Wednesday

Almost saw the sun rise today. Just missed it by a few seconds. It is less windy so I had to turn the fans on last night. I hated how they muffled the sound of the waves.

So, last night I ventured up to the Lighthouse Bar and Restaurant to meet Kate, fellow diver, parol officer, single mother, here getting her rescue dive certification. I mentioned her before because we have very similar single travel beliefs. She had said to come meet her at the Lighthouse for Taco Tuesday! Lol just like home again. So I was walking along and stopped to ask a few people if I was going in the right direction. It was quite a trek, dirt paths, then paved raised sidewalks, in the jungle, next to some residences, some nicer than others, some pretty sparse. I walked by a school, it was about 5:30 by then so they stay late, past a soccer game with a pathetic looking soccer ball. The kids, just like American kids, said nothing to me and certainly no eye contact, I was invisible!

I walked by where Kate was staying. She said that she had been drinking some beers and some rum and would be right up. So I kept going, more dirt paths. You have to watch out for rocks and tree roots all the time. Got to a fork in the road with a sign saying Lighthouse, but which way, right or left. Right went into the jungle and left had concrete steps up to a few structures, but I could hear music. A boy had stopped his bike half way up so I asked him if that was the light house. Finally I arrived at a cute hill top open air bar. Lol everything is open air here! They had a sign for Skinny Bitch (Vodka and soda and lime) so I ordered one. Everyone is very trusting here, no need to hold your credit card or pay in advance. Yesterday I had to practically beg Adam, the dive store owner to take my money for my ten dives. I didn’t want to be carting $300 around with me. So I chatted up the bartender, nice young man from France. Everyone has a story and people stay for a long time and the natives never leave. The waitress was from LA so we chatted a bit too, then a guy with a spear walks in (sounds like the beginning of a joke) he puts his spear behind the bar for safe keeping, I guess. Told him that I was glad that I knew where it was in case I needed it. His name was Dwayne, the other dive shop owner. He wanted to know if I ever met a white Dwayne. I had and he was a guy that stood me up a week or so ago from Laguna. I think he was afraid to drive in the rain. Instead , I got to spend the day reading and drinking wine in my courtyard and later my children joined me

Let’s see if a movie works here. So Dwayne was from Canada, working at dive shops around the world. We laughed about dating and traveling. Finally Kate shows up about 7, and Adam too, I felt like I was cheating on him! A few more drinks then I knew I had to leave. Kate and Dwayne were fighting over who should walk me home! I didn’t trust either of them. Also I met Delta, she just loved my fabric bag from Ethiopia. Wanted to see how it was made. I let her see it and touch it but not hold it! Some red flags were going up and I had had four Skinny Bitches. Sometimes the drinks are really strong here and sometimes not. Margaritas at my bungalow were strong. These were not. There was a more direct route back to the Little Corn Beach and Bungalow or now I am told the phrase bnb works here too. It was almost completely through the jungle or the longer sometimes paved way past drunk men. We debated and I vetted on the drunk men not being so very drunk yet since it was 7 ish. I told them that I had a knife too, but it was back at the bungalow. Dyawne said that I could hit someone with the rock in my finger too! Yup a little scary, but I made it and in time for dinner.

Omg forgot the best part. So two bartenders were serving us and the girl from LA all walking back and forth behind the bar. The two young men looked so similar, duh they were twins!

I immediately sent the pic to Natalie.

Had a little chicken dinner with some wine. There is a nightly special or a couple of other items that you can choose from. The nightly special comes with a starter, soup or salad, entree and dessert. Starter was beet pizza, more like a beet Macroon

I actually had dessert because it was hazelnut mousse. The food and service here is fantastic! They say all the food here is organic and fresh and mostly from the island, but somehow I feel like that may be a stretch. All of the natives are well fed but the dogs are very thin. They will arrange for you to adopt a dog if you want to. Can’t imagine how that would work.

Breakfast soon and two morning dives then more reading and writing and making plans for the future. I feel good!

