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!