at the beach in Nicaragua

Published: August 16th 2008
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Well its been a few days since we last blogged and I am sure everyone is wondering if we have dropped off the face of Nicaragua or are we just being lazy. Hmm well lets see, its really hot and we are enjoying the time with the kids at the pool so if you all guessed lazy then you would be right! Martin has also finally convinced me to write my first blog so hopefully you will find it as entertaining as his are. Here goes....

Where did we leave off? Yes, the travel day from San Salvador to Leon, Nicaragua. It took 10 hours of travelling, us passing the El Salvadoran/Honduran border without stopping only for the driver to realise we had to turn around to officially cross! then getting stuck in traffic at the border trying to get back in to El Salvador so we could leave properly, the driver of the transfer having a fender bender at the El Salvadoran/Honduran border with I dont know what but I dont think it was a car! a stop for lunch at Pizza Hut for the kids in Honduras, then a stop with the Nicaraguan authorities at a secondary border check only 2 minutes after the official crossing where they decided our driver didnt have his lease papers for his minibus. Really all they wanted was a bit of cash but they were threatening to have us have to take a cab to Leon and make the driver turn back. Ah the pleasures of borders. Then we get to Leon and our driver is now a bit rattled as he cant find the hotel and he wants to drive back another 10 hours so is antsy to get rid of us and decides to sheer of the top of a metal pylon stopping traffic in the centre of town. Dont ask but suffice to say no other vehicles were involved and he lost part of his bumper. I dont think he was a happy camper at this point. It took a few more minutes but we did find our hotel. And yes, it was worth it, well at least for us!

Everyone in El Salvador told us over and over that El Salvador had the best roads but I thought this was just boasts until we arrived at the Nicaraguan border. I dont know what happened but literally a few minutes from the border you are travelling on gravel roads with numerous pot holes. Once in a while the road turns in to pavement. Martin told me that the Tica Buses (our equivalent would be grayhound) dont travel to Leon anymore because the road is so bad, they will only go to Managua. As we are driving he tells me there goes a Tica bus. I said, hey I thought you said they dont travel this road and he said this aint the bad road yet!! and well it did get worse. Its pretty clear the government aint spending money on the roads. The pleasures of road travel.

What can I say about Leon, um nothing worth repeating. I can only say that I am glad we only had two nights there or I would have gone mad. We arrived just before dinner so we thought we would wander around a bit and find somewhere to eat. This proved rather difficult as everything seemed to be closed and it was only just past 6pm! It was like a ghost town! We were wondering where all the tourists were. We never did find them so we went back to our beautiful hotel for dinner. Needless to say I think both of us were happy to leave and a bit disappointed by Leon as we both expected more. You cant like everywhere.

Now we are were the kids are absolutely at their most happiest. At a beach resort enjoying the pool and making friends. Its an all inclusive and the grounds are wonderful, the pool is huge and the cabinas are great but as always the food sucks. Three star all inclusives are not the way to go but the kids love being able to order what they want so we do it for them. Luca figured out that the had popcorn at the pool bar so he spends his days back and forth getting popcorn by himself. He can barely reach the bar but somehow he gets his point across and comes back with his cup of popcorn. He has made lots of friends in the kids pool and usually tells us to get out so he can play with his friends. The Luca today is a far cry from the Luca who wont put his head under water for his swimming instructor. I think he just might pass his course the next time around. You should see the dives he takes off the side of the pool to reach his dad! Its crazy and he is getting his face wet all the time. You would all be so proud. Of course the pool is the perfect temperature so I figure that may have something to do with it.

Riel, well we hardly see her at all! She made friends the first day, had dinner with them and went to the evening entertainment with them. She ditched us as soon as she could. Yesterday she made another friend and although she graced us with her presence at dinner she ditched us quickly to go to the show with her friendĀ“s family. Tonight she is going to let me go to the show with her. How lucky am I?

Its been interesting here as Martin and I have been wondering what made those speaking English choose this place for a visit. Through questions etc it seems to be either missionaries on a break, or ending their stay in Nicaragua or they are Nicaraguans who now live in the States but are home for a holiday.

We really havent met anyone just choosing to travel to Nicaragua to explore. What a shame as its really absolutely beautiful in this country and everyone is really friendly. Tomorrow we are off to Granada for 4 nights and Martin will download some more photos for everyone as that is the best part about the blogs. All I can say is we are all having a blast and really enjoying the family time together. I have learned that my children are far braver and much more adventurous than I ever thought they were. I am so proud of them. Well its time to head back to the pool for some more tanning.


16th August 2008

Hot and sticky in Vancouver
YES - we were very relieved to get your latest blog. I kept saying to myself "self, be patient - all is well - they will write when the can." Toddie, I really hope you are keeping a diary so that, one day, you can write about the travels of the Antes-Shaefer-Charlton family. Hurray for the kids. It sounds like they are being real little troupers - but then their parents are setting them a great example - get our there and see life - that is what it is all about!

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