Monday, July 5, 2010

Nicaragua 2010-A Novel

Day 1

Well, the day arrived....our first trip alone!  (We did do a short 24-hour jaunt when Clark was a baby.)   We have jokingly called it our honeymoon because we were married on a Saturday and back in school on a Tuesday.  Although I loved the trip, it wasn't very honeymoon-ish. Back in January when we were talking about goals during family home evening for this year, Lee brought up that he wanted to go to Nicaragua.  We have always wanted to go (especially Lee), but the timing was never quite right.  At first we were concerned with the school debt we had, and then the kids kept coming.  But since the debt was gone and the kids were numbered, Lee felt like this year would be a good year.  (And it doesn't hurt that Lee gets 30 days paid vacation in the Army!)

Once I arrived at Lois' in Maryland, the anxiety hit about leaving my kids.  I was quite surprised at my feelings!  I tend to think the worst and of course thought of the possibility that I may never see them again.  We came well equipped to Lois' with a power of attorney and a will in tow. The night before we left, as I was singing to my kids at bedtime, the tears came very easily.  I am sure it didn't help that I was incredibly tired.

Our plane left really early - 6:36am.  Everything was timed right and we didn't get to the airport too early or too late.  We found out that all we needed was our passport to check in.  Very weird and cool.  We also came to appreciate foreign airlines.  If anything, everyone should experience flying on a foreign airline--free baggage checks and FOOD! 

This is what Copa Airlines served for breakfast:
June 2 2010 Lee's breakfast

June 2 2010 Ruth's Breakfast

We switched planes in Panama City, Panama.  Now I can add another country to my travel list! I should have stocked up on Lacoste polos at their airport store and resold them in the US.  They were only $30!

On our flight to Managua we were fed again--some yummy sandwiches. Once there we went through customs.  I am glad my mission companion Vanessa suggest that we bring some money with us.  Nicaragua wanted $5 from each of us to get in as a visitor.  Normally we don't carry any cash with us (unless it's grocery money).  I am sure we could have used an ATM somewhere to get the money.  Lydon was waiting for us and took us straight to our "hotel" in Ticauntepe.  I was not surprised at all by the scenery...garbage in the streets, small houses close together.  It was odd that Managua did not have a downtown with lots of high rises.  I just expect that in a big city--especially a capitol city with 2 million+ people! In fact there is just a scattered handfull of tall buildings.

While in Nicaragua we stayed at the Viva Guesthouse.  A fellow named Lyndon owns a Spanish-speaking school in Managua.  He has rooms at this house for people to use short or long term. At $21.85 a night, with free wireless internet, cable, pool, a security guard, and use of a fridge/freezer it was GREAT!

Yep, that's all the luggage we brought.  We didn't have to pack as light as we did, but oh well.  It worked fine.
June 2, 2010 La Viva Guesthouse room

Notice the electrical cable connected to the shower head?  When the water would work, the shower head would heat up the water as it came out.  When the water wasn't working, and we had to use the tank water that meant cold showers. And I had a couple of them!
June 2, 2010 Shower

June 2, 2010 bathroom

After checking in with Lois and saying hi to the kids over chat, we headed out. These little taxis ran back in forth in front of the neighborhood entrance all the time.  They were my favorite mode of transportation there. 
June 2, 2010 three-wheeled go getters

Our first stop was Masaya.  We caught a micro-bus going there.  It was designed for 15 people and 25 people were crammed in there.  Passenger safety regulations are not followed at all with public transportation.  Traffic rules were somewhat adhered too, but stateside bus drivers would die if they saw what roads and openings we went through on school buses.  Sometimes we took taxis that actually had seatbelts, but when I would try to use them, the buckle was not to be found.  I think I wore a seatbelt twice while in Nicaragua.