Two great dives with some fun people then had some lunch and some drinks with a couple of the guys, two from Canada and one from Northern California. Then back to the bungalow for a little sit in the hammock. There was supposed to be some local talent at one of the bars so after a nap I set out to town. The 15 minute walk is more interesting every time. I see more things and enjoy the 15 min of solitude. I see some people along the way and the farmers wave to me. The pigs, ducks and chickens ignore me but the lambs are afraid of me. Ha, they know I love lamb chops!

I went to the Tranquillo bar. Everyone is friendly. I spoke with a guy from the states, former gemologist. He has been traveling all over Central America for the past 10 weeks! I ate a great quesadilla and had some vodka and sodas. Around 8, I left. The drummers weren’t going to start until 9 and it’s Island time around here. I started home and the guy from Spain saw me and motioned for me to come over with him and his wife. Even though we spoke different languages, I think he was pulling my leg that this was his wife! He said that they got married three days ago…maybe this was his Nicaraguan wife. We laughed and tried to converse, then the guy from No Cal joined us, more beers. Finally time to head back and I ran into the German guy that I had coffee with between dives. He is a dermatologist on vacation alone too. He wears a speedo. I felt like I was in trouble as we walked a very quick pace and didn’t talk much. He obviously hadn’t drank as much as me! At least I know where the dangerous areas are with the rocks and tree branches.

You can plainly see three coconuts here, so I know I am going in the right direction but they are hard to spot in the dark

Tuesday

I am dreaming a lot so I know that I am getting some good sleep. Three out of four pillows smell good. One does not! I checked for bed bugs but only found tiny ants. I sprayed the sheets and mosquito net the first day with Deet, so I guess that I need to do it daily. Hate to use those chemicals but I am getting bit up. I take repellant to the restaurants to spray my feet and legs at meals. Some places provide you with some bug spray , just like home the last two years!

Early to rise. A little walk on the beach and some room service. The coffee is delicious here. No need for cream or sugar.

You should not drink the water from the faucet here, they say. Not brush your teeth with it either. That is hard to do. Prob by day four I won’t care. It is rainwater collected and treated.

Here is the view from my deck

Time to get ready to dive!

So far four dives. At the beginning of the first one I said to my self, self, you don’t have to do this. But now it’s easier. And I will have a routine now. The next three days I will do two dives per day. I feel like my time is slipping away already. Not good weather for Sup or kayaking yet. Today’s dive we saw more nurse sharks. They are about 3-4 feet long and very curious. Our dive master was pretending to make them sit and stay. It was really funny. He was funny, a native from Little Corn Island. No one leaves apparently. He was nicknamed Superman wasn’t sure why until the boat got to the first bouy and he turned around and he has on a Superman wetsuit! He was fun to dive with because he knew where fish and sea creatures were hiding, he fed crabs seaweed and played with the sharks. He had them laying on his fins! Seriously that was cool. And then the sharks swam in a circle and descended in the circle while we ascended. Getting to know some people and even making jokes with the locals, Superman aka Gary. At the second dive he asked for all the girls again. The other dive master, a woman asked if there were any objections and I said yes! Omg everyone laughed and cheered! In between dives, one of my new friends asked if I wanted to go to the Lighthouse for tacos. Ok, why not?!?I took a different way back to the resort… And more A trash tree!

All of that is Carlitos Place. So funny since I have stayed at Carlitos other Place outside of Santiago Chile. Carlito was very sleepy that night and didn’t want to wake up and greet us and we tried everything to get into this larger fenced in area, we could hear people but they couldn’t hear us. We called them over and over, no answer. Finally we reached around a door in the wire fence and could open the door. Too easy! Then we wanted to stay two nights, so he gave us his room the second night. Kinda strange!

Sandal tree and then back to the hood. Shower and lunch. Margie’s and pork tacos.

and my new friend Scooby Doo.

I keep forgetting to mention the quaint “leave your phone alone” method that they have here. Maybe it’s only my bungalow, but if my phone is plugged in and I try to use it, I get a small shock. About four times of getting a shock and I leave it alone! Amazing concept!

