The Rundown - July 2016
July was a great month for playing tourist inB Nicaragua. My bestie was here for the better part of the first half soB we got up to all sorts of fun stuff and then the good times just kept on rolling in. The one major exception being a seriously frustrating police encounter after an accident, but more on that below. Read on, dear friends!
A night in a luxury treehouse, courtesy of my bestie and her mom (who opted to cover some of the costs as a belated grad present toB her). I'm pretty sure I have never stayed in a place so fancy. They even upgraded us to have our own private plunge pool since the resort wasn't full and we naturally used the opportunity to take silly and fun bestie photos. I think they have a touch of work to do in terms of consistency and service, especially for the prices, but I would still recommend the Aqua Wellness Resort to anyone looking for a beautiful and unique experience. A highlight for me was the included morning yoga on a raised platform overlooking the water. And the dog who joined for the practice (obvs).
We hiked Mombacho volcano, which I have done in the past (to amazing views). Unfortunately this day was very cloudy and rainy. However since we could not spend half an hour taking photos, we did do the short hike twice and enjoyed chatting and just carousing in nature. Plus my bestie was SO excited to escape the Managua heat for a few hours.
I took her to my favourite place in the country, the Laguna de Apoyo, and she loved it. I often go to Paradiso for a day trip - awesome food, great atmosphere, but you'll find better accommodation options elsewhere. Don't forget to use the lockers for valuables! I mean how could you not!? It's a volcanic crater lake. We swam a little, we had a slushie drink, we ate a ton of delicious vegetarian food, and we sunbathed with our books. Awesome. Toward the end of the month I went again with some other friends, because it's frankly the best way to spend a day.
As with my other friend last month, we went up to Jinotega and into the communities to visit my friends there. It was such a treat getting to show someone from "my other world" what my "Nicaragua world" was like for well over a year, and my bestie was wonderful about waiting to be translated for and making an effort to communicate with everyone despite the language barrier. She especially loved seeing all the (healthier) animals amidst the lush greenery of the Jinotega mountains.
Since we were in the North anyways, we took the opportunity to drive the beautiful Jinotega-Matagalpa road and checked out the Cascada Blanca. Due to it being rainy season, it was much more ferocious than the last time I had seen it (and swam in the then-blue and calm pool below!). We met another friend there and then all had lunch andB incredible ice cream afterward (blueberry lavender, anyone?). I was well over halfway through mine before I thought to take a picture so...#storyofmylife
With only a couple hours to spend in Granada, we hit upB the Mombacho Cigars colonial house-cum-factory and learned all about the process of the hand-rolled cigars. They produce over 200,000 a year! All with hand selected materials, quality controlled, hand-rolled, and even hand packaged. A pretty impressive little operation and deliciously yummy smelling atmosphere, all encased in a beautiful home with great rooftop views. And all for only a $4 tour!
A friend Sebas knows from his hometown had a gallery opening so we went. It was very tastefully done, serving wine and hors d'oeuvres, and many people seemed to really enjoy the art. There is no denying he is talented, but his particular style was not for me.
That whole car accident, police issue I mentioned above was a definite downer. I still have anxiety over the entire situation. AGH! Basically what it boils down to is FOUR return trips to the police station that was in ANOTHER TOWN and many, many hours of frustrated waiting to get my police report and license back. All because some micro driver couldn't wait the three seconds it would have taken for me to safely carry on in my lane before he entered it. YA. But the way the police work here is, you both lose your license, you both have to pay for a police report, and you both have to wait ENDLESS hours in line to get them back. Seriously. One of those four days I was at the police station for FIVE AND A HALF HOURS. Sorry for getting all capsy up in here but can you even believe it? I can, if just barely. The accident happened while my bestie was here and in the rental car, so that added a whole other layer of annoyance and drama to the issue. Seriously though, from me to you: if you ever rent a car in Nicaragua, spring for the full insurance. You will not regret it. Wanna know why the police suck SO bad? Read this post I wroteB about the police in Nicaragua, for a start, then add in national holidays and just a general "I don't owe you a thing, chela" attitude and you get a whole new level of frustration.
We had a tick infestation in the house. The first day I noticed it, I picked 60 (!) of the little disgusting creatures off of Daisy. B The second day, 30. Fortunately by days three and four it was only about 10 each time and we mostly have it under control again. Also fortunately, these aren't the ticks that carry Lyme disease and they rarely attach to humans. Silver lining?
My bestie went home to Canada and a few days later developed the symptoms of Zika. It was confirmed a week later that's what she had. What a way to end her trip! :(
A man on the street grabbed my arm while, I don't know, attempting to seduce me? And I flipped my lid. My reaction was swift but garbled in my Spanglish brain, and what came out was me screaming "Don't touch me! I'll kill you!". The desired effect was to embarrass him and call him out, and to that end it worked. He went RED. However, he also got aggressive and screamed back at me some expletives and the general theme that HE would kill ME. Fortunately he kept walking away in the opposite direction so I did the same. No one stood up or spoke up for me and basically just pretended they hadn't seen anything. This, coupled with the many catcalls I get every single day, have started to really affect me. I look down when I walk, I slump, try to avoid men whenever possible. It's not good, yo. I spoke to my work about it and they are letting me work at home a few days a week so it's not something I need to deal with as regularly, and I appreciate that. But it also got me to thinking... And this is how women just slip ever so quietly out of public spaces and into invisibility...
Our bodies are seriously amazing.B I started my little daily yoga challenge and it's been up and down (cuz that's life) but seriously, my body (and yours too!) is amazing. Even if I only do ten minutes a day, by the third day in a row my stretches are deeper, my pushups lower, and my leg lifts more effortless. It's pretty incredible and I am loving it. The shifts are subtle so far - I don't look any different. But since that wasn't really the endgame, I'm not worried about it. I love that my heels can now almost touch the floor when I do a downward dog and that I can do a side plank for the first time in my life.B Hurrah for yoga! I might just be a convert yet... I've also been meditating every time I do yoga. I aim for ten minutes but sometimes it's less. I think the effects of that are a little bit harder to gauge and distinguish from the overall effects of the exercise and routine, but I'm sticking with it. If you're interested in giving it a try, I use a couple of apps to help me:B this one has a free 7 day guided meditation for beginners, and these ones have lots of different options (I like the Simply Being series). My aunt sent me this neat quiz and I've taken into consideration some of the ideas around morning routines for your dosha. Regardless of whether I do it in the prescribedB order, I really think having a solid morning routine is key to getting the day started right. Guys...is this growing up?
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett - This was absolutely one of the best novels I've read in a really long time. I loved every word and every page. It follows a couple of scientists into the Amazon to track down a doctor who's doing drug research on a hidden tribe and if I tell you any more than that I'll ruin it for you. Ok, I'll add that there's mystery, a touch of romance, and plenty of interesting characters that it left me wishing there was a sequel or a prequel or some way to get more of this story.B It's my first time reading Ann Patchett but it definitely won't be my last.
Around the Interwebs
There's FINALLY a Gilmore Girls revival release date! November 25. Guys, mark it on your calendars, doodle it into your bullet journals, scream it from the mountain tops. November 25! I already tweeted it but you guys I'm still laughing about it days later. It's worth another watch. I feel pretty safe claiming that this is going to be my new favourite movie. Ryan Gosling + Emma Stone forever!!
I'd love to hear from you guys if you like reading about my past travels or if there's anything about Nicaragua that I've never written and you'd like to know? The rundowns are really fun to write because I like keep tracking of what I got up to, but I have a great time writing informational or any interesting post as well. Let me know in the comments! 7 Romantic Date Ideas for Buenos Aires (Plus 7 Spicy Extras!)
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Coming up in August 2016
It is the last month Sebas and I have together in Nicaragua, so I'm hoping we can sneak away and do something fun for his birthday. Other than that, we will just have to see what pops up!