Monday, May 27, 2013


It has been a few weeks since I have updated this blog.  I wish I could blame it on poor Internet access, or absolute busyness even abducion by island pirates.  Although some of those things have played a small part in my radio silence, for the most part it has been because it has felt so good to stay away from connection to the Internet for a short while.  I know that the Internet and Internet devices will always play a big part in all of our lives, (unless, of course, the impending zombie apocalypse does come sooner that expected) it just feels good to remove yourself from those things every once in a blue moon.

I have come a long way.  After Montezuma I spent the night in a shabbly motel in Rivas.  Everything about it was haphazard and dingy but I did get to watch The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in Spanish. Following Rivas were many community busses all the way up into Nicaragua.  I probably wouldn't have made it had I not met a girl from Argentina that was traveling the same way.  More and more I realize how beneficial it would have been to learn much more Spanish before coming to Central America because I had to lean heavily on my newly found Spanish speaking friend.  Valentine and I both made it across the border and soon found ourselves on a ferry to Isla de Ometepe.  Now the funny thing about the word ferry is, is that when people hear the word "ferry" it brings to mind many different images.  The last image I would have ever imagined was the one that would have accurately represented the vessel that we traveled on.  This sucker was a beauty.  Complete with an engine and a bottom this boat had just about everything anyone would need including: vintage school bus seats nailed to the floor, open sides to let water in and out with ease and many seasick patrons.  It would have been absolutely horrible if I didn't have someone to share it with.  Once we were happily off the S.S. Windy Barf Ometepe awaited us.  

Ometepe is A beautiful place.  It it an island in the middle of Nicaragua's gigantic fresh water lake 
that was formed by the growth of two volcanoes right next to each other.  Most people come to Ometepe to hike to the top of the volcanoes but unfortunately I was unable to do so.  I spent a couple of days hanging out with Valentine and her friend Ayelen driving around the island on motorcycles 
hopping in and out of natural fresh water pools and just taking in the comfortable slow pace of the island. By then end of my stay I didn't want to leave... But I did.  Leaving Ometepe was tough but just like everything else here, it was only meant to be enjoyed for a time.  When that time is up all you can do is leave and keep pieces of that place secure in your mind to be enjoyed as a memory for the rest of your life.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Playa Muerta

     Learning to dive has been an amazing experience.  In five days I have gone from knowing absolutely nothing to being comfortable sixty seven feet under the water.  It is fantastic.  Really there is not much to it.  As long as there is controll in the mind and trust in the instructor there are very few problems that can occour.  Both my instructors Michele (a positive and spirited Italian) and David (a very controlled and down to earth man from Argentina) gave me no reason to worry or be unsure of the success of my dives.  My first open water dive was at Playa Muerta.  (Death Beach)  Although the name automatically instills fear there is no reason to be afraid of this place.  Right away, under the water, there was a turtle waiting for us at the bottom.  It was just sitting in between two rocks as if it was taking a break and let my instructor come up right next to it and grab it by the sides.  After a couple seconds it realized it had had enough and diplayed its power under the water by speeding of at a speed that seemed impossible for a turtle.  The rest of the dives went swimmingly without problems and I am now certified to dive anywhere in the entire, whole wide world.

     The days began to grow more and more lonely.  I have been staying at my inxtructor`s casita which is about thirty minutes walk from downtown Montezuma.  (I use the word ¨"downtown" but in a place of no more that 250 people the term downtown is a very loose one.)  I haven´t stayed at a hostel or anyplace which is conducive to meeting new people and being thirty minutes away doesn´t sound to bad but when it requires walking up a giant hill it lessens the chance making the trip too often.  It wasn´t until I the second to last day of training did I finally connect with some people.  I was spending my free time that day surfing at Playa Grande and getting totally punished by the ocean.  Previously, two middle easternish looking guys had passed me and starting doing something a small distance away in the protected jungle that comes up right next to the beach.  I was watching a little while and started to notice some things that they were pulling out of their bag.  They had what looked like a sort of webbing you use for climbing and what I thought to be some silver carabineers and were stretching it out a little.  I thought to myself, "there is no way that these guys are setting up a slackline."  Sure enough, these guys were setting up a slackline.

*Slackline: It is basically strong webbing or straps that you string up between two trees or posts or anything solid.  By making it really tight it allows you to walk across.  Like a tight rope.  Some people consider "slacklining" a friviouls or "hippyish" type thing to do.  Those people... are dumb.

