Small roller bag and hyper lite backpack

Small roller bag and hyper
lite backpack


When traveling
I own only what I can carry
And I am carrying too much
So I shed – a warm fleece and tights
Hace mucho calor para estas ropas
I shed a dress, skirt and top
That I foolishly tucked in my bag
At the last moment
My mojo is to blend in
Be local, look local

When traveling
I own only what I can carry
Not interested in transporting
Emotional and acculturated baggage
Labels, barriers, rules, and restrictions
To-do lists, boundaries, and decorum
These all confine creativity and the ability to wander

You only need what you can carry
No need to own more
So keep it lite and minimal

Never leave home without swim stuff

Never leave home without swim stuff

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I have crossed the border from Nicaragua to Costa Rica and feel I have time warped from a third world to a first world country. In Costa Rica there are mucho gringos, rental cars, roller bags, pricey hotels, screened windows, hospitality workers who speak english, and actual bus stations. I have hot water, an indoor shower, AC, ice, cold water, and you can toss the toilet paper down the toilet – convenient, boring stuff. The electricity or water has not stopped working once, a daily occurrence in Nicaragua.

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There is less dust, wind, trash, and minimal ants, fewer hot crowded buses, not many horse-pulled carts, less constant Spanish, no dogs under the table at dinner or pigs and cattle in the roadway, nor motorcycles pulling through the restaurant and into the attached casita with no doors, not as many chicken buses, and scant backpackers and hostels – most likely due to the higher cost of travel in Costa Rica. Life is tame.

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I am missing the adventure and flavor of Nicaragua.

Faces of Nicaragua

coconut water
As I reflect on my Nicaraguan adventure multiple images come into focus:
Colorfully painted houses, extreme poverty, rocking chairs, young backpackers, surf beaches, crazy crowded local buses, Congo (howler ) monkeys with their deep throated and communications, outdoor showers, costal beaches, nica food, and the faces of the friendly Nicaraguans we met on the journey.

chiffles

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The maestra of the cacao and chocolate processing

The maestra of the cacao and chocolate processing

Our familia

Our familia

chef and juancito

donut lady

Gerry

helado

panga

horse and cart

Slow Travel

tunnel f trees
As I was walking today deciding if I should extend my stay in Playa Hermosa I realized I was contemplating slow travel. Not to be confused with personally slowing down and losing agility, slow travel translates to stopping and enjoying the journey, sitting for a spell to notice the beauty of the environment, the smells, sights, sounds, tastes, and textures that permeate the senses. You can be moving, yet still, peaceful, surrendering to the space where you are at that moment.

vaca

sand design

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simple lunch

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hammacas

playa privado

volcan

Where have you traveled slowly today?

bus
A seven-hour hot, packed ride on a local bus to San Carlos, the launch point for the Rio San Juan – land of infamous pirates from the Caribbean, lush jungle, monkeys and colorful birds, and the original location for the canal from the Caribbean to the Pacific ocean. Six hours on the Rio San Juan in two pangas and one dugout canoe (no roads in this area), we arrived at Base Camp Bartola in the Indio Maiz biological reserve surrounded by the jungle de Nicaragua.

rio san juan

Panga #1 on the Rio San Juan

Panga #1 on the Rio San Juan

panga 2

Dugout canoe transport to Base Camp

Dugout canoe transport to Base Camp

Refreshing coconut water upon our arrival. No ice or refrigerators here!

coconuts

Base Camp is located in a community of 26 families that host campers and provide meals and tours of the area. We were transported back in time where all food is prepared with wood fires, outhouses are the only facilities, and bathing and laundry is done in the river. Spent the days hiking the jungle, watching the monkeys, visiting a local finca, making tortillas, roasting cacao fruit, then grinding and cooking the cacao seeds into tasty chocolate balls, and awakening to the sound of the deep-throated howls of the Congo monkeys and a plethora of birds songs.

Our camp at Base Camp Bartola

Base Camp Bartola

banos

hike

Typical Nica dinner

Typical Nica dinner

Cacao fruit

Cacao fruit

Roasted Cacao seeds ready for grinding

Roasted Cacao seeds ready for grinding

Chocolate balls made from Cacao seeds

Chocolate balls made from Cacao seeds

Stocked with cacao balls we are off to our next Nica adventure!

The sign on the entrance at my next abode reads
“Don’t get too relaxed, you may never leave”
10 days later I am still here
Beaching it on the pristine coastline at Playa Gigante

A small cabana is all one needs
cabana
Morning starts with cafe con leche

cafe

Followed by walking long stretches of deserted beach

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Swimming in private bays
swim beach

Siestas under la palapa

siesta
Writing blogs
Gazing at the pelicans soaring and diving
Listening to the surf pummel the rocks

Crashing surf

Crashing surf


Catching up with all those books on my reading list

Enjoying tasty tacoines con queso y salsa

Tacoines

Or an iced Sangria at happy hour

sangria
Meditatively gazing at each stunning sunset
sunset

Appreciating how good life is!

La familia and casita a Puesta del Sol

Our familia

Our familia

A collectivo de muejeres
En el Pueblo – Puesta del sol
Who rent rooms and provide meals to touristas
Home cooked beans, rice and chicken in banana leaves
Fried plantains and pescado

La cena (dinner)

La cena (dinner)


Exploring Isleta Ometepe by motor scooter

moto scooter
Swimming in fresh spring water at los ojos de aqua

los ojos de aqua

los ojos de aqua

Surrounded by two majestic volcans
Conception to the north and Magdalena in the south

Volcan Conception

Volcan Conception


Enjoying the hibiscus vino made by the collectivo
The women separate the fruit from the pods

Preparing hibiscus fruit for wine

Preparing hibiscus fruit for wine


Then dry the fruit on large open screen platts

Drying fruit for wine

Drying fruit for wine

And did I mention the afternoon siesta in the hammocks?

siesta time

siesta time

Always a glorious sunset to close the day.

sunset

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If you have been to my casita in Tucson you know I love color
Los colores de Granada speak to me in their vibrant voices
Repainted in December for the holiday season and new year
Brilliant, flamboyant purple, turquoise, green, and yellow
Varnish the walls and doorways
Like newly applied makeup for a magnificent performance

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bike
Never did I think I would be riding a single speed! But how could I turn down a free bike at my guesthouse to explore the roads and sights around Granada. A bit tough pushing those pedals on the uphill with no fall back gearing. And no hand brakes – old school pedal brake only. I feel like a kid again!

There are plenty of options if you need repairs or parts – check out these local bike shops in Granada!

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bike3

bike shop4

bike shop5

dock
A serendipitous journey
Making fortunate discoveries by accident
Maintaining sagacity or a keen perception
Wandering off the margins
Finding surprises when prospecting
Extending invisible antennas
Asking questions
Initiating conversations
Improvising
Getting lost
Finding the unexpected
All point you unknowingly
To what you are not seeking

Volcan Mombucho

Volcan Mombucho