Monday, November 30, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
We spent a month driving through the intensely mountainous regions of Southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Verdant hillsides sloped up from both sides of the carretara, enveloping us in lush, expanding waves of green. We passed through Tegucigalpa just as the sun was setting and descended toward the coastal plain of Honduras's Pacific Coast in darkness. The next morning we drove the 30 or so miles to the frontera with Nicaragua. After all those mountains, there were the volcanic lowlands of Nicaragua. We entered Nicaragua at Los Manos, the horizon opening before us, grassy prairies dotted with geometric cones of ash. Nicaragua welcomed me like an old friend, throwing her arms wide, saying, "Here you are again, my friend! I always knew you would come back!"
For me, time takes on a misty quality here. My last trip, perhaps I could blame Flor de Cano and Victoria. But I know that there is more to it. Perhaps it is the mystique of the volcanoes, and their legends; or the spirits of the heroes and martyrs; or the infectious dimpled smiles of people who despite the pains of their past, look forward with such hope, who have as a national hero, a poet. My hours and days slip away from me here and when it comes time to go, as it is tomorrow, I think, "How can that be? I am not READY to go."
Three days ago we took a trip to a place where I spent a lot of time -- a beach/surf break called Popoyo. I wanted to show my family where I was content to live in a backpacker's tent for months, without running water. A place where I made some of the best friends of my life. I wanted them to see the place, and meet the people who lived their. When we arrived at the beachside restaurant, it was closed for the slow season. It is an open air restaurant and we were able to walk inside. There on the wall, still hanging on by one corner, was the picture of the Golden Gate Bridge I cut from the back of my Rand McNally road atlas of the USA and duct taped to the wall, as my "I was here." Seven years ago. Duct tape endures.
I inquired about the woman who ran the place and learned she was in town, Las Salinas. We drove there and found her house. Her daughters remembered me and welcomed my family to their home. They called Gloria on her cell phone, but she didn't answer. One daughter headed out on her bike and found her. She returned out of breath and sweaty, saying, "Gloria viene!" A neighbor jumped on his motorcycle and went to fetch her more quickly. She arrived and walked up to me. Throwing her arms wide, tears in her eyes, she said, "Male! Welcome back! I always knew you would come back!" Friendship also endures.
apples and apple juice [to come]
Sunday, November 15, 2009
After a couple days exploring the ruins, museum, and town, we raced through the rest of Honduras towards Nica. We spent a night near the Gulf of Fonseco before hitting the border.
Our first stop in Nica was at Playa Jiquilillo, at Nate's Rancho Esperanza. The girls made friends with some local ninas.
We took a break from the beach and explored Leon...
...but quickly headed back to the beach at Las Penitas.
The morning we left we tried to help out some fellow travelers but couldn't get their car to start.
We drove past Managua and up to the rim of a volcano whose crater has filled with a lake -- Laguna Apoyo -- our favorite place so far.
We are now in Granada and are headed to Ometepe on the ferry tomorrow.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
I didn't tell Gregg anything about Chiapas before we got here but it was not long after crossing the state line from Oaxaca that he said, "I think this is the most beautiful place we have seen so far." Yes, that is what thought too. I loved Chiapas on my last visit and so far it does not disappoint this time either. We are in Chiapa de Corzo, for our second night at the comfortable, spa-like, Hotel Ceiba. The town has fantastic artisan shopping, great food, and the Rio Grijalva. Today we took a short boat ride to a small, family-owned, island. We ate lunch and then buzzed around in the river. Tomorrow we will take the launcha down river to view the majestic Canon Sumidero.
Earlier in our journey, I asked Alex what she liked best so far. Perhaps it was a day after a long drive or while we were staying in one of the less luxurious accomodations, but her reply was, "San Diego." I chalked it up to the large pool, the 9-year old swim-mate, and the free flowing lemonade at the Loews Coronado, rather than general culture shock. Tonight at dinner, thinking she may sense our more relaxed vibe, I asked her again. She replied, "Still San Diego. But I am waiting for PANAMA! I think Panama is going to be really great!" After two weeks of hearing, "Are we in Guatemala yet?" I found this interesting. In two days, Alex, we will be in Guatemala yet. And I think you're going to like it.
There are so many photos -- I need to figure a good way to share them.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
This afternoon we arrived in Santa Rosalia, a small copper mining town on the Sea of Cortez. We are staying in the beautiful Las Casitas. Our room has a fabulous terrace overlooking the sea. Gregg and the girls are cozy in bed, with ocean breezes cooling their skin.