We are the Marincas-Bucy Family, Gregg (Daddy), Marlyn (Mama), Alex John (4.5 years old), and Gregorie Ann (3 years old). This blog will be the story of our 6 months spent traveling through Mexico and Central America. Please read along to follow us on our adventures, to find information about planning your own adventure, to get hints and ideas on traveling with small children, or to just daydream.
[Alex is now 7 and Gregorie is 5.5 , and our six months were spent. We are still reliving our adventures every day. And sharing them here. And dreaming of more... always dreaming...]

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cigars, Leather, and Thrift Stores

20 enero 10, Esteli, Nicaragua.  Esteli has the best selection of thrift stores I've seen since Golfito, Costa Rica, 7 years ago.  I got an amazing skirt for 60 cords today.  Shopping has been the theme of our visit in this town, rich in Sandinista history and child-painted murals.  Esteli is the cigar capitol of Nica and Gregg has been on a quest to find the finest (not that he is much of a smoker).  Esteli is also known for its leather goods and we have bought a saddle (for a horse we do not own) and Gregg got a belt.  We have also ordered two pairs of custom made boots.  I'm very excited.  The man traced my foot and took three measurements of my calf!  The girls got handmade "princess dresses" of pink chiffon.  And we have been trying desperately to find these amazing wooden bass guitars -- thinking of a certain couple to be married soon -- but where is that barber shop that sells them?

We have been here a couple days -- arriving yesterday afternoon in spite of L.C.  We stopped on along a dirt/rock road so Alex could go to the bathroom and when Gregg tried to start the car, no go.  40 minutes of tinkering yielded nothing.  Finally, he banged on the starter while I turned the key and "vrooom!".  We drove to the Toyota dealer.  And some $40 later, L.C. is fixed.  

We came from Matagalpa where we spent several hours trying to find first the cemetery and then the grave where Ben Linder is buried.  Ben was a young American engineer killed in '87 by the Contras while he worked to bring electricity to some remote villages in northern Nica.  We wanted to pay our respects.  Alex said some moving words at the gravesite.  Seeing her as moved as she was made the hours of searching in the bright sunlight very worthwhile.  Yes, Ben, thank you.  If anyone comes to Matagalpa and is looking too, it's plot number 4069. 

We spent 3 nights at Finca Esperanza Verde --  a gorgeous eco-lodge/coffee plantation. Alex was fascinated by the coffee process, truly.  We hiked, examined ant life, saw monkeys, relaxed in the cool climate.  

I had hoped to add pictures to this post and the last but the camera is locked in the car -- across the street in the locked lot.    A few more journal entries:

17 december 09, El Valle, Panama:  FAITH:  

Walking home from dinner tonight Alex said to me, "Have you seen more animals than I have?"

Yes, I have.  I've been to more countries than you have, so far.  More places, more animals.

She replied, "I want Gran to be my mom too -- so I can go to all the places you've gone to."

I thought, "Gran isn't why I went to all those places."  Then I corrected, "maybe she is...."  She always encouraged me to go...

Earlier that day we had visited the small municipal museum, located behind the large Catholic church.  As we pulled up to the curb Alex said, "Is that the god place?  I'm not going in there.  No way.  I don't do the god thing."   I just shrugged and said, "We're not going to the church."  

 As we were walking down the street, hand in hand, talking about the animals of the world, I watched Alex marvel at the holiday decorations (looking anachronistic in this tropical place, even more than in LA, despite the historical setting and the fact that for half the earth Christmas does fall in summer...).  I thought of another conversation she and I once had.

A: Mom,do you know God?

M:  No, I don't.

A:  But other people do, right?

M:  Yes, other people believe that they know God.  When you are ready, you can figure out what you believe.

As we passed creche scenes set on lawns and fences wrapped with tinsel and bows I thought of the faith of this season, not just for Christians but for Jews, Pagans, others.  A season that is about finding lighting your soul in the dark part of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere at least).  And I thought about my faith.  I thought about what I believe in. 

I believe in the power of love and kindness.
I believe in our ability to heal this earth -- despite the geological forces that may bring our eventual extinction -- I believe in OUR power to not let this happen in my children's lifetime.
I believe in our power to end war, feed the hungry, heal the sink -- if we could all look into our hearts and not into our wallets, purses, and brokerage accounts.
I have faith in the power of my child's small hand, tucked into mine.  

5 enero 10, Bijagua, Costa Rica:  North By West North West

We have made it to our Southern/Eastern most destination and have "turned around" and headed towards home -- sort of, in a round about kind of way.  We left Panama a little more than a week ago -- leaving behind La Coralina in Bocas, our home away from home.  We spent a few days on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica -- went to a national park where Alex got mugged by a monkey.  A sloth was living in the tree over our cabina and would drop fruit on our tin roof in the mornings. From there we cut diagonally inland and up towards Nicaragua.  We spent New Year's Eve at a beautiful rain forest lodge where we saw green macaws, toucans, and other brightly colored birds.  On a short hike Alex spotted a tiny red frog.  Next we spent three days soaking in thermal waters and sliding down tobagones at a resort near Vulcan Arenal.  The resort was a different experience for us on this trip -- pretty luxurious, pretty crowded, pretty expensive.  Over the weekend, the crowds were a bit intimidating -- we were thankful for the afternoon rain that sent most of the people scrambling from the warm pools.  Monday was mas tranquilo.  We met a fun and friendly family from Boston -- mom, dad, and Maddy (5) and Max (3.5) -- Alex and Maddy became fast friends!  Gregorie and Max played "frog" together.  Today we continued northwesterly towards the Nica border.  We are now at a great lodge on the side of a volcano that has amazing views of Lago de Nicaragua and the Solitaname Islands.  So we hear.  Since we arrived it has been torrentially raining.  We have a fabulous wooden bungalow complete with jacuzzi tub.  It is neat, pretty, comfortable and spacious -- which is a handy thing given all the rain and the fact that Gregg is "under the weather".   He is huddled under a wool blanket AND our Guatemalan quilt as I write -- twist of irony -- he wishes and wishes for cooler locales and when we find one, he's got a cold and is cold.  Hopefully tomorrow we will get a break in the wet, he'll be feeling better, and we'll have a chance to hike around the trails and suspension bridges.  

1 comment:

  1. hey Marlyn!! good to hear from you guys.. its funny Anoushka mentioned alex adn gregorie yesterday. we were gong to meet a friend called Jacquelin and she thougth marlyn and she was askign me "AM I going to meet my friends?" and I did not knwo what she meant so she said.. alex and greg.. and then I realized she is confusing marlyn with jacqueline.. anyways.. I will be in Mexico city week of 15th Feb. :)