Back to Masaya.  There was a great tourist market there.  We went there on two separate occasions.
June 2, 2010 Lee Masaya Market

The market was on the inside of these stone walls--which filled a whole block and of course had a courtyard or two in the middle.
June 2, 2010 Lee outside Masaya Market

On our way back to Ticuantepe--where we were staying--we tried to go to the volcano, but got there too late. 
June 2, 2010 Masaya Volcano Entrance

We stopped at the Pali on the way home too.  Walmart owns Pali.  It is similar to Aldi stores. We went to the Pali or La Colonia every day; mostly the Pali.  It was very fun shopping everyday at the grocery store.

I loved how many things were in bags. See the chocolate milk in bags for 6.65?  Lee would get them a lot on his mission.  He would bite off the end and drink it. So, for a rough conversion to Cordabas, just divide 6.65 in half, and move the decimal to the left. (Roughly 20 Cordabas in $1.) The milk was about $0.33. 
June 2, 2010 Pali Grocery store, bagged dairy

June 2, 2010 Pali

That night we went about 3 blocks away and ate at Los Pitahayas. We had in our mind that things were going to be "cheap" so we brought only 100 Cordabas with us. We each got a fresca and after finding out our options, we told the lady we only wanted a plate of gallopinto.  She was shocked!  It was very funny.  Why would foreigners only want beans and rice?!     

Day 2

Since we were in a foreign country with almost no money, we decided to head to a bank.  The ATM was in the entryway with a security guard.  If you wanted to go IN the bank, another security guard would let you in and lock the door behind you.

After riding taxis and buses, we arrived in Leon, and the hopped on another ride to Poneloya, the beach city on the Pacific Ocean.
June 3, 2010 Poneloya

After we walked around and had some kids try and sell us some stuff, we ate here.  We weren't expecting them to bring Lee a WHOLE fish!
June 3, 2010 Restaurant at Poneloya

The yellow circles are friend plantains.  I really like them.  They taste like potatoes and I would put salt on them.
June 3, 2010 Lee's fish

Despite its treacherous face, it was very good!
June 3, 2010

Poneloya beach
June 3, 2010 Lee at Poneloya Beach

After the beach we went on up to Chinendega.  We timed it wrong and found out that the last bus going to Managua was leaving in about a 1/2 hour.  We wanted to get some ice cream and Lee asked the bike taxi people to take us there.  One guy asked for $10.  I quickly refused them as we found out there was a gas station less than a block away. We went there and got out treat...while 3 or 4 security guys walked around.

On the way back in the bus, a guy played a recorder and tried to sell some vitamins.  A few people bought them! Matt, you need to take a class down there and study their marketing tactics!

Nightfall comes pretty quickly in Nicaragua.  It's dark by 6:30.  It was still fairly early in the evening when we arrived in Managua around 6:30 or so.When we got to Managua it was dark out and Lee and I were getting nervous. I was very thankful that Lee knew Spanish and knew where we were going.  When we got off the bus the man Lee had been chatting to, to make sure we got the right connection, told us if we couldn't get on a bus right away to find the police or get a hotel.  That scared us! Especially since police aren't plentiful and who knows if they can be trusted. We made it back safe though with no problems and no muggings.

Day 3

After hitting the ATM and riding a micro bus, we arrived in get on another bus to Rivas. On our way to Jinotepe we started talking with a young man who was studying English. Lee started talking to him about our church and we found out he was baptized when he was 8! But then his family moved after that and they hadn't been back to church apparently.  Lee encouraged him to go back.  I hope he does!

Jinotepe bus stop
June 4 2010 Jinotepe bus stop

On the way down to Rivas, a little boy starting shaking a bottle with rocks in it and then proceeded to sing songs.  He then went down the bus isle and asked people for money.  He also neighed like a horse and did a fabulous job at it!  Sounded just like one! 

Once in Rivas Lee lined up a deal with a taxi driver to take us to the beach in San Juan Del Sur, pick us up at 3:30 and then take us to San Jorge.  It worked out great.  On the way down to San Juan Del Sur, he pulled off onto a little side beach and snapped our picture in front of the two island-of-Ometepe volcanoes.

