Archive for the ‘Nicaragua’ Category

no gracias

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

vigaron, a Granada specialty Vigaron, a local specialty of Granada, looks to be that perfect summer meal topped with fresh cabbage, tomatoes, and served up on a banana leaf.  But if you look more closely, you’ll see this dish comes complete with chicarrones (or fried pork rind), boiled yucca, thai peppers, and dressed with vinaigrette.  This is definitely a case where looks can be deceiving.

one year later…

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

one year on the road Well, we did it!  Officially, we have been traveling one year.  This last year, we’ve had incredible adventures, seen some amazing places, met friends & made friends along our travels.  We’ve braved the unknown, tried strange and delicious foods, and most of all, we now know more about each other than we thought was possible.  

We marked this anniversary by taking a boat tour of the Isletas de Granada (little islands), and a nice, casual dinner at our hotel in Granada. 

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair.

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Playa Gigante

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Playa Gigante, a fishing village After crossing the border into Nicaragua, we hopped on an old converted school bus headed to the beach.  Just north of San Juan del Sur is a small village called Playa Gigante.  The population is about 500 and growing.  Originally struggling as a fishing village, new foreign investors are starting to bring tourism to the area.  Playa Gigante isn’t an ideal surf location, but a short walk or boat ride will take you to great waves.  And that’s enough reason for the avid surfer to arrive, maybe not in droves, but enough to make a difference.

surfing in Playa AmarilloWe met back up with Hedda & Michael Hagen for the week, and Michael Hagen has been teaching us how to surf on Playa Amarillo.  Other than a few unused shelters built on the beach, Playa Amarillo is completely undeveloped–no boats, houses or restaurants.  The last two days the four of us have had the beach completely to ourselves.  Since I’m just a beginner surfer, I can’t speak for the quality of waves in Nicaragua, but a beautiful sandy, deserted beach anywhere in the world is a real jewel.

Michael surfing while I'm underwater
Since I’ve skied all my life, learning to surf seemed like it should be easy, but it’s not.  The toughest thing about surfing is not tiring yourself out while paddling out past the waves crashing down.  The waves keep breaking; even as I get past one, there’s another one and another one, as if they multiply.   As I try to dodge the white water, I’m kind of panicked, thinking “oh shit,” “oh shit”…if a wave crashes down on me, I’m thinking something way worse than “oh shit”…by the time I make it out past the waves breaking, I’m completely relieved and exhausted…while I wait for a set to roll in, I try to catch my breath…when the time is right, I try not to get frantic as I start paddling against the wave thinking, “hurry, hurry, paddle faster!”…as the wave takes me, “yeah, here we go!”…if I get to my feet, I’m elated thinking, that wasn’t so hard, along with “whoa, this is excellent!”.  If I didn’t make it to my feet, I’m holding my breath underwater wondering when I will be released from the grips of this mighty wave and wondering whether my surf board is going to knock me out.  It’s obviously going to take time to get it right–but it’s the right combination of challenging and rewarding to keep me going back for more. {above: Michael Hagen surfing.  Look closely and you can see a blur of orange under the wave.}