Food

I love to eat and I love to cook. I appreciate great food, especially if I don’t know how the hell they did it! I am inspired right now by a coconut cucumber soup. It is almost a gazpacho, with a nutty feel and the toasted coconut is so fresh. It has been on the Pina coladas which are famous here. Last night was surf and turf and a pretty salad. Tonight it’s beef again. Steak Delmonico with blue cheese.

Judgement

I hate that I judge other people before I get to know them several times it has been a huge misjudgment on my part like the time on a Nols adventure. I pretty much labeled the people in the group very quickly, boring, know it all, princess, etc. some of the friendships I made on that hike in 2015 hiking in snow, walking through rivers, sleeping in tents etc are friends that I still have. Another example was more recently at a dental meeting. One of the dentists at the meeting was grossly overweight, pious and dull by the looks of him. Turned out he was the smartest of the group. Three ladies showed up at the place that I am staying. They were kinda loud , reading the rules of the place. They should have been speaking in hushed tones like everyone else. That evening they invited me to join them for some wine after dinner and they were some of the most experienced divers that I had ever met. We laughed that drinking and diving go together! So next time I feel this way, I am going to go right up to that person and see what they know!

Monday Diving

Early wake up by some little kids goofing off at 5:30am. Hope they were leaving on the early boat. Had some coffee and walked to the Dolphin Dive shop. Got my gear and a briefing. Dive site was called Jarhead. Lots of coral. Love the purple vase like coral. Saw some lobster and puffer fish. Pretty heavy currents. Next dive is in an hour.

Next dive site was Wilbur’s Rocks. Apparently there were six rocks. A much better dive. One of the people had trouble with equipment and we had to fight the current, during the first dive Not fun for me struggling to stay above the water. I want to be below water. On this dive we had some very friendly nurse sharks swimming around us almost the whole 60 min. It was cool to see a fish on the shark eating algae off of it. The shark didn’t like it so much. Saw some lobster, a huge stingray trying to be camouflaged by sand and lots of other fish that I have never seen.

Back to the resort for some fish tacos, pun intended! And vodka and Fresca. Feel like a teenager again drinking Fresca. Thinking about yoga but a nap will probably prevail.

Sorry, not sorry, for misspellings and grammatical errors but I am learning how to do this as I write. I have written in a travel journal for all of my international trips and one got wet (Madagascar while canoeing) and most nobody can read because I have the best doctors writing of all!!!

Little Corn Island

The resort had 8 units. I thought that there were treehouses but I haven’t seen them. Very nice people are working here. I have asked about diving, snorkeling, sup, yoga. Seems like since all the unrest last year that I never heard of, has run a lot of people back to the mainland. Many hotels and restaurants are for sale. No more yoga daily here. Today being Saturday, they limit their menu. Guess the locals get Sat night off. Lounged a bit ocean side, did some reading and a deep sleep nap.

Now I am at a bar sipping a vodka and soda, (no more club soda at my hotel) and using a metal straw, just like home. I am at Cafe Desideri restaurant. Just got a kiss from a local dog. My hotel is about 15 min from the other side, the west side.

I had some plaintain French frys with coconut shrimp and a green papaya salad. Yummy.

There a about 10 people gathered by a bonfire, all ages and races. My Mother told me TO talk to strangers so I am.

The late panga just arrived , it’s getting crowded, 24 more people!

Sunrise and sunset are around 6. Wonder what my walk back to the hotel will be like. I didn’t notice any lights. I did bring a headlamp.

The walk back was a little scary. I could peer into the few house with lights on. Saw some kids watching tv. Several groups of men were sitting in the dark, drinking beer and talking.

The usual temperature here is 82 in the day and 78 at night. It was beautiful sitting on the little porch, last night, with a glass of wine, hearing waves gently crash on the shore, no bugs but I had to ruin it with a headlamp on to be able to read. So relaxing.

