Airport Fun

This trip is the fulfillment of my paternal grandfathers dream or bucket list item. He died in 1964 so I really didn’t know him. His name was Norbert Popp and he hoped to go to Kodiak Island and shoot bears. Apparently I have a shot gun somewhere but I haven’t seen it it shot it since I was probably a young teenager. The gun is not in my house. I do not plan to do any shooting except with a camera. So this has been on my bucket list for sometime, although now I call it a lust list, because I don’t plan on kicking the bucket for many years.

I booked this trip about two weeks ago, so flights, hotels and guides are a little difficult to plan. In fact the hotel that I plan to stay in tonight cancelled my reservation. I’ll deal with that soon. The day after I finally booked the tickets, I had a fleeting thought that I couldn’t wait to tell my Dad. Then I remembered that he passed away in 2009. In the past few days I have been having vivid dreams about him. It’s Fathers Day tomorrow so this all must mean something.

Here’s the forecast!

General Travel I am home!

Nothing broken. I worked last Tuesday and had X-rays after work. Just sore, hard to sit and stand and drive. What a perfect trip. Can’t wait for the next one!!!

People are always shocked at how little I take on trips. I could get by with just contacts, a working ATM and a passport. I have forgotten my contacts twice domestically, both times I had to drive to get new ones. Luckily I have a great Optometrist that was willing to fax my prescription. I am not totally blind, I can see the big stuff.

I like zip lock bags, the good ones, not the cheap ones like from the dollar store, they can leak. I use a gallon size for my makeup and teeth stuff. I use a quart size for bug spray and sunscreen , sandwich size for meds and another for carry on liquids. If needed all the liquids will fit in the gallon size if security makes me consolidate. This doesn’t usually happen anymore. After security I put anything I don’t need in to my bigger bag. I have another system for readers, etc. I have an ugly eye glass holder that had the bendy stuff on top. I put in this: two pens, two sets of readers, a nail file, a good plastic knife and most recently a tiny sharp jack knife. In the little carry on liquid bag,
I have an extra set of contacts, dry eyes eye drops, X clear nose spray, lipstick, lotion and a face misting spray, an altoid mini tin with sugarless mints, xylitol gum, ambien, ibuprofen, a blood pressure pill (to decrease water retention if an overnight flight or if my feet swell) lip balm from my office.

In my smaller carry on I have my favorite really long black cashmere scarf in a gallon size zip lock. It is all purpose and hard to replace if lost, I have a book or two and a full kindle. I might have a recharging source. I take small head phones that I hate but I hate my larger Bose because of all the room they take up. So longer trips the Bose, shorter the cheapies. I try to read or write more than watch things anyway. For longer flights I have a blow up neck pillow, that is washable, it grosses me out when I see them hanging from peoples luggage. Inside this little drawstring bag are eye patches and another pair of contacts. I take a hard sunglasses holder and never check it, because sunglasses are easy to steal. I hate bringing a laptop, but sometimes a movie is nice to watch. They only reason that I used the lap top this time was that I was in so much pain and it was a good distraction. I usually take some work things to read, like journals and magazines that I can discard. Always a note book to write things in. The bag itself is lightweight and in this trip’s case doubles as a beach/dive bag. On the planes I wear yogaish pants and a longer top and a jacket, weight depending on where I am going. I have some socks to put on if needed.

In my suitcase, a carry on, of course. I don’t want lost luggage. I start off with underwear, the number depends on it there is laundry or warm, dry weather. Sometimes I’ll do a little laundry. Clean underwear in a zip lock. 1-2 pair of pants or shorts, 4-5 tops. Maybe a skirt. If there is some clothing that I hate, I take it and leave it after I wear it. It took me days to get rid of some white shorts while in Chile. They kept bringing them back to me. Shoes. Less is better. Megan puts her dirty shoes in a shower cap. This trip I put a pair of Sandals in a bread bag!

I forgot to post this so here it is now a few weeks later. I hope to go back to Nicaragua soon!

Sunday last full day

It is so civilized here. AC in the room and in the dining rooms. I don’t like it. I miss my walks through the jungle and pastures. Yesterday I swam in the pool and read more. Had some lunch and dinner at the restaurantI am still in a lot of pain. It feels more like a pelvis injury than a tail bone. Today is a little better and I may take a pain pill. I have a driver taking me to Granada, the oldest City in the America’s. It has a nice city square and narrow roads with shops etc. not sure how much I can walk. Then back to this luxury hotel and in the plane tomorrow.

I hired a driver to take me to Granada, nice man. He is helping me speak Spanish, which I really must learn I took two years in junior high school , then three years in high school. Went to Spain for almost a month and took another two years in college. It always amazes me how fast it comes back when I am in a Spanish speaking country. But I have also taken some French , Japanese and Italian.

Now I am on a boat on Lake Nicaragua with a Toña, a local beer.

The boat ride was beautiful. So many little islands, some privately owned some hotels and bars. The monkey island was funny, in the middle of all these beautiful islands. There were several monkeys in the trees that people fed.

Now in downtown Granada. It is pretty quiet right now being Sunday midday. I found a restaurant on Calle la Cabeza with music and an old Cathedral to look at. Had some yellow gazpacho and fish. Both excellent. I don’t think that I have had anything bad while I have been here. Now to the local market.

I picked up a few things at the market then back to the hotel pool to read and swim and relax.

I am ready to come home. It will be a long day tomorrow. Departure at 8 am to Miami then Dallas the San Diego.

Saturday

I was reminded by my son that I was due for an update. Well, a lot has happened since yesterday lunch. I was having a nice lunch. Maybe posted this pic

Then the German guy, Dieter came by. He had just dived and was going back. On the walk back to the bungalows, I saw the fellow divers Gary, his brother Blair and Gio. I wanted to buy them a beer. Dieter left, still making me feel like a bad person for my wanton behavior, as if! Even my Mother tells me to talk to strangers. So I bought them a beer, they thanked the waitress, who didn’t bring my drink to me, so I gave them a hard time, because I bought the beer. And then told them it was my birthday. They may have sang a bit, but they were awful!! Craig is an acupuncturist in Canada, not sure about Blair and Gio was Italian and did camping trips with kids in the Sacramento area. Blair was missing a tooth which bugged the hell out of me.

Pretty much all there is to do in Little Corn is dive, snorkel, fish and drink. I was doing well fitting in. I walked back to the other side, the East side, the windy side, the quiet side, the side with the elusive hammerhead shark. Too rough to go see the hammerhead this trip.

More pics on the way home. It was feeling like home, I rarely stay in one place for more than one night or two so seven nights in one place was good.

A margarita upon arrival, and a shower.

And the waiting for my prince to come. I knew this was the lucky day, my Birthday. Soon I saw him!

I missed them on Wednesday, I was drinking with friends, Thursday they ran overtime so today was my day. Shane is my prince and he told me that I could name the horse. And he just washed the two year old for me. Check out the saddle! The foam was old and not so padded. First hurdle was getting on him. Why don’t my legs do what I ask them! When he asked if I had ridden a horse before, I said sure! I should have just said, yes, I am an excellent horsewoman. But he wouldn’t have known the joke. I have ridden before, like bare back at a nearby stable when I was probably 8 and several times after that, with a saddle.

So I get on the horse and Shane leads the horse down the beach, about five minutes later the unnamed horse took off down the beach. I pulled on the bridle, I clutched his mane, but he was going as fast as he could down the beach in a terrifying, yet exhilarating pace. As we approached some dense trees I had to jump off or die in a split second. I heard my neck crack and Jake’s face passed before me. Jake is my sons amazingly positive friend that had a life changing diving accident. Shane was running, screaming down the beach. The horse was walking around. I am pretty sure Shane was checking me for a possible concussion. My brain seemed fine. He kept apologizing. My neck hurt, but kinda felt like I just had a really good adjustment by my favorite chiropractor. My tail bone hurt. I had broke it before. Both of my ring fingers hurt and the bottom of my foot. Shane took the horse up and down the beach to tire him, out I cringed at the speed.

These pics speak for themselves…

Here, at the trees which I found myself under

I realized that I lost my sunglasses. They were there, in the sand, undamaged. After Shane made sure I was ok, he told me to rinse off in the water. I had sand head to toe, even in my ears! I said that I could walk back but, he would not hear of it! I struggled to get on the horse again and fell off again! What is wrong with me!?! Finally got on and we rode together, me in the front. We were a little closer than I thought we should be and his arms were a little tighter around me than they should be and then the whispering in my ear… and he picked a flower for me… ok back to reality. I am just thinking of how much pain I am in, with my probable broken tailbone hitting the bones spine of this damn skinny horse, trotting in the beach, over rocks and sand and sometimes wading in the water so much that my feet were dragging in the water. He waved to friends and laughed with them. We stopped for a bit then back on the horse. Several times I told him that I could walk, but he delivered my right to my door, well close enough. At long last we had to depart. It was hard to say goodbye but we did. Lol he was 27!

