Monthly Archives: July 2012

Road Tripping to Salinas Grande

Help Us Name our New Feathered Friend


Apparently 3 dogs, 2 cats and 1 goat wasn’t enough for us to take care of.  We are now caring for a jeuvenile white fronted amazon parrot.

Gord found our little feathered friend on the pathway that leads to the lake. He was very weak with a large crack in his beak. We kept him in a cage for the first few days, but now he is living in the garden in the main living area of the house.  He seems to have his flight feathers clipped, so it looks like he won’t be flying anywhere until his next molt – which could be as far as six months away.

We were hesitant to name him at first for fear that he wouldn’t survive, but now that he’s eating and becoming stronger each day we’d like to be able to refer to him as something other than “the bird”.  

We’ve narrowed down our choices and would love your help with choosing his name.  Please take our poll and vote for your favorite name.  Act quick – the poll closes in 24 hours! 

Life in the Laguna: Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua

For the past 35 days Apoyo Lodge & Camp in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve has been the place Gord and I have called home. To view some photos of Apoyo Lodge and area click here.

Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve consists of a volcanic crater lake and tropical forest that houses an unfathomable number of flora, fauna, bird, butterfly and animal species.

– Bright & beautiful flowers line the road of the reserve

– Monkey sitings are a common occurrence, but capturing a good photo of one is not

In the lake there are six species of fish that are only found here in the waters of the laguna. To catch a glimpse of what they look like check out our video below.

We moved to Laguan de Apoyo because our friend Shamus needed someone to take care of his place (and his pets) while he spent a month in Canada.  Life here has been very different from life in Granada.  For starters we are responsible for 3 dogs, 2 cats and 1 goat.

– Gord, 2 of 3 dogs and the goat

Since all of our food is purchased in Granada meal planning has to happen in advance, instead of one or two hours before we want to eat. When we lived in city we walked everywhere, but with the lodge sitting on the waters edge at the end of a road – that could be described as a trail – we need to drive everywhere. 

Prior to our move we thought we’d be bored in the laguna and to be honest we were a bit apprehensive about living in seclusion. To our pleasant surprise living at Apoyo Lodge has been much, much better than we could have imagined. 

Our kitchen, living room and dining room are open to the outside. We love going to sleep at night with all the doors and windows in our suite open.  Waking up to a view of the laguna and the calls of howler monkeys in the distance has been as great as it sounds. We’ve both enjoyed swimming in the lake and hanging out in the rancho.

We’ve also enjoyed the wide open spaces, especially when it comes to the kitchen. Experimenting with the wood oven has been great fun. Providing rides to local families and school children on our way out of the park has helped us feel, in some small way, part of the community.

– The oven can reach temperatures upwards of 700 degrees

– Our first attempt at pizza & it couldn’t have tasted better

“Living in the Laguna has been a memorable experience that has taught us a lot.”  

We’ve learned how to de-skunk a dog, what to do when a goat cracks its horn, who to call when the power goes down, how to safely remove ticks and how to care for a young parrot. We’ve also learned to live with many different and interesting critters of the Nicaraguan jungle.

– Green Parrot Snake

– The biggest toad I’ve ever seen

Gord has learned where all the major bumps and obstacles are on the road and I’ve learned that I need to start using my macro lens more often.

– Papaya flower shot with my Pentax K7

When we visited Apoyo Lodge for the first time 5 months ago we never imagined we’d be taking care of the place one day. We are so glad that we were able to help our friends out and so very grateful for this time we’ve had experiencing life in the laguna.

To view more photos that capture Life in the Laguna click here.  

In Nica Now Meets Life Out of the Box

As we turned the corner and approached the big yellow church in Granada we spotted them right away.  

Our first impression was,

“Wow! She’s tall”.

Elisha waved and smiled as I looked for a shady spot to park the Galloper.  We hopped out of the truck and walked over to meet Jon and Quinn, aka “Life Out of the Box”.  We shook hands and introduced ourselves and headed towards the Calzada.

Elisha and I have a list of expat blogs that we currently follow.  One of our favorites is Life Out of the Box.  Life Out of the Box blog was created by a couple from California that moved to Nicaragua three months ago.   They are both 25.  Their names? Jonathan Button and Quinn Elise. 

JB & Quinn currently live in San Juan del Sur and are experiencing many of the same things we did when we arrived in Nica 8 months ago.  They have a great outlook on life and the country that they have chosen to call home. They are immersing themselves into the local culture and cuisine to a greater extent than we have – which is great to see!

Our epic meeting that took place a little over a week ago, came about after we read an article Jon had written and published on their blog. It was titled  Shopping in Rivas, Nicaragua and partly centered around the challenges him and Quinn were having in their search to find locally made products.

