Monday night, June 30th, we left as a family to go live in Nicaragua for a month. This trip started out as a family home exchange with another family in Europe; actually three different families since one plan fell through after another. We had a little extra this year since Jeff's old job had withheld too much and cut us an unexpected check (also we actually had a tax return! wooo!). I then noticed that with some finagling we could pay for housing AND the flight if we just went to Central/South America instead of Europe. I'm still a little sad about this, I REALLY wanted to see Europe for the first time in my life, but am very grateful this trip worked out.
To get the airfare to fit in our budget, and to avoid really dumb layovers (8 hours worth on every flight we saw) we flew into Costa Rica and hired someone to drive us across the country and into Nicaragua. We flew overnight and landed in San Jose at around 5:30 am (same time zone as home as far as we can tell --little hard to care much).
We drove in a big van through jungle, and over mountains. I took this one crappy shot of a coffee plantation is all. I was so sleepy I missed a lot. I had been to Costa Rica during grad school for a research project, so I didn't feel too guilty.
Our driver woke us up (barely) for a breakfast stop.
We got the Desayuno de Casa (house breakfast) just to see what the heck was "tipico" (typical). "Pinto" --a rice and black bean mixture -- was part of every breakfast they offered, and it came with that, then eggs, fried plantains, some local cheese, tortillas, a slice of ham, I can't remember what else. Jeff, Ari and I shared 2 breakfasts between us and it was plenty. I got hot chocolate although it was about 100 degrees, because it's my thing, and it was great. Here our guide/driver is showing us the 52 volcanoes in the country, and the remainder of our route through C.R. to get to Nica.
Border between the two countries. I hate to say it, but I was a little nervous about trusting the driver guy. We had to Western Union half of the money to him up front while still in the states and I didn't tell anyone about it. It just screams STUPIDITY. But, we had heard about him through a travel forum, and how he was great at getting you through customs and immigration etc. and went for it. I was so glad we did! Even when our driver stopped again at a Western Union office in the middle of the jungle and said we had to pay more impuestos to leave C.R., I tried to trust. Yeah. We whipped through customs and immigration while whole crowds of people were turned back because they hadn't done what we had.
Little Nica coin Kai found on the way.
Here's our first glimpse of the ocean in San Juan Del Sur. We stopped here (the nearest real town) to rent a surfboard and boogie board for the month. My phone camera is crappy in situations like this as you can see. The ocean is the glowy stuff in the back of the picture.
Ari went and sat immediately in the rocker on the back patio --again, glowy ocean stuff is about 100 yards away.
Then she went inside to change into her suit.
Kai ran out to the water with the boogieboard without waiting for anyone. I had to chase him down and tell him to wait for the rest of us. I'm still not completely over my fear of the ocean.
Oh but it's lovely. We all stayed out until dark (which hits around 6:30 pm year round) and took turns with the boards. I was a pro at catching waves with the boogie board by the time we left. Well. Maybe not a pro, but I could do it, which was better than I expected. We showered and read a while and went to sleep with the patio doors open (screens on!) and the fan going. I slept great even without air conditioning. I love that ocean sound to sleep to.