A video with some pics from Central America. Not quite wh

April 30, 2009 at 8:37 pm

A video with some pics from Central America. Not quite what I wanted and so much more to show. I’ll keep adding pictures to Picasa, some new ones added today so go look! Enjoy. :)

Oh, and I just re-added the ‘monkeying around’ video so check it out! A video with some pics from Central America. Made updates

April 30, 2009 at 10:04 am

A video with some pics from Central America. Made updates to

Pepto dismal

April 30, 2009 at 1:46 am

How could I forget to write about my 8+ days of bowel agony!

The cause? The fish in El Salvador, I thought. It began the day after. But it wouldn’t go away. Dehydration? I drank lots of water. Then I switched to the bread, banana, and dairy diet (Yes! Ice cream!). Still a growling painful stomach ache with frequent trips to the toilet. Being that the walls were paper thin, I’m sure everyone else was also counting the days until I got better.

Now onto country 3, back in Costa Rica, and still on a banana / bread diet. I did get some pills from the pharmacy but those didn’t seem to do the trick either. So, I picked up some pepto bismo. I tripled my dose and STILL! ;You’ve got to be kidding me,’ I thought. What was I doing wrong? I didn’t have the Swine flu, did I?

A Spanish friend reminded me to be careful with the water. ‘But I stopped drinking the water a while ago,’ I said, ‘before I switched to my daily banana batidos (shakes)’ …. then it hit me. I had been drinking bananas with water and/or ice on a daily basis. Immediately I stopped, tripled my pepto bismo dosage, ate nothing but bread and bottled water and within hours I started feeling better.

Whew! No more frequent trips to the bathroom for me. I was filling up too many waste baskets (read below)! ;)

Random babbles and trip summary part I

April 30, 2009 at 12:40 am

I’m sitting here in Seattle, just after 8:30 pm and the sun is finally setting. I’m used to the sun setting at 5:30 pm like clockwork, and taking about 10-15 minutes to fall beneath the horizon, the weather finally cooling down from the strong heat of the day.

The sun appears again around 5:30 am. The big dipper seems to appear to the left and upside down, the stars are clear and seem so close. The sun sets in different places depending on the time of the year. It’s hot during the day and at night I rarely slept with a sheet. I wanted to, of course, as I knew that lots of funny creature – especially cucarachas – were crawling about. But, the heat made it impossible.

From Finca las Nubes, Chris, the owner, generously gave me some ‘souvenirs’ and I came back with two bags of organic coffee, along with a jar of honey from their bees, and a bag full of moringa leaves, or ‘the miracle tree’ (future home where you’ll be able to find some

Some thoughts –

I realize that we are very fortunate in the States. I also realized that there’s a particular snobbiness about the US, where I didn’t feel as welcome in my own country as I did in other countries. We are so spoiled in so many ways. We don’t realize the effect we have on our environment. We don’t give back in ways that we could/should. People starve in the world not because resources are scarce, but because greed has led to poor access to information and because of the lack of ability to purchase.

Every little bit helps. I’d like to go back and volunteer some time to teaching English, while also starting a business there to employ more people. The unemployment rate in Nicaragua is around 50%. There are so many ways we can volunteer our time or skills to help.

A friend of mine was managing a Subway (before the owner stole money and fled and the store was closed down). An honest guy, hard worker, he made $75 dollars a month to run the
store. I took Gaspar out for Mediterranean food the night before I left. He played baseball outside of the restaurant for years, only entering the restaurant to get his ball back when it went over the barbed wire fence, but never to eat. He couldn’t afford it. Our bill was only $22 dollars – very inexpensive for me, and nearly 1/3 of a month’s wage for him.

Animals are not treated well and it makes me incredibly sad. There’s no such thing as a doggy daycare or spa. If an animal is sick, they suffer through it, or they’ll just be shot. Part of it is cultural but I feel like there’s a lot we can do to influence, first starting by example.

I also noticed that children are loving, respectful to their parents, and well behaved in countries like Costa Rica and Nicaragua. In El Salvador and in the States I noticed just the opposite. Not sure why, but my guess was that it might be related to the overflow of information, flashy things, junk food, sugary foods. Just an observation. But there’s a lot to be said for the simple things in life.