June 4 2010 San Juan Del Sur, Atlantic Ocean

San Juan Del Sur
June 4 2010 Ruth beach, San Juan del Sur

Lee pointing at Costa Rica.  I can't claim that I went there, but I saw it! Megan and Jeremy we are still planning on going down with you!
June 4 2010 Lee pointing to Costa Rica, San Juan Del Sur

Lee ate at this restaurant and in the same area of the restaurant while a missionary.
June 4 2010 lunch at San Juan del Sur

Eating some Nicaraguan cheese.  The taste reminded me of the gross smells at the bus stops, so I didn't like it so much.  It's really good fried though! 
June 4 2010 Ruth and Nicaraguan cheese

It started pouring towards the end of our meal.
June 4 2010 San Juan del Sur, boats during rainstorm

The guy picked us up like he said he would, and took us to San Jorge so we could catch a boat to the island of Ometepe. 
June 4 2010 monkeys at port- San Gorge

We're off!  It is an hour boat ride. 
June 4 2010 anchor down!

June 4 2010 boat to Ometepe

One of the two volcanoes--the larger one.
June 4 2010 Lee on Ometepe boat with volcano

June 4 2010 Biggest Volcano on Ometepe

June 4 2010 Volcanoes on Ometepe

June 4 2010 Lee and Ruth on Ometepe boat

We spent the night at Villa Paraiso.  There was a mix up with our dates to stay at the hotel and we got a cheaper room.  We were actually really happy about it! 
June 4 2010 bed decor at Villa Piarosa

This artist used clay or something and put it on the canvas in different areas, like on the roof line, to make the painting "pop". 
June 4 2010 raised painting at Villa Piarosa

Our gecko friend!  We had a gecko in our room at the Viva guesthouse too.  When I saw them I had to remember that I wanted them there to eat the bugs!
June 4 2010 gecko

Day 4

The view from our room at Villa Paraiso
June 5 2010 the view from the side of our room

June 5 2010 our room #19

Our breakfast drinks. This was the first time and only time Lee got ice in his drink.  He didn't know he was getting a drink with the breakfast he ordered.  They said the ice was made with purified water, and later the manager confirmed that.  Lee went out on a limb and trusted them....they were right!  No sickness...or Lee has a tough tummy.
June 5 2010 Breakfast drinks

Lake Nicaragua lakefront of Villa Paraiso
June 5 2010 beach front at Villa

One of MANY baby frogs hopping about on the beach.
June 5 2010 baby frog on beach at Villa Pillarosa

We got lucky and a worker at the hotel took us to Moyogalpa for free!  He stopped in Alta Gracia first (actually he drove by his sister's house and saw his nieces, backed up and they got a ride too--they were headed back to Managua).  About 300 years ago these pre-Columbian statues were found in an indigenous town about 10 kilometers from Alta Gracia. "They" took the statues and moved them to...guess?  Alta Gracia.
June 5 2010 300+ old statues in Alta Gracia, found in neighboring village 2 M away

Next stop Moyogalpa, where Lee served the last three months of his mission.  This is where he used to live.
June 5 2010 Moyogalpa, Lee's old mission apartment

The old branch president, Brother Ipolito and his wife. They were very happy to see Lee and remembered him.  They even asked him if he had had eye surgery!
June 5 2010 Lee with old Branch Pres. Apolito and wife

Island natives
June 5 2010 chickens on island

June 5 2010 animals on Moyogalpa

June 5 2010 pig on island

The son of Brother Ipolito, Eddy.
June 5 2010 Lee and Eddy (2)

We rented a motorcycle to visit Punta La Jesus Maria--the missionaries took our picture.  We found them and they helped us find the old branch president's house.
June 5 2010 island motocylce picture, taken by Elder Young from Missouri

June 5 2010 Punta on Ometepe Island

June 5 2010 Punta of Jesus Maria, Ometepe Island

Maybe this road looks really wide, but in person it did not.  And guess what is coming towards us?
June 5 2010 riding back from la punta

June 5 2010 bus barrelling down the road

June 5 2010 hi Lee

Gotta love the local traffic signs
June 5 2010 road sign

June 5 2010 filing up motorcyle with $0.50 of gas

This is the restaurant where Lee ate practically everyday while on the island.  And yes, those are real bottles of beer and pop forever mounted in the fake tree.
June 5 2010 at Restaurante Victoria, Moyogalpa--where Lee ate as a missionary