The bed is comfortable and there was a nice breeze. Sunrise about 6. I did set my alarm to wake before sunrise, but I didn’t get up until 7. Got ready and had a cup of coffee at the resto and walked into town. I planned to go to a church service at 8. I like churches. Once, on my bucket lust list, I wanted to go to a Mass in Latin. I planned to go when I was visiting the Republic of Georgia. I ended up going to a Russian Orthodox Church first, then the Roman Catholic service in Latin. It was easy to follow along. And in The Kingdom of Tonga, Megan and I went to a Mormon service and then, got to sit down with two young men and hear about why we should become Mormons. So, today when I found the Church, it wasn’t open, so I walked down the path to the right. A dog decided to escort me. Now he is laying at my feet. A little Nicaraguan coffee and an omelet at a Reggea place. If you can’t find an Irish Pub… a Reggea Bar does just fine. Met some Canadians, that were here to dive. One was a younger version of me. We exchanged stories of single traveling. We laughed about no body being anonymous here. I’ll see her and her friend tomorrow, diving.

One of my thoughts has been, how do you balance tourism and over tourism. It seems that once a place becomes popular, it quickly becomes over toured. Here, because of the government, tourism has slowed way down. The government closed down the Panga boats for a while. Which means no supplies, no food other than what is grown or fished here.

I spent the rest of this relaxing day, reading and writing and planning for my future. Vacations like this really help me to refocus. I have made To Do lists and goals for one, three, five and ten years. It’s crazy when one thinks of mortality. At 55, turning 56 soon, one needs to make the best of the rest of ones life. One of the books that I am reading, “How to Relax,” really seemed to put into perspective what I am working on so hard at in my career, that is stressing me out so much, just needs to be tweeked. I complain about being so busy and pulled in every direction and having so little time to myself and having to be a decision maker and problem solver all the time …. But isn’t that what a business owner, entrepreneur is? Wouldn’t I be bored to death if I wasn’t who I am? It will take a day or two more for me to unwind and I can’t wait!

Had a relaxing afternoon reading and writing. I went to the dive shop to schedule some dives. Then found a place called Los Dolfines. Had a lovely time with the view and some ceviche. Back to my bungalow. Now having dinner for the first time here and all the people staying here have arrived in the dining room. Kinda funny hearing so many conversations…

So far the electricity has been fine. It gets turned off during the day, it really isn’t need if you charge up at night. The internet seems to work pretty good but when I do plug in my phone I do get a tiny shock, so after a few shocks, I have learned to not touch it when it’s plugged in. Simple

Managua

The flight from Miami was an easy 2.5 hours. Passport and Customs and Hotel shuttle also easy. Managua is a busy city, very similar to cities in Mexico. Lots of kids in school uniforms and lots of people trying to make a buck any way they can, like washing your wind shield and collecting bottles and cans.

The weather is warm, dry and windy. The is a beautiful blue with white puffy clouds. The streets were busy with lots of cars, buses scooters and a few horse drawn carts

I chose the Wayak Hotel because it had a free shuttle, it did. Because of WIFI, it doesn’t work yet, gated and guarded, yes. Bar and restaurant not open. Close to the airport, nope not that either. I went next door to an open air restaurant. Only a few buffet things. Cold, tough meat. No alcohol. There was an interesting condiment on the table, maybe a garlic vinegar. I went back to the hotel to see if I could find a different hotel. No internet. Then I asked where I could get a

cerveza starting to speak Spanish, and they said they could get that for me, so I asked if they had vodka, now two shots in with club soda, I am staying. I can order sushi later and they will deliver. Did I bring Imodium?

I like to do a lot of reading when I travel and usually quite a variety. I Started with The Tuscan Child and How to Relax. Working on 9 Strangers, The Seasons of Life and Seven Strategies to Success and Happiness. So I read for awhile and took a little nap. So much of my travels are in different time zones. Here I am just two hours ahead, but I know to set an alarm. I decided to go out for dinner rather than stay in. I asked the receptionist where J should go. Still not sure what they have to eat here so when asked, I asked for carne. She said that I could walk 2 kilometers and then cross the road at the light. I remembered the Gallaria Mall when we drove in. So I walked down the street, it was still light. Lots of traffic. As I got close to the light I heard and saw a small outdoor concert venue that looked like a tiny paper Rome Collessium. Some one was practicing for later on lots of security all around. Walked tot he mall. There were many high end restaurants. I went to the place that was suggested. It was a steakhouse but everything was huge portions and served with mashed potatos, which I don’t eat. I ordered tuna carpaccio with a white wine and beef carpaccio with a red. It was pretty good. Uber works here if you have Internet. Took a taxi. He apparently couldn’t read. I gave him the business card with the Hotel Wayak listed and he took me to the Hyatt. We worked it out. I was definitely over charged, but in the beginning of a trip it almost seems normal. Never take the firstmode of transportation that you are offered at the airport. A travel tip from experience.