Saint Augustine

April 30, 2009 at 12:11 am

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

Habits are hard to break

April 30, 2009 at 12:07 am

As I sat in my hotel room last night in the bathroom, I found myself looking around to find the waste basket to dispose of my used toilet paper. Wait! You mean I can actually flush it down the toilet? Amazing.

In Central America, the sewage system is so poor that anything you put in the toilet might easily cause backups – and surprises – in the drains.

So, everywhere there are signs that say ‘please place your tissue in the waste basket, do not flush down toilet’. For the past 6 weeks, I’ve been throwing my toilet paper away, usually into an over-filled bin. Surprisingly, it doesn’t seem as bad as it sounds, but I did get tired of (though, sadly, accustomed to) the not-so-fresh smell every time I walked into a bathroom.

It’s good to be back to old habits! Just don’t invite me over for a few weeks until I’m fully back in the habit. Or, just remove the trash can before I get there.

Here it is – a picture of me sliding down an active volcano at the whopping speed of 23 kph (I wiped

April 29, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Here it is – a picture of me sliding down an active volcano at the whopping speed of 23 kph (I wiped out, I swear I was going 123!). A mouth full of volcano, bits of rock still in my arm and leg, but one of the craziest and funnest adventures ever. More pictures coming to Picasa soon.

I had the craziest time in Leon. A town rich in culture and history, including the beginning of the revolution, but also one of the craziest adventures I’ve ever done – Volcano Boarding! A friend of mine took pictures so as I wait to post them, take a look at the NY Times article that was posted on Volcano Boarding (click on the title/link). My left arm and leg are all scratched up. I didn’t beat my friend Crystal’s record, who hold the fastest women’s record in Nicaragua, at 68 kph, but I can say I’m pretty proud of my ‘souvenirs’.

April 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Volcano Boarding, Leon, Nicaragua

The price of a roll

April 19, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I went to Super Selectos for some food around 1 pm and saw a case with great bread, not the airy flaky flavorless kind, but hearty bread. I asked how much. 3 cords per roll, great, I bought 3 for 9 cordobas.

I shared them with a friend who decided she would buy some also. Around 3 pm we went back for 3 more. Total price: 10.5 cords. Hmm, quite inflated after only 2 short hours.

The next morning, I went back for more. This time they were 4 cords a piece! Granted, a different person was working each time. I had to argue with each of them to get the original 3 cords price. Or was it the original? What would have been my starting point had I gone at 11 am?

The flaky pricing is typical of Nicaragua and some other Central American countries. Yesterday on the bus I got charged 5 cords more than anyone else. Why? The gringo/tourist price. Either way, I always have to negotiate my way out of a higher price here.

I generally just starting with saying ‘no, that’s too high’ then either give another price or attempt to walk away a few times. That does it, usually. Or I listen to the price the local was just charged then ask for the same or give exact change (this is key or they may not always give you money back). I’m just used to everyone trying to rip you off. It’s a big chicken fight (El Gallo mas Gallo) but once you agree on a price with someone, then you become best of friends and they are the nicest people. I just have to say I expected it from a street vendor or Taxista didn’t expect it out of a grocery store.

So if you want a cheap roll, I suggest going to Super Selectos around 9 am on Monday. ;)

Cold shower I love you!

April 19, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I’m starting to REALLY look forward to cold showers. Yesterday for example I was on a ‘chicken bus’ for six hours from Leon to San Juan del Sur. The bus was overpacked, four people in my two person seat, bags being passed around overhead, sun beating directly on the back of my neck, my pants were soaked in sweat and my white shirt had a nice mix of sweat and dust from the road.

When I finally arrived and threw myself and my pack off the back of the bus and found a room in a house to rent for a few days, I could hardly wait for that cold shower! There was actually a real shower head versus a pipe coming from the wall and I didn’t need to leave my shoes on in the tiled floor versus a dirty cracked cement floor. It was heaven.

I tried a hot shower in El Salvador and I decided that I prefer cold showers, at least in this weather. First of all, it’s refreshing and the little ‘shock’ I’ve actually become accustomed to. Second, the air is colder if you have a hot shower versus a cold shower. Plus… you don’t take as long and you don’t waste as much energy.

Cold shower, I love you!