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Nicaragua 2012 – Wuilber heads Back to Panama

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Wuilber goes back to Panama tomorrow so planned to spend some time with him, but he was busy getting ready to go back. the odd noise on the old truck was pretty much what I thought it was, but sounds like they are going to have toΒ Β Β  Do another take to get it fixed right, hopefully will make it to Managua & back tomarrow. They let me ‘practice driving’ this evening and I told them I was driving before Wuilber was born. But I will have to admit I have never driven a steering wheel that was so loose, I’ve driven boats with tighter steering πŸ˜‰ I told then I was going to drive slow ‘tortuga style’ cause I just don’t like zooming in and out with all the kids and families all over the street.
Watched some booty-shaking music videos and Robert Rodriguez’s Las Mariachi and part of the sequel from a hammock, and had a wonderful dinner. Marcela chatted with the Ladies in the small garden courtyard.

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Nicaragua 2012 – Babtism

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Today we baptism for my twin nephews (Sabrina’s) Carlito & Raul with teior parents Jose Abana & Carla. There was a meeting before we had to attend – I shot some of the kids having class’s in the church yard and an ol’e cushman while waiting.
After the service was lunch at the grandmother’s (abuela) house, where the kids did Piniata in the small courtyard. In the late after noon (la tardy), we went to the beach at Corintha less than 30 minutes away. Lots of shots of Marcela, her sister (armarna) Leonila and some of the kids (ninos & ninas) in the surf. Then good fish dinner.

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Nicaragua 2012 – Walking around the Colonia and Downtown

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Couple of trips out to photograph (just walked across the bridge to downtown), didn’t pan out do to missed light.

We just went for a walk to find an open Internet cafe so I could touch base with the outside world just to make sure everything is OK. The closest about 3-4 blocks away on dirt streets was closed due to the baseball game -Chinandga vs Managua, as was the 3 rd place we tried, the second didn’t have wireless. Surprised there was three within walking easy distance. I must go to the closest tomorrow, something about sitting at an Internet Cafe on a a ‘dirt road’ just screams MUST DO! The ‘TurtleNet’ card (spelled TurboNet) my step kids have here does want to work.

On the subject of cell phones, I believe that’s the tie that binds at least teenagers, they seem to be texting away just like American kids.

Most everyone is really friendly and welcoming to me, many wanting me to photograph them. My family here seems to me to be ‘overprotective’, but I think we’ve come to an understanding concerning venturing out. I suspect a couple are puzzled at the warm reception I get. Sometimes I fell like I’m doing the Jedi mind trick as I turn a hard look into a smile or even small laugh.

I’m starting to get used to the wooden carts (man or house powered) mixed with cars, tricycle taxis, trucks buses mixed with pedestrians, and animals in the street. I don’t feel the need to photograph every horse-drawn cart now, but I know I will miss them πŸ™‚

The nieghborhood or suburb is Colonia Roberto Gonzalaz. Most of the srtreets are dirt and it’s just a few minutes walk to downtown Chinandega or quicker via ‘tricyclia’ πŸ˜‰

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Nicaragua 2012 – Back in Chinandega

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Back in Chinandega…
The feels more like home – not just home base. Marcela and I have our own room, and it’s with immediate family in the home where she grew up so it’s comfortable.
The main living area in the from of the house opens up to the street and a small porch to the back. Again the ceiling is open where you can see the tiles. The back opens to a small porch and three living quarters/bedrooms to the right. To the left across from the bedrooms is the kitchen/bathing area. The bedrooms are tile and the bathing are concrete floor, the kitchen earthen. The walls are concrete block fished out with the top row usually the block with decorated holes. Mostly painted.
In the middle is a small plant area down the middle with path, and clothes lines. Cord and barb wire (who needs clips?) to the side is a small drive with gate and a 2-wheeled trailer and the truck we are borrowing from my brother in law hoseanna.
Hands, dishes and clothes are all, washed in the kitchen basin. This is also the production area for the small frozen ‘pop-cycles’ in cellophane bags and larger ‘frescas’ – all natural juice squeezed fresh from the fruits.
Water is stored in large plastic barrels during the day as this is the dry-season, and there is no running water in the morning.
Bathing is done by bailing from a barrel with plastic bowls – something I’ve gotten quite proficient at. Some think it’s ‘too cold’ shower in the morning – don’t they know what ‘cold’ is πŸ˜‰

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Click here to Start from the beginning of my Nicaragua 2012 Journal

2012-01-21 : Maysaya

Off to Maysaya – another trip in the back of the toyota pickup. Ah, the fumar!
The house is again open air with all types of fruit trees, and nice back deck area where you can cook, brush your teeth, wash clothes or whatever πŸ˜‰ outhouse and shower area agree attached as well, and a path leads off to the neighbors.

2012-01-22 : Granada

Nice enough place with neat churches (englishia). Told my companions, it reminded me a bit of San Antonio, Texas, but the signs in SA are often in English & Spanish – Granada, pretty much just English ;D


Past Granada through the downpour and into the country to visit more relatives. Now when then natives of a third-world country look at you like your nuts for riding in the back of the pickup in the rain, maybe we’re taking this immersion thing a bit far.
Anyway, you loose the tile floors and running water out here, this is really ‘off the grid’. Earthen floor huts or sheds are home. As I walk into the first one, kids are gather around a small tv playing a video game. Out the back and a ways down the pathetic to another of Marcela’s aunts, and some coconuts from a tree on the way back. Down the road to another and photo session with the ‘toros’ there.
Now let me mention these are not backwards people, they live simply but are intelligent, attractive, and very friendly.


