Category Archives: People & Culture

El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

Vehicles are parked on both sides of the street as far as I can see. I find a clearing and pull off onto the side of the road to park the truck.

Two young girls walk past hand in hand with their grandma. Each carries a bouquet of bright red flowers. 

As I approach the cemetery I hear music in the distance. Suddenly I’m covered head to toe in goosebumps.

It’s November 1st and hundreds of people are gathered in the cemetery to celebrate El Dia de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead).

Families have spent the last couple of days cleaning up and decorating the grave sites of their loved ones. They have come together today to honor and celebrate the lives of friends and family members that have passed.

Aside from the tombstones the scene before me mirrors that of a busy park on a sunny Sunday – anywhere in North America. 

Refreshments of all kinds including ice cream, cotton candy and snow cones are available for purchase. Typical Nicaraguan dishes such as vigaron and barbecued chicken are also available. Some families have come prepared toting their own picnic.

Children are playing quietly. Long time neighbors and family friends are enjoying the day together. They share stories of their lost loved ones. Some tales invoke a tear, but most bring laughter, or at least a smile.

A lone chicken crosses my path and a couple of children run by.

I look around taking in this celebration with awe and amazement and I think to myself, “Why don’t we do this in Canada?”

Celebrating Halloween in Nicaragua

Two hundred and forty costume clad kids and their parents celebrated Halloween in San Juan del Sur this year.

Ballerinas, belly dancers, ghosts, goblins, witches and pirates made their way around town collecting candy from local businesses. 

Final destination for these trick or treaters was Crazy Crab Disco. Those who dared – navigated through a haunted house – where our friend Katie played the role of a creepy witch while Gordon acted as Dracula.

The festivities came to a close with cold beverages of choice for the parents and a huge piñata for the kids.

Kudos to Comunidad ConnectSan Juan del Sur Day school and local participating businesses for making this Halloween celebration possible.

Author’s Note: Halloween is not a traditional Nicaraguan holiday. That being said; dressing up in costumes, marching the streets, celebrating children and sharing an abundance of candy resembles many traditional Nicaraguan holidays. It’s not surprising the San Juanistas have embraced Halloween with open arms.

Mad Hatter Tattoo in Nicaragua

A journey that started more than a year ago has finally come to and end.

When I first talked to my friend and tattoo artist Salomon about getting this tattoo he gave me some grim news. The tattoo would essentially need to be done twice.  Since the design was incredibly detailed and contained so many colors Salomon would need to complete the entire piece in black and grey and then add the color on top once it was healed.

Thirteen months, six sittings and something like sixteen hours of “fun” we finally have a finished product.

To learn more about my journey and why I decided to get this little work of art read Friends – like tattoos – can last a lifetime

To view larger sized images click on any one of the photos below.

Salomon calls Lucerne, Switzerland home but thankfully for me he comes to Nicaragua three months per year to surf.

In Lucerne Salomon is booked solid with appointments and works long days. His trips to Nicaragua are his way of getting some rest and relaxation. He surfs as often as he can and only takes enough tattoo appointments to cover his travel expenses.

His specialty is Japanese art but he will take on interesting and challenging pieces like my latest design. So if you are coming to Nicaragua and want a tattoo from a serious artist at a fraction of what he charges in Switzerland contact him HERE.

Photo Journalism Friday: Angelina

Photo Journalism Friday:  Angelina

– Angelina: The Girl Next Door

Angelina is a sweet and precosious little girl. She is two and a half years old and lives next door.  She absolutely loves our Miniature Schnauzer Maggie and is always dressed in the cutest of outfits. 

Angelina visits often and is fascinated with turning the lights on and off, opening and closing the doors and flushing the toilet. She’s also learned how to open the garbage can by pressing the lever.  

She’s never afraid to help herself to a yogurt in the fridge or ask for a banana. I love how she calls Gord muchacho (boy) and me muchacha (girl).

She rarely listens to her mother when called and sometimes cries when it’s time to go home. Her Mom calls her An-GEE sometimes we do too!

JOYITA: Helping people get the rest they need, wherever they may be!

One US dollar is currently equal to 24.3 cordobas. One bottle of Joyita costs 16 cordobas.

Joyita is a sugar cane based alcohol. This stuff is not for the board short, flip flop wearing weekend warrior you typically see in San Juan del Sur. Rather, it’s for those who drink like it’s their job, working towards a promotion.

Joyita

– YOU might wanna do the math…because the guy in this photograph (that was taken at 8:41 in the morning) is in no shape to do it for you!

We’ve all seen this famous slogan for beer. 

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Well…we’re thinking the slogan for Joyita could be:

“Helping people get the rest they need, wherever they may be!”

Semana Santa 2013

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Happy Friday y’all

BPP Preschool Toy Drive a Huge Success!

A couple of weeks before Christmas I reached out to friends, family and In Nica Now fans and followers for some help.  I asked people to purchase gifts for the Barrio Planta Project Preschool. (To view my original post click here.)

Donations immediately started pouring in.

I was – and still am – blown away.

Thirty people donated a total of $912.

Yes, that’s right, $912!  

We also received gift donations from an additional nine people.

BPP Preschool Program Toy Drive a Huge Success!

– Coloring books, crayons, princess dresses, play-doh, sidewalk chalk, scissors and glue. You name it BPP Preschool now has it!

With the money collected and gifts received we not only have enough coloring books, crayons, toys, games, puzzles and arts & craft supplies to sustain the preschool program for a year, we were also able to allocate $200 for supplies for some of the other programs at BPP.

Preschool classes were not in session when my sister, my Dad and I delivered everything to the school, but fortunately there were a few older students around who snuck out of class to help us unpack everything and share in our excitement. 

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– I’m not sure who was more excited the kids or us!

The children had huge smiles on their faces as we unpacked two large suitcases.

BPP Preschool Program Toy Drive a Huge Success!

– My Dad really enjoyed helping out with the delivery and organization of the toys and supplies.

They were wide eyed with excitement as they tried to make a decision on what to play with first. I kept hearing the words “Wow!” and “Mira! Mira!” [“Look! Look!”].

We colored for a bit, tried on a few of the costumes and we even had time for a tea party.

BPP Preschool Program Toy Drive a Huge Success!

– We now have coloring books for everyone!

BPP Preschool Program Toy Drive a Huge Success!

– And we even have dress up costumes for the boys!

BPP Preschool Program Toy Drive a Huge Success!

The  girls really enjoyed the dolls and boys loved the plastic animals and dinky cars.

Barrio Planta Project Toy Drive a Huge Success!

– Huge thanks to my sister Sally for shopping for me and transporting the “goods” from Calgary, Alberta here to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. I couldn’t have done this without you!

BPP Preschool Program Toy Drive a Huge Success!

– My sister Sally and I enjoyed the Tea Party!

BPP Preschool Program Toy Drive a Huge Success!

Thanks to the generosity of donors from Canada, the United States and Nicaragua Barrio Planta Project Preschool program can now operate like a typical North American preschool.

I look forward to visiting the preschool kids next week once classes resume on the 19th. And I can’t wait to play a game of Snakes & Ladders!

BPP Preschool Program Toy Drive a Huge Success!

– From the bottom my heart THANK YOU!  Thank you SOOOOOOOO MUCH!

To learn more about Barrio Planta Project and how you can help make a difference in the life of a child in Nicaragua check out the official Barrio Planta Project website by clicking here.

Photo Journalism Friday: A Nicaraguan “Coyote”

Changing dollars on the street with an independent money exchanger – also known as a “coyote” – is common place in Nicaragua. 

Coyotes can be found at markets, on plazas or close to regular banks. They flash large bricks of cash and typically offer rates comparable to what you can get at the bank.  

Independent money exchangers are generally honest, but it’s important to know the exchange rate and roughly how much money to expect back in the transaction. To avoid being short changed always count your money.

Photo Journalism Friday:  A Nicaraguan "Coyote" or Independent Money Exchanger

– Exchanging money on the street will save you from waiting in long line-ups at the bank

Photo Journalism Friday: Tick tock…this guy can fix your watch!

Photo Journalism Friday

Photo Journalism Friday: Bottled Water Delivery Boy

Photo Journalism Friday

Photo Journalism Friday: Made in Nicaragua

Photo Journalism Friday

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