Blog Archives

Photo Journalism Friday: The Christ of the Mercy

Photo Journalism Friday: Christ of the Mercy

The Christ of the Mercy statue was erected in 2009 and and has quickly become an ionic landmark and geographical reference point for the town of San Juan del Sur. At 24 meters it is the largest statue of Christ in Central America and one of the 10 largest Jesus statues in the world. El Cristo de la Misericordia was the dream of a local businessman, Erwin Gonzalez, who made his fortune from tourism. 

We’ve Got 2 More “Red Hot” Real Estate Deals for You!

We’ve got 2 more red hot real estate deals to share with you. 

 SMALL SCALE TURN KEY RESTAURANT in SAN JUAN DEL SUR
COLONIAL HOME WITH SWIMMING POOL in GRANADA

View these ads (and more value priced properties) on our Hot Deals: Real Estate page!

International Living Article #4

Click anywhere on the image or text below to read my most recent International Living article.

I Couldn't Even ask for a Cerveza

Photo Journalism Friday: The Sound of Nicaragua

Photo Journalism Friday:  The Sound of Nicaragua

Animal-shaped ocarinas (flutes) can be found all over Nicaragua. These little whistles are colorful, detailed and sweet sounding – they also tend to be quite successful in catching tourist’s attention.

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.

What I Ate Today: Ceviche de Camarones

What I Ate Today: Ceviche de Camarones

Ceviche (“seh-BEE-chay”)

The first time I was introduced to ceviche was almost eight years ago in a restaurant in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica.  

“Gord, you can’t eat that! It’s raw fish. You’re going to get sick.”

I was so wrong!

This hugely popular Central American dish is made from fresh raw fish marinated in lime juice, and spiced with chili peppers. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions and salt are also added. 

Is ceviche cooked?

A dish in which raw fish is marinated in citrus juice, isn’t cooked. But it’s not exactly raw, either.  Both heat and citric acid are agents of a chemical process called denaturation. In this process, the heat or citric acid changes the proteins in the fish, unraveling the molecules and altering their chemical and physical properties. When fish is bathed in citrus juices, this process of denaturation turns the flesh firm and opaque, as if it had been cooked with heat.

Ceviche spooned onto crackers with a dash of chile now happens to be one of my favorite appetizers.  It’s a nice light tasty snack that is great for sharing.

If you enjoy fish (cooked or raw) and have yet to sample ceviche I high recommend you give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Author’s Note:  The dish shown in the photo is a shrimp ceviche that I enjoyed poolside at Rocamar restaurant in San Juan del Sur. Cost was C$110 ($4.40 USD).

Mercado Monday: Passion Fruit (Calala or Maracuya)

Buying Guide:
Select calala that feels heavy for its size.  If the skin on the fruit appears glossy yellow or green it is not ready to be eaten. Wait until the skin gets blotchy and starts to shrivel and wrinkle, like an old man’s skin. Even then the inside of the calala may still be yellow and quite sour.  When calala looks almost spoiled on the outside the fruit on the inside will be vibrant orange in color and little bit sweet.

Flavor:  The juice and pulp of calala is slightly sweet and very tart with a unique burst of citrus flavor. The seeds are surrounded by the pulp of the fruit and are meant to be eaten. They add a nice crunch and provide an incredible amount of fibre.

How to Eat It:
Calala is the one fruit where you eat the seeds and discard the skin.  It is often used in juices and smoothies. When added to something very sweet like a banana and pineapple smoothie the calala’s acidity cuts through the sweetness an adds an incredible punch of citrus flavor. My personal favorite way to eat calala is to scoop the seeds and pulp into a bowl, add some natural yogurt, a banana and a handful of roasted cacao beans. The creamy, sweet, sour, bitter, crunchy combination of flavors and texture is amazing.

Harvesting Season:
Passion fruit can be found year round, but high season for this fruit is October through February.

Nutrition:
Like many fruits calala is high in Vitamin A, C and antioxidants. It is also incredibly high in fibre. Passion fruit offers a good dose of B vitamins, potassium and loads of minerals like iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorus.

Interesting Facts:
The ugly appearance of the skin combined with the weird seedy goopy interior makes the calala one of the ugliest – but most delicious fruits – I eat. Having a calala is part of my daily ritual.

Photo Journalism Friday: Roosters on Her Head

Photo Journalism Friday: Roosters on Her Head

As Gord and I sipped our fresh fruit smoothies watching passerby on the beach this lady and her grandson approached us. Roosters made from seashells don’t fall under our preferred style of home decor so we offered to buy her and the boy a juice. I often wonder how many of these pieces they sell in a day? A week? How long does it take to make one and how much do they cost? Instead of immediately saying, “No gracias”, I should have taken some time to have a conversation with her and ask a few questions. Next time!

Just Another Day in Nicaragua: Playa Hermosa & Pasta

It’s Wednesday. Hump Day. For me, here in Nicaragua – it’s beach day.  

With a cold Tona in hand I make my way across the hard packed sand towards the ocean. The sky is brilliant blue in color and scattered with a few big white fluffy clouds. On the horizon I can see the Costa Rican coast line.

Just Another Day in Nicaragua: Playa Hermosa & Pasta

– North end of Hermosa Beach

My husband, Gordon and our Miniature Schnauzer Maggie are already engaged in a game of fetch. Maggie jumps over the crashing waves in search of her bright orange ball. 

To my right four local guys are enjoying a game of their version of Nicaraguan street baseball. Back in the palapa our friend Paul watches over our stuff while waxing his surf board.

I wade into the warm Pacific waters that are just barely cool enough to be refreshing. I inhale the clean salt air. The heat of the afternoon sun on my skin feels good.

“Ahhh,  it’s been too long since we’ve been to the beach, ” I say to Gordon.  “And way too long since we’ve been to Playa Hermosa.” 

After a quick rinse in the fresh water shower I make my way to a lounger to get comfortable with my book and work on my tan. Our friend Clint’s timing couldn’t have been better as he makes his way back from the beach bar with a round of cold refreshing Tonas.

As the sun starts to go down in a blazing orange ball we decide it’s time to pack up and take our short ride home.  A shower, a change of clothes and dinner on San Juan bay seemed like a great way to end an already perfect day.

Just Another Day in Nicaragua: Playa Hermosa & Pasta

This Wednesday couldn’t have been more different than a Wednesday in my former life in Canada. Gone are the days of sitting at a desk in front of a computer for eight hours. Flips flops instead of heels? Much better!

As we finished our pasta dinners at an authentic Italian restaurant on the beach I felt a sense of calm. I was relaxed and satisfied. Tired, but not stressed.

I didn’t have to rush home to iron clothes for work the next day. I didn’t have to think about not wanting to wake up to the alarm clock in the morning. 

I get to spend the next day and the next day and the next day…doing whatever I want to do…and for that…I’m grateful.

%d bloggers like this: