December 2006 in Managua

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December 2006 in Managua
Well, we had a wonderful time at Corn Island for our Thanksgiving break. We spent 4 days just lying around. We never did get over to Little Corn Island, because the seas were too rough to boat over there, so we just stayed on Big Corn. The first night we stayed at a little hotel on the west side of the island that had no electricity, and it was a cool, windy day, so we just unwound, took walks on the beach, and went to bed early. We were pretty tired because our Thanksgiving Feast had gone on until about midnight, and we had to be up at 4:30 am to catch our 6:30 flight to the Caribbean side of Nicaragua.
We walked from our first hotel into the main town on the island, which was at the north end, and checked out the dive shop and the one restaurant in town. We decided to change hotels, and wound up on the east side of the island, at a hotel called Casa Canada. A fabulous little place, it had it’s own generator (thus, electricity!), a beautiful pool, a/c in the rooms, cable tv, and a great king size bed. The four of us, plus Lucia and Consuela, were quite happy there. We hung there Friday and Saturday, and took little walks down to the south end of the island to check out the sandy beach there, and walks into town. Kathleen and I rented bicycles and pedaled around for a while. We met a man named Dorsey who has a cute little house that he’s going to rent to Kathleen for a month this summer- she wants to come back and just chill on the island for her summer break. We tried snorkeling but the jellyfish got us, and I decided the pool and a chaisse lounge was really all I needed.
There weren’t many restaurants on the island- I think we tried them all- and one night we met up with Kedra, Yakshi, and Kyle (our neighbors from ANS) and had lobster and beers with them at a dock-restaurant called Anastasia’s. Very fun. Great food. There was one dance hall on the island, a reggae place that wound up playing all kinds of music.
Eventually it was time to go back to work, so we did return to Managua. Luckily for me, a week later Chris came to visit, so we did a quick tour of the sights to see around this part of the country. We visited the Laguna de Apoya, hiked around there. We went to Volcano Masaya, walked all the way down. We found a quesillo stand (yummy) and had breakfast with the girls, and went to a couple of nice dinner places in town. All too soon it was time for him to leave and for me to go back to work.
This week we only had a four day work week, as Thursday night was “Purisima“, and we had Friday off (to recover, I guess). There are several theories on Purisima, but the most common is that it celebrates the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary by her mother, Ana. In particular, Purisima is hugely celebrated in Nicaragua in the town of Leon. Stories varied on why it was celebrated there, but one story said that when the volcano near Leon was erupting, the residents prayed to the Virgin Mary, and the lava did not destroy their town. So now Purisima is celebrated there each year (as in other parts of the country). Basically, it’s a combination of Halloween, Fourth of July, and Christmas. Groups of people go from house to house, caroling Christmas songs (in Spanish). They go to houses that are marked with a shrine to the Virgin Mary in front. The people- from young kids to old people- sing songs and then are rewarded with little treats, ranging from galletas (cookies) to little cakes, cacao (a kind of chocolate milk) to other things such as matchbooks or toothbrushes. All the while, fireworks are going off practically all night (as they have been for the past week-fun, but a little annoying, and it’s driving the dogs crazy). The fun part about Leon is some of the people have houses there that were built literally hundreds of years ago, and have been really well kept up, and some of them open up parts of their houses to visitors, so you can see their art works and hand-made furniture and all kinds of turn-of-the-century furnishings. Also, Leon has the largest cathedral in Central America (story goes that the plans for the Lima, Peru church were mixed up with the Leon, Nicaragua church and it was built here instead), as well as several other cathedrals throughout the city. A place with a fascinating history, including the Sandinista period in this century.
The rest of this weekend has been spent relaxing, catching up on work, and gearing up for the last two days of school on Monday and Tuesday. After that our kids are done and we just have 2 1/2 days of staff work, then I’m off to DFW! This week promises to be fun, as we have a “movie on the lawn” at school on Monday night, a middle school dance at a country club on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday, Alecia’s friend Adam is coming to visit, so we’ll get to meet him and go to dinner. All I need to do is pack up and get my grades in!

November 2006 in Nicaragua- almost Thanksgiving

two girls in bikinis Corn Islands hotel and pool Nicaragua

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November 2006 Sandinista Elections in Nicaragua
The past few weeks have just been gearing up for the elections. To put it simply (I hope I’m right about this), there are three major parties and candidates Continue reading “November 2006 in Nicaragua- almost Thanksgiving”

October 2006- A wedding and a baby in Texas

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I traveled home on Sept 28th for a quick trip to see baby Jack and to go to Mikey and Juliana’s wedding. I had a fabulous time. I took a Continental flight up through Houston on that Thursday and arrived at DFW at 2:30 pm. My friend Rick picked me up from the airport and I headed over to my parents’ house. I got to talk to them briefly and then Rick and I went over to my sister’s house, where I got to hug and hold my niece Abby and my new nephew, Jack. Luckily, my dad and step-mom were in town and so I got to see them too, which was really nice. We all went out to dinner and had my favorite, Spring Creek Barbeque. It was nice to catch up with everyone.