Back at the hotel, I tried to pay my balance but she wanted me to have another drink so I did. It was 7 usd for four shots of vodka and two clubs sodas, reasonable. I wanted to get a good nights sleep so back to the room, a good hot shower, always grateful for a good shower when traveling, then a bit more reading and time to sleep. A couple hours later, the concert down the street woke me up! There had been a nice trickling water feature outside my room but this wasn’t going to let me sleep. Luckily I travel with Ambien.

Corn Island

Early alarm at 4:30, on time shuttle to the airport. Had to ask where La Costena airlines were. Just a little ways away. Stood in line, got a ticket, waited for the plane and then we were off in a small plane. A quick 90 min flight. We had to check luggage, so I was a little worried about not getting my bag. I had changed a few things from my carryon to and from my main bag, especially contact lens. Drove with Marlon, the Namath Jersey wearing native. He charged me a dollar to take me to the ferry. Tickets get sold at 8:30, so after I bought one, I went next door to the Fisher Restaurant. Lots of activity at the wharf. Fishermen coming in, people transporting goods to different islands etc. it is a beautiful day, warm but not too hot.

I am waiting for the panga to take me to Little Corn Island. They say it will go but only if there are enough people to fill it. I am trying to live in the moment, to embrace all of the sights, sounds and smells. Still haven’t figured out if I am supposed to be mindful or mindless. I am the only American for now.

Arrived at Little Corn Island. The panga held about 24 people. A like like the Stars and Stripes ride in San Diego. Rough and wet! The island is bigger than I thought. A man was waiting to pick me up. He put my little bag into a wheel barrow and guided me to my bungalow. Took about 20 minutes past farms, through the jungle mostly dirt paths. Arrived at the Little Corn Beach and Bungalows where a Mai Tai was waiting for me by a cute boy named J. He took my Passport and showed me my bungalow. It is awesome!!!Here are a few pics from inside:

Those are water bottles, cool way to reuse them.

This place has a very comfortable vibe. It’s windy today, but a perfect temperature. Just had a delicious seafood omelet

Nicaragua

A couple weeks ago I was feeling uneasy, nervous, like I ate something bad. Not long after this feeling began, I realized what it was. I had time off from work, and no place planned yet. Ugg, I hate this feeling. I had been thinking of Lebanon, stopping first in Cyprus, since I wanted to use American Airline miles. But it has been so cold in Coronado, where I live that I started looking into warmer places. I only had 10 days off. I looked into Tunisia, too dangerous, but beautiful. Philippines, also beautiful, but I couldn’t chose an island. I also looked at Australia, but I needed more time for Australia. My son and his girlfriend had been to Nicaragua last year. American flew there. I started looking for a hotel in Managua, where the airport is, thinking that I would land and decide what to do when I got there, like I do a lot. But when I saw a bungalow on the beach, I knew this was what I was looking for! Little Corn Island. I didn’t realize quite where it was and that I had to take a plane or a very slow, overnight boat to get there.

So today I will arrive in Managua. Yesterday I left San Diego and flew to Dallas Love Airport, ubered to a Motel 6 at Dallas Fort Worth. Arrived around 11pm. There was a bar and restaurant next door so I ventured over there enduring the 35 degree walk. My early morning flight made for a 3:45 am wake up, another uber to the airport, two and a half flight and now another two and a half flight.

One of my travel buddies, Megan and I are on a World Wide Irish Pub Crawl. We even have jackets! So at the Miami Airport, I satisfied the quest and stopped in for some coffee and Baileys