be riding rather than walking, and I even have a basket on mine to carry stuff. Next stop was the supermarket and a produce market for a few things, and then we headed home.

Joel wanted to go back to the beach to hunt for old pottery pieces but that isn’t exactly a bike riding area so I left to ride around a bit while he did his thing.

When we got home, Joel investigated the water tank. There is a tank here for those times when the city water may not be flowing, so the house always has water. Something is dripping though so he went to investigate.

The tank is full of water so that is good, but still not sure what to do about the intermittent leak. The flowers below are very happy though.

The tank is full of water so that is good, but still not sure what to do about the intermittent leak. The flowers below are very happy though.

So, running around done we settled in to relax at the house for the rest of the day. It was hardly any time though when Joel hollered that I needed to grab the camera because the setting sun was turning the water into gold. We soon found out that we were in for a real treat.

Thus ends another day in this beautiful spot. We are liking it more every day.

 

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Monday and a new biking experience

Our experience continues on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. I met someone who is also visiting here and loves to bike, so no surprise that we made plans to go out together! She likes off road biking though, of which I have minimal experience. This is an ideal place for this since the majority of the roads aren’t paved, so there are tons of places to go without ever hitting pavement.


The internet went out for a couple days,  but it is repaired now and we are back on line.  Yeah! More posts and photos are coming.

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it is Wednesday already?!

Every day here is new and different, but still the time seems to fly by. I guess we must be having a good time! I want to go every minute and not miss anything but sometimes you just need to slow down for a bit. We decided to chill this morning, do some computer stuff and generally relax at home. That was great until *poof!* The internet died. I have plenty to keep me busy but there was no more emailing, blogging, or any of the usual things that need internet.

But, I find it impossible to chill for very long especially when there are interesting things to do. We had our eye on the kayak, but decided to avoid the intense early afternoon sun since there is no shade on the water. We went out about 4pm and headed to Joel’s favorite beach spot where the bits of old pottery can be found. It is much easier on water, no trudging through sand and scratchy plants.

This photo does not do it justice

We paddled along until we are out a little ways, and I looked over my shoulder and almost gasped at the sight! I knew you could see the volcano from out there, but I didn’t think about how spectacular it would look. It is huge and looms over everything!

The lake was very calm and tranquil, and I was surprised at how warm the water is. It must be mid eighty degrees, about relaxing warm bath temperature. It is also quite shallow even a ways from shore so if I tipped out of the kayak I could walk in! Thankfully though our friends have a great kayak that is very stable and easy to manage, so tipping over was not a concern.

A mellow time on a beautiful lake

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The sky in the other direction was beautiful too

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The clouds look like they are spilling over the top

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I let Joel off on the beach where the horses don’t seem the least bit concerned to see him

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It is getting later in the afternoon and hints of sunset colors are starting to emerge

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It seems to look different every time I look at it. Now it has a “cap”

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A few minutes later it looks different again, and the sunset colors are starting to show

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Joel gets back in the boat and we head for the house

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I spotted this pretty bird when it flew in and was lucky enough to get a shot of it

We also paddled by some of the washing stations in the lake. At one a guy was out with his mirror and soap shaving his face. With that beautifully warm water, I can see why it would be appealing to go out in the lake as much as possible.

This kind of says it all – a lake, a boat, Joel exploring, and a volcano

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We paddled the rest of the way home in this gorgeous sunset!

 

We had a wonderful time out on the lake and will definitely be out there again!

 

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Sunday

Life on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua is certainly chill and laid back, but we seem to be keeping busy exploring and doing whatever we do, so I am still a few days behind on blogging and computer stuff.

Today Ron and Deb left so we are now in charge of keeping the household in one piece until they get back, including the very cute but energetic 4 month old dog. He’s a very sweet dog though so as long as we don’t leave our shoes on the floor we will be fine.

Sunday, of course, I kept my camera in hand, as always. Besides things in the neighborhood, we went exploring along the beach where we were told one can find a lot of pottery shards and occasionally whole pieces from times past.

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