From the house we here Meriache, so it’s out the back down the path avoid the large hole (there are holes everywhere in this land). The neighbors are good friends of the family and we are invited in. I get the dance with the hostess and then Marcela. After going to bed, I’m told my uncle Jaun wants me to come back and join the festivities, it’s more contemporary load music now. Keep in mind I just have my big clog boots on this leg of the trip, but a I hold my own. I imitate my step-daughter as she dances while texting her friends. I can tell her dance -partner really is into it as much as she’s into the tiny cell-phone screen. So I dance while cupping my hands around an imaginary phone moving my thumbs in exaggerated texting motion. Somehow I get into a teen-age dance-off with the young suited and one of the other young guys. With a little wiggling and humor, we got a lot off laughs! OK, I’m more than twice their age so pretty, soaked so off to the outdoor shower again before bed πŸ˜‰


Islas of Nicaragua lake..
Today, the extended family including ‘pasteur’, went on a small boat ride to visit several of the 365 islands. Nice relaxing trip to see nature and homes (you buy the whole island). The highlight was Marcela feeding a couple of monkeys by hand. One was particularly fond of breath mints – hey we weren’t prepared with a food stash.


Trip into Managua to check on Mardiella’s Visa there at the consulate (embasy) 6:30am – need to come back at 1pm. Came in thru security, Welcomed Mardiella to the United states and told to come back tomarow. The next day we found out where things were and given an email. The second day we took the ‘express’ van into managua. That means cram people into every crevice and straggles along the way, stand. When the girl in front of me said she loved what I do, it took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to reply (in Spanish). I did alright and after sever minutes trying to figure out what she does I realized: She spoke to me in English? – Dooooh!! She was an ‘English’ major in school…. πŸ˜‰

So this is Maysaya…
This evening we went into actual downtown. Old and interest, little market, ect. The next morning Mardiella and I wend back before going back to the embasy and took some photos.

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Nicaragua 2012 – Chinandega

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Sitting here in the living area of the house where my wife grew up. She’s handling out some of my t-shits other family. Out the open front door I hear chickens and people, the road is right there a few feet away and I see bicycles laden with mother father and child, two-wheeled horse-drawn carts, motorcycles, bicycle people, carriages, dogs, bIrds and an occasional cart vendor. Waitiong for a cowΒ  as i saw in the streets of managua. The street is very crowded. It is divided cobblestone, with small trees in the narrow median.
My communication is very limited, although an occasional break-through in Spanish is well-received. I Can tell marcela is a little emotional as she has been away from her family and three children virtually thier whole lives.
One t- shirt just went to the neighbor who rebuilds old Honda motorcycles. I will go shoot in the shop while I’m here. When I say next door, in may as well be the next room if you are accustom to large american standard housing.
The kitchen (& one bathroom) is separated from the main house. It is made of cement block, with natural floor and a couple of small creaky tables you might find in an old shed somewhere in rural America.
The roof is open here with a lathe of timber & boards revealing the underside side of the clay tiles above. Several times a day someone while come by the front door ( no need to knock) and pickup some plantains (platino.) or tasty frozen slurpy in a cellophane bag from the freezer part of the fridge, or cold water.
The street is a free for all – take every kind of motion, kids walking, jupeople biking, playing, talking, and yeh driving, throw it into the street all at the same time…
just went with Raul (father in law) & Alisia to deliver empty bottles to her families shop.
tonight Lehia, Wuilber, Mardiella got me a birthday cake, great fun, Marcella and me with cake on our faces and a nephew made sure my camera lens had some sticky on it to πŸ˜‰

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Nicaragua 2012 – Arrival

This blog post is part of a sporadic journal I kept on my iPad and uploaded at an Internet cafe on a dirt road a couple minutes walk from Marcela’s family home where we stayed the majority of the time…

Getting through customs was a breeze in the Nicaragua airport.
Wuilber flew up from Panama and met us just outside. Then pulled up Angel (Marcela’s brother), in an old beat-up Toyota pickup, then her Dad walked up. Tight squeeze I though, as we crammed into the small back seat clutching on to my large camera backpack and laptop case – these are not going in the back, even if Marcela hadn’t been preaching to me for two weeks about the dangers of leaving things unattended. Angel and Wuilber filled the pickup bed with our luggage and I look outside and see, Leihia Marcela’s oldest, …and my niece Alicia. ‘did they drive two vehicles two and a half hours just to greet us, I asked myself? …Remember every time you see a Spanish family with people crammed in the from and riding in the bed of the pickup? – That’s us! – here we go!,
After leaving the airport and riding a little ways through the city, I peer out the small band of visible widow area from the back seat and see cows in the median, colored buses and people everywhere and realize, ‘I need to be in the back!’ … Finally we pulled over, Marcella pulled some suit-cases out, put them in the the cab, we climbed in the back with Wuilber and Mariella and I became ‘part of THE family!’ Camera drawn and inhaling the fumes we continued our journey to Marcela’s home town of Chinandega!
We stopped along the way to eat some authentic Nicaraguan food and try one of the first of many juice drinks this part of the world has to offer. Passed a couple of volcanoes, waved at a lot people, got a little sun-burned and had a good time πŸ™‚
Passed around The edge of Leon, and drove into Chinandega where turned off onto a cobblestone road then pulled into the yard….