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Turning 40 in Pearl Lagoon

3 January 2009 · No Comments

I guess I have to admit it, although I do not want to, that I am now 40 years old. The 40th one is one I think I will remember for quite a while though. After leaving La Fortuna, we traveled north back into Nicaragua to Pearl Lagoon. The travel was quite long as the infrastructure is very limited and included an 8.5 hour bus ride to El Rama, and 2 boat rides (with waiting for the 2nd boat made for another complete day of travel).

The 2nd boat ride was pretty amusing as the boat kept on breaking down. We were the last boat to Pearl Lagoon from Bluefields, so there was not a lot of help to be found either. On the boat was a live chicken and a very funny family. After the fourth or fifth time the boat broken down (along with the sun setting), the family kept eying the chicken and making comments about having dinner. The family (along with all the people in Pearl Lagoon ) speak Creole – a mix of Spanish, English, and a bit of this and that – all spoken with a Jamaican rhythm and tone (sometimes I am able to understand most things spoken, other times absolutely nothing) – which made for a lot of laughs. The 2nd part of the boat trip became a bit choppy which was also a bit unfortunate for one of the family members that had very large boobs that were jiggling uncontrollably. A few jokes and comments made for some more good laughs.

On Tuesday, we walked to the town of Awas (located about 30 minutes away by foot). The people in the town speak Miskito. There are only two villages in which the people speak the language – maybe 100 people total. The town was pretty nice, but we met one pretty annoying person, so we left a bit earlier than planned.

For my birthday, we got on a boat and went the the Pearl Cayes. A very tiny set of islands about an hour from Pearl Lagoon in the Carribean Sea. We spent most of the time on an island that takes about 10-15 minutes to completely walk around. Upon arrival, the guide said ´ Welcome to paradise.´ – it does not get much more true. A lot of time was spent in the sun, swimming, snorkling, eating fresh shrimp, and fishing, all at a very slow and relaxed pace. New Year´s Eve is celebrated much differently there as well with most people going to church and singing Christmas songs with wild enthusiasm. Midnight came and went with all people still singing in the church. However, after church, there was a huge dance for the community that lasted ´until the sun comes .´ Needless to say, I did not attend the dance.

Yesterday was another long long travel day back to Managua. It started out at 3:30 a.m. to catch a 4 a.m. bus back to El Rama. However, the bus driver was out partying (really – as we found out later) celebrating New Years and failed to show up at the bus. After waiting for an hour, we were told that it was not very safe for us to be there alone and that we should wait for the bus at our hostel (and the bus would blow the horn telling us that he was ready to go). Well the bus driver showed up and left without blowing the horn leaving us. Many people were commenting that ´he did not blow his horn .´ In retrospect, I am glad we did not get on the bus with a drunk guy (along with being the only ones on the bus). After realizing our bus was gone and the next bus did not leave for 24 hours, we wandered to the dock to see if a boat was leaving – the response was, ¨Mon, this is a holiday. There ain´t no boats coming today. Sit back and relax.¨ (that is paraphrasing). On the way out, a person said that a boat was coming (just by chance) and that we should hurry and get our luggage. We made the boat and then immediately caught another back to El Rama. Then we took a long and scary 5 hour drive in taxi (costing only $30 (US)) back to Managua. I was not so sure I was going to survive the taxi – a few too many tire squeals going around highway corners and a few times the brakes had to be slammed immediately before slamming into a speed bump – ´I did not see that one coming´. I was very happy and a bit frazzled upon reaching Managua.

We are in Managua for the weekend and are to begin the volunteering on Monday. I have posted a few pictures of this last bit of travel here.

I hope everyone had a safe and good new year celebration!

Tags: holidays · Life · Nicaragua · Travel