The place we now call home – San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – just so happens to be one of the most popular places for Nicaraguan youth to party during Semana Santa.
Rooms (with only cushions on the floor for sleeping) rent for up to $75 USD a night. Vendors line the streets. There is no shortage of cheap beer, rum, knock off sunglasses or inflatable toys.
One of the local restaurants has set up a temporary Tip Top chicken franchise. Morning, noon and night we see Nicaraguan men passed out on the sidewalks and streets.
Girls in booty shorts and bikini tops represent Heineken, Victoria Frost, Flor de Cana, Tona, Claro and Movistar.
As we sit in the Heineken tent and sip 30 cord ($1.21 USD) green frosties a group of special forces police – clad in black -march together in a troop of six. Rifles are strapped to their backs and they carry hand guns in holsters on their hips.
Convoys of Nicaraguan families have set up camp on the beach. The bay has become a place to bathe and use the toilet. Avenida del Mar reeks of urine. Beach parties rage on until the wee hours of the morning. The techno beats can be heard all way to our house, which is more than three blocks away.
This is San Juan del Sur during Semana Santa!
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!