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Chocolate Charlie & The Gang

For anyone that thinks that Elisha and I are care free and always ready for adventure I have a story to share with you. It goes like this…

On February 9, 2012 I received an email from a blog follower.  It read as follows:

“My name is Cameron, fellow Canadian. 5 years ago some friends and myself bought a beachfront lot with a beat up house on it (sight unseen).  Up until now nobody has been able to go down there and check it out.  My wife and two young daughters 4 and 6,  plan to drive to Poneloya in mid-March and stay as long as we can.  3 months or so.”

Cameron went on to ask us if we could take a look at the house for him as he only had pictures from when the house was purchased.  His pictures showed a house that was rough around the edges.  What we saw was a few walls, no roof and a lot of garbage. I guess what Cameron didn’t know was how hard the ocean and heat is on homes that close to the sea. We replied to his email explaining that the house was in pretty bad shape, but we didn’t include any pictures.

Fast forward to yesterday…

Elisha and I were visiting our friend Carlos in Poneloya when we decided to go for a stroll down the road. 5 minutes into our walk and we see a guy up the road a bit waving at us and calling my name.  Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time someone we have never met recognized us from pictures on our blog and flagged us down on the beach in Poneloya.

This time it turned out to be none other than our fellow Canuck, Cameron Yee.  We learned that him and his wife Ashlie have been on the road for three weeks, traveling with their two children Lila and ChynaMae in a big diesel van that they have nick-named Chocolate Charlie. They started their journey from their home in Oregon and have traveled through the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to arrive here in Nicaragua with their two daughters.

When Cameron and Ashlie saw the house they were shocked and a little dismayed at the state that it was in.  Their daughter Lila, ever the optimist declared,

“It’s beautiful Mommy!” and then ran toward the beach with her sister in tow.  

It became abundantly clear that Cameron and Ashlie would need to switch to Plan B and find somewhere else to stay.  Normally this would be easy, but since we are in the middle of Semana Santa celebrations every hotel, hostel and rental home is full.  The short term solution is to park inside the gates at Carlos’ place Hostal El Pulpo, run an extension cord to an air conditioner in the van and camp out.

Over the last couple of days we’ve had an opportunity to spend some time with the Yee’s.  As you would expect they are easy going and a lot of fun.  Their girls are super cute and excited to try new things.  

Less than an hour after landing on the beach ChynaMae spotted a huge Brahma cow, not too far from where she was building her sandcastle.  She took off running after it with her Mom, running behind her.  She eventually got close enough that the cow noticed her – stopped and swung it’s head around – and stared her straight in the eye. That was enough to stop her in her tracks. Mae’s selective hearing finally tuned in to her Mom’s calls and she turned back and ran for the water.  This should give you a bit of a glimpse into the girls’ personalities and why they are so much fun to hang out with.

The Yee’s will be connected to the world again soon via a Claro 3G rocket stick.  If you’d like to read more about the adventures of this super cool and fun family check out their Nica Bound.

Personally, we can’t wait to see where their adventure takes them next!

Cinco Aniversario

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Elisha and I were married on Playa Ocotal in Costa Rica on January 8th, which just happens to be five years ago, so it was time to celebrate! We decided to celebrate our anniversary the same way we would in Canada, with a great meal and a nice bottle of wine.

Having lived in Calgary for 10 years we had a list of favourite places we liked to go, many of which were through recommendations from friends.  In Nicaragua it happens to be a bit of a different story. First of all, we have no dining out experience and secondly, we have only one local friend to rely on for recommendations. Although Carlos from Hostel El Pulpo is a wealth of knowledge, romantic dinners out aren’t really his specialty, so onto Trip Advisor I went. Meson Real (a Spanish influenced tapas bar) turned up as the number one rated restaurant in Leon and appeared to be “right up our alley” so the plan was agreed upon – Meson Real it was!

Maybe I have a little Nica blood in me because I didn’t even realize our travel plans were a little odd until Elisha pointed out the fact that this was the first time that we had ever hitch-hiked to a date. Wearing a button up shirt for the first time since being here is what I was noticing, much more so than our mode of transportation. Thankfully a nice Nica/Russian guy with his daughter and grandson picked us up and dropped us off within a few blocks of the restaurant.

This was our first time in Leon at night and it turned out to be just as lively at night as it is during the day. There were many more food stands around and people were making their way to social commitments instead of work. It being Sunday evening all of the churches were in full swing. On one street Elisha and I thought a band was playing live music at a club until we noticed all the lights on. When we peaked in the window it ended up being evangelical church rocking it out.

We made our way to Meson Real and to our surprise it is only one block away from the house we are moving to later this week and unfortunately to our disappointment it was closed. I guess our next purchase should be a cell phone so that we can avoid this in the future. Who knows, maybe we’ll even get a car after that? But lets not get too far ahead of ourselves. With no way to check for the next best ranked restaurant on Trip Advisor we chose a place that is right beside our future home. After taking a quick look at the menu we decided that Mediterraneo-Terraza would be just fine.

Once seated I immediately flipped to the wine list to see what kind of night we were going to have. If you’ve been to Nicaragua you will know that 90% of the wines here come from Chile or Argentina. I have found that these wines range in category from very drinkable to gasoline. Nicas don’t have a big wine culture, so it seems like they will import whatever is the best price which makes the gasoline easiest to find. To my delight there was a nice Italian Valpolicella on the menu for $417 cordobas ($18.29 USD). That made the next decision to order up a couple of steaks more than natural.

We enjoyed a great dinner with two appies, two steaks with all the fixings, a very nice bottle of wine and dessert for a whopping $1069 cordobas ($46.89 USD). This by far has been our most expensive dinner in Nica.  No complaints here though – the food, the wine and more importantly the company were excellent.

After dinner we walked hand in hand around some of parks and huge Catholic churches. Due to the fact that it was Sunday night we were unable to find any live music. We did, however find out that Barbaro doesn’t slow down on a Sunday though. This pub we’d previously visited was full and “just a rocking'” to a DJ playing crazy Spanish music videos.

We stayed for one drink and then hopped in a cab and headed back to our quiet little town of Poneloya. On the way home we decided to have a date night like this monthly. Maybe we can go to Meson Real next.

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