June 5 2010 where we ate at the restuarant

A model of the island...too bad there isn't enough money to have the display running! (That is my assumption anyway.)
June 5 2010 model of Ometepe (2)

Boats on the lake
June 5 2010 our ride back to the main land--upper left, pointing away from us

Naptime on the island
June 5 2010 nap time by docks, Moyogalpa

After an hour boat ride back to the main island, we made our way back to Ticauntepe. The bus was PACKED!!!  Lee and I were squished up against other people and were standing in the isle of the bus for about 45 minutes.  One family had three cute boys--two of them were standing by us. The youngest boy was up on the luggage rack. He had a great ride and fell asleep! We stopped at Pali and stocked up for Sunday.  I bought a BIG avacado for $0.35 (roughly).  I made guacamole that night. YUM!

Bag of chocolate milk from Pali.
June 5 2010 Lee's bag of chocolate leche

Day 5
chruch in tipitapa
manuel campo bore testimony
lee found gomez family and old apartment
hung out at viva guesthouse, chatted with kids, skyped with family

Sunday we headed out to Tipitapa.  Lee served there the longest and figured it would be the best place to go to church.  We didn't know what time church started, but we were hoping for 10.  It started at 9.  Oh well.  When we got there Manuel Campo was bearing his testimony.  He recognized Lee, the missionary who taught him the gospel and baptized him 10 years ago.  It was such a sweet experience.  Manuel started crying, and Lee and I couldn't hold back either.  Manuel has been active all these years, been to the Guatemala temple three times, and is in the Branch presidency.  Sadly his family aren't members, but we are very hopeful that will change!
June 6, 2010 Lee & Manuel Campo

Outside the Loma Verde Branch building (in Tipitapa).  Like the security guard?
June 6, 2010 front of Loma Verde Branch with security guard

We found the apartment that Lee lived at while in Tipitapa.  The missionaries still live there.  Lee had a great visit with the family there.  They own this little apartment that is behind their house and store.
June 6, 2010 Lee at old apartment, Tipitapa, Gomez casa

June 6, 2010 Plants at Gomez'

On the way back from Tipitapa on the bus...I always wanted to get these hot pink coconut treats, but I didn't dare risk it.
June 6, 2010 pink coconut treats

Deborah, I didn't know you had been to Nicaragua!!!
June 6, 2010 bus from Tipitapa to Huembes Deborah

Last bus ride for us that day.  Glad we sat in front!  The bus driver is drinking a bag of water.  People sell them all over the place.  Then they throw them out the window when they're done with them.
June 6, 2010 drinking water

Sunday night pictures of the Viva Guesthouse
June 6, 2010 Viva Guesthouse (9)

June 6, 2010 Viva Guesthouse (12)

June 6, 2010 Viva Guesthouse (6)

June 6, 2010 Viva Guesthouse (3)

June 6, 2010 Viva Guesthouse (11)

June 6, 2010 Viva Guesthouse (7)

Chatting with the kids on Skype.  I love technology! We were nervous about leaving our possessions at the "hotel".  (I was anyway.)  But when we saw that Lydon kept his laptop out on the dining room table, we felt comfortable leaving our stuff and our passports in our room while we were gone each day.  And no, I didn't wear flip-flops to church.  I did wear them during our travels to and from church. I slipped on my Sunday shoes outside in the church courtyard with the security guard standing by. 
June 6, 2010 Viva Guesthouse (15)

Day 6

Monday morning we headed to Granada.  One of the many nice things of the trip was that Granada was so close!!!

A nice sign

There are a handful of old churches in Granada


We stopped at a bakery for breakfast

A fun courtyard in Granada


The local optical.  You can get an eye exam here for $2.50.

View from the top of a church


Stairs leading up to the church-top roof...they made me kind of sick


Another roof-top view with the Mombacho volcano--an active one.



Umm, yeah.  For