     I couldn´t believe my eyes.  Two Israeli dudes were setting up a slackline for their first time within eyesight.  You better believe that I slowly tip-toed over there and asked if I could join.  I was able to help them out a little bit and then, because of the power of the line, we became friends.  It did become magical at the moment when we were on the slackline and all of a sudden a heard (flock?group?gang?) of monkeys were traveling over our heads.  I finally met some people.  They invited me to the hostel where they were staying at (Luna Llena) and lo´ and behold there were more people!  Some French another Israeli and a girl from San Francisco.  It was fun.  We all talked and drank and were able to share some culture and poke fun at each others stereotypes.  This was a good last night in Costa Rica.

       My istructors gave me my diving lisence and I left Montezuma.  From Montezuma to Punterenas I ran into a couple from Finland and Sweeden.  I realize that the more I travel here the more people I am going to meet.  My only regret is that our meetings are so short.  We share a quick moment, some distance together and then we part ways.  Perhaps we will meet again someday... hopefully.

    Well this is it.  It seems that my time in Costa Rica is over.  Now it is time to head to Nicaragua.  To Isla de Ometepe.

(Please forgive any spelling errors for I am writing this on a computer in Central America and these computers recognise only Spanish.  They can´t tell that I am a terrible speller in English.  Also for pictures refer to my instagram. beautrembly)

Saturday, May 4, 2013


     Montezuma.  A beautiful place where the days begin and end at six.  Cascading waves are greeted by beaches with thick, vine covered trees.  Parakeets and seagulls share the forest with squirrels, howler monkeys and lizards and at night armies of sand crabs march from the ocean to their cliff side dwellings.  The sights are as foreign as any California boy could hope for but when it comes down to, it the first sensation is one of tremendous heat.  Man this place is hot!

     My first few days in Costa Rica were spent traveling.  I left LAX on a plan to San Salvador, El Salvador.  This airport seems more like a giant Duty Free with some space for planes to move in and out of.  After about an hour layover at San Duty Free I was on my way to San Jose, Costa Rica.  I arrived just in time to find my bag, catch a Taxi downtown and find a hotel before it became dark.  After a one night stay at the El Dorado hotel, I spent the next morning looking for the bus station.  I'm sure I had the same clueless look on my face that every gringo has when hopelessly wondering the streets of downtown San Jose because I was quickly approached by a small local named Oscar.  Oscar quickly informed me that I as on the wrong side of town and we began to briskly walk together in the opposite direction to where my desired bus was.  The walk was long enough for us to learn a little bit about each other.  It was good to begin to hear some stories about a real person living in Costa Rica.  Our walk ended I tipped my new found companion and I hopped on the bus to Puntarenas.

     It must just work this way, but on the Punteranas bus I ended up sitting next to a fellow traveler.  She is a French Canadian named Annik.  As it turned out we were both headed toward Montezuma so we ended up taking this bus the next ferry and the following bus together.  It was a pleasant thing, having someone to travel with.  I'm not sure how many days in the future I will spend alone, but the days in which I spend traveling with another person seem to feel a little bit better.   Together we made the journey alive.  Even after the bus ride from the ferry to Montezuma.  Which was over two hours.... standing room only.  It was made a little more bearable because someone turned up their MP3 player and blasted the slow jams for everyone to hear.  I never knew I would appreciate George Michael's "Wicked Games" so much.

     At Montezuma I changed paths with my fellow traveler and found myself staying at a small dorm style hostel called "Hotel Lucy."  Hotel Lucy was beautiful little place where I made camp for two nights as I surveyed the town and looked for my diving instructors.  The first night was fine.  I found some food and went to bed, tired from the all the travel.  The next day felt fine too.  I took the down time to explore up and down the coast.  I rented a surf board and surfed a little a Playa Grande, a large white sand beach with a fairly easy beach break.  But after dinner as I was walking back to Hotel Lucy the great emperor Montezuma came to greet me.  Now I know that Emperor Montezuma was an emperor of Mexico in the 1500's and probably would care little about the comings and goings of one person in Montezuma more than 600 years later; but he surely cared about me that night.   I couldn't sleep and ended up making the sickness all over the beach late into the small hours of the night.  It was awful actually.  Even if my body was done being sick I couldn't sleep because of the heat and humidity.  It felt like that somehow this was my initiation.  I suffered for one night and now Central America will allow me to stay.  Hopefully She doesn't ask too much more of me as I begin to learn to dive and explore this magical place.