Back at the ranch, barely walking, I advised the owner of the place that maybe he should check out the horses on the island. He said that there were only four. Margarita, another shower. A great dinner of Chicken Florentine with lobster. My Kansas friends joined me and we toasted to my ride and my Birthday. Another birthday to remember!

I started to pack. We had to be ready at 5:30 am. But around midnight I heard a knock on my door and my named quietly whispered…. I went to the window, no way was I unlocking the door. The windows are screened with chicken wire! So Craig, the acupuncturist from Canada brought me a birthday drink! I didn’t open the door so he slid his business card through the chicken wire, told me that I was pretty and hoped that we could be friends. I said thanks and went back to bed. The funny thing was that I left my card at Dieter’s bungalow a few hours before. Hopefully all of us can exchange pictures etc. what happens in Little Corn, ah nothing happened.

Up early to get the panga, where the locals gave me sympathetic looks. Everyone knew that I was “the girl that fell off the horse and almost died!!!” Some even asked how I was feeling and that Shane felt so badly.

I am going to miss this place.

I hung out with Gio, we took the panga, taxi and the plane to Managua. He helped me with my bags and even unlocked my seatbelt, because I couldn’t. I was worried about the landing on the plane so I gingerly put one hand under a butt cheek anticipating a big bump and painful landing, but the pilot was spot on No pain. And I was right behind him.

Now in Managua at the Camino Real.

Thursday, Valentines Day

Yup tried to wake up early, justified that I will see it on Sat early am when I have to leave.

This guy has been keeping me company at meals. He lost his top beak, so they feed him mushy food. He can say a few words.

Time to dive.

Two more great dives

Dive shop above and kids sell these yummy pasties or meat empanadas And the dolphin and mermaid picture, this time with me in it.

Lots of nurse sharks, barracuda, spiney lobster and colored fish. The coral is beautiful and in every color imaginable. Last year about this time, after surviving a category 5 cyclone, Megan and I were on a tiny island called something, can’t remember. We snorlked in the most amazing place, Garden something. It was like Dr Seuss on steroids and acid. The most beautiful snorkeling. Ever. This is in second place. I do love being in the water. Other more experienced divers just cruise around, kick their fins, not me I am full on kicking and breast stroke, totally ADD not wanting to miss anything. The other divers must hate me. but I know there will be drinks and food later so I want to burn every calorie possible.

It’s Valentine’s Day so hopefully my knight in shining Armour ( yes spelled that way) will show up soon As of now he is late! Guess I’ll have another margarita and some Steak tacos.

So far the Coral Gods have been ok.

In Tonga I brought home some coral. I never really saw signs not to bring it in so I packed it in two places in my bag. I was honest at customs and said that I had coral so Megan and I had to go through a long line at secondary. They found the coral and I said that I didn’t know and it was dead anyway. I was so nervous going through the next X-ray and actually shaking a few minutes later. On a trip later that year diving with my daughter, I lost buoyancy and was sinking. My middle finger got a tiny puncture wound. Later it stung and itches but I didn’t really feel anything in it. The Coral Karma found me. I had to have. A millimeter and a half piece surgically removed in the hospital under sedation at the time of $12,000! This is what is wrong with America’s healthcare system. I haven’t touched a thing on this trip.

Update on my dive friends, the three ladies from Kansas are all professional woman, an Ob/Gyn, divorce attorney and a big time cigar shop owner. The German man is a dermatologist. Had some drinks with them last night.

Had a great coconut shrimp dinner and some wine, Then to bed early

Thursday Feb 15th My Birthday!

Early to rise, going to the early dive today at Blowing Rocks. Had a little breakfast at The Shack omlet and coffee then a 45 min boat ride to the next dive site. Immediately as we descended a huge spotted manta ray and reef shark were waiting for us. Great dive, so many manta rays and sharks and New York City of sizes, colors and species of fish. When I am down there I am trying to remember the colors of the fish, corals and sponges. It’s just impossible. I even tried to imprint in my mind what family and friends would like which fish.impossible. Second dive was spectacular too because we were closer to the surface so the colors were even more intensified. Boat ride back. Having a little birthday lunch. kingfish carpaccio.

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!