That night I met up with Kris and Mysti and Chris at No Frills Grill and talked with them. Afterwards, Kris and I walked over to Target to do a little shopping. We weren’t done gabbing with each other so then we drove down to Starbucks for a coffee. They closed and we still weren’t done gabbing so we sat in her car in the parking lot, talking for another hour.

I finally went home and I unpacked the box that Lisa and Andy had sent me from Haiti. At last, all my things! It was like Christmas, opening my box and sorting through my stuff. I had to make myself go to bed, because I knew Friday would be a busy day.

On Friday morning I drove over to my sister’s house in time to take Abby to pre-school and say goodbye to her. We hung out with little Jack until it was time for me to go to Chris and Mysti’s house at noon. I stopped by to say goodbye to my parents and grandmother, and met up with Chris and Mysti and Jude, for the ride down to Galveston Island for Mikey and Juliana’s wedding.

We drove down I-45, stopping in Centerville at Woody’s Smokehouse for some great barbeque. What a fantastic lunch! We hit Galveston before sunset and found our beach house that we were renting, along with Clif, Kelly, and Bryan Henry. It was really cool to have a beach house instead of hotel rooms. Ours is called “Eagle’s Nest“. We met up with our friends and went out to dinner. The rest of our gang was still busy at the rehearsal/dinner. We had dinner on a pier- Bryan and I shared a tuna steak and some veggies- and lots of beer. Later we all met up at the “Poop Deck”, a pretty gnarly old bar that I remembered from the last time I was in Galveston- could it be, almost ten years ago? In college with Aaron?

At the Poop Deck we met up with Hunter, Dave and Jade (expecting their first child soon), Julie Tapley, Paul and Allison, Mikey and his brother, Ricky, and some other friends. We all laughed a lot and told old stories and had fun together. Around midnight we drove over to the beach house that the bride, Juliana, was staying in, along with several of her family members. Their beach house was gorgeous, and in the same property development as ours and Hunter & co’s. I gave Juliana a big hug- she looked so happy and I got to meet her dad and brother and all her aunts, who brought cookies! Luckily for us, we were only one street away from our house, so we were able to walk home at some ungodly hour of the morning.

The next day, Saturday, we slept in at our house- me, Chris and Mysti, Jude, Bryan, and Cliff and Kelly. When we finally did awaken, we had Bloody Mary’s and Nicaraguan coffees and headed to the beach. We spent a couple of hours there, the girls reading and sunbathing, and Cliff and Jude catching fish in a net (which Misti and I kept throwing back in the water). When we got hungry we went back to our beach house and grilled sausages and hamburgers. We napped a while that afternoon and then it was time to get ready for the wedding. I always love seeing all my guy friends and girl friends all dressed up for our special events.

We got to the church at 6:55 and the wedding started right on time. Most of our pals were there, except Brooke and Ryan, whose baby is due any day, and Blake and Sarah, who I guess were staying home with their new baby. Even Steve and Tamara made it down, and Mike Simmons and his wife Kelly were there, and Bruce and Amy Tinch, and I saw Maggie and Jon Mosig (who hadn’t been out the night before). Mikey’s best men were Hunter, Dave, Paul, and his brother, with Jon as an usher. Juliana looked amazing…. I have never seen her prettier. What a fabulous dress. If I ever get married, I will have to ask her if I can borrow it. It was perfect on her.

The wedding was short- half an hour- and then we all went to the Hotel Galvez for the reception. I loved the table pieces- artichokes and pomegranates carved out with tea-lights in them. All of Juliana’s aunts had made cookies and these were placed on a table with Chinese take-out boxes so we could pack some up and take them home with us. We ate some good food, drank some wine, and danced some songs. Ricky complimented me on my two-step. When Juliana threw her bouquet, it landed in the chandelier! That was pretty funny. When the bride and groom left, we blew bubbles at them. They went upstairs, changed, and came downstairs for a carriage ride along the Seawall that Chris and Misti had bought for them. Most people left the reception at midnight but about 20 of us stayed, waiting for the couple to come back, and we stayed there until 2 am. I hadn’t been drinking since the reception ended, so I was going to drive a bunch of us home, but Paul’s car wouldn’t start, so we ended up taking a cab anyway. We had an after-party at Hunter, et al’s beach house, which lasted until dawn for some people.

Of course we slept in on Sunday, and meant to get down to the beach but never did. We had left-overs at our beach house- Bloody Mary’s and sandwhiches and cookies and chips, sausages and hamburgers from the day before. Finally it was time to go. Chris and Mysti stayed behind to help with Paul’s car, and Clif and Kelly and Bryan dropped me off at the Houston airport on their way north. I had a 4 pm flight and made it back to Managua at 6 pm.

I can’t wait to see everyone’s pictures from the weekend and see Mikey and Juliana over Christmas break! Next up for me: more work and then a trip to Costa Rica to see Chris, and then my birthday at the end of the month….