It just so happens that Elisha and I are currently living in Laguna de Apoyo – just below the Pueblos Blancos – the place where most of the country’s handicrafts are made.  It only seemed right that we invite them for a visit.  After all, we did have 5 extra bedrooms.

Their response to our invitation was,

“How about tomorrow?”

Mercado Artesanias in Masaya, Nicaragua

It’s quite surreal meeting someone who already knows you and it’s pretty awesome meeting someone you already know well.  There are no surprises when it comes to who they are as people and there’s no pretending to be someone you’re not. Although Quinn and Jon are younger than us we’ve discovered we have very similar core values, goals and outlooks on life. Their blog is an excellent representation of who they are.  Keeping it real is what they do.

We’ve drank a few beers and enjoyed some meals together and shared a lot of laughs. We’ve also shared stories covering some pretty deep topics, including our personal definitions of happiness, which for the time being for Elisha and Quinn seems to be Season 8 of The Bachelorette.

Nice work on the breakfast pizza, Jon. A great looking pie, indeed!

Elisha used the words “friendship on fast forward” to describe this experience. Typically when meeting someone new you know very little about them. In the beginning you tend to see them sporadically.  What’s cool about our friendship with Jon and Quinn is we understood who they were before we met.  And once we did meet we spent a few days living (and working) together.

Hard at work on blogs (while enjoying bevvies)!

Who’s got two feet and a heartbeat? Jon does!

We already know and understand this couple the way you would with friends that you’ve had for years and to be honest with the amount of deep questions Jon posed over the last couple of days we actually feel like we now know ourselves a little better.

It feels good to have close friends in Nicaragua – the place we now call home.

Our Nicaraguan besties

El Macua: The National Drink of Nicaragua

El Macua – the national drink of Nicaragua

Everyone knows that Mexico has the Margarita and Cuba has the Mojito, but did you know that Nicaragua also has a signature drink?

It’s called the Macua.  It was created by a pediatrician from Granada and is named after a tropical bird native to Nicaragua.

Gord and I discovered this thirst quenching cocktail a couple of months ago when we moved to Granada.  It is a strong, fruity drink that is somewhat sweet and a bit tart. It is a beverage that we both quite enjoy – especially on Mojito Fridays!

Are you looking for a refreshing cocktail that will cool you in the summer heat?  You must try the Macua!

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 oz Flor de Cana
1 oz guava juice
1 oz orange juice
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/3 oz simple syrup
ice 

DIRECTIONS:
Fill 3/4 of a cocktail shaker with ice and add rum, guava juice, orange juice, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake well for 30 seconds, serve in highball glass and decorate with an orange slice.

NOTES:
4-year Flor de Cana rum with natural fruit juices are recommended for optimal flavor and taste.

12 Things I Love About Living in Nicaragua

In no particular order…

1.  A 1 hour pedicure costs less than $5Now that’s good value!

2.  The People – Gord and I are constantly meeting (and making friends with) new and interesting people from Nicaragua and other parts of the world.  

3.  Eskimo Ice Cream – At C$12 ($0.52) per scoop Eskimo ice cream always makes for an inexpensive sweet treat.  My favorite flavors include coffee, pistachio and caramelo.  Mmm!

4.  Time Doesn’t Matter – I rarely know what time of the day it is or what day of the week it is and I’m totally okay with that!

5. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice – Although it takes a bit of effort to make, having fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning is such a treat.

6.  Retirement at 37 – Yes, it’s true. I’m 37 years old and I’m retired.  Unless the cost of living increases drastically here in Nica (or I move back to Canada) I don’t have to work…ever…again!

7.  Mojito Fridays – Gathering with the Granada expat community for Mojitos (and Macuas) every Friday night on the Calzada is always a good time.

8.  Cold Tona – There’s nothing like a cold Tona (or two) to quench your thirst on a super hot day.  Did you know that it’s pretty much super hot (and sunny) here every day?

9.  Alarm clocks are a thing of the past – I absolutely love not having to wake up to an alarm clock every day.  I’m also happy “snooze button” is no longer part of my vocabulary.

10.  Rain Storms – They often come on fast and fierce, but only last a short time. I love the smell of the rain and the cooler temperatures storms bring.

11.  Not knowing what tomorrow will bring – Every day, every week, every month comes with the possibility of a new adventure.

12.  Hammock Chairs – Whenever I’m lucky enough to find one, a hammock chair is a great place to curl up and read a book, watch the sunset or just relax while enjoying a cold Tona.

Signed,
Elisha in Nica

Are you too a fan of Nicaragua? We’d love to know what’s on your list of loves!  Leave a reply in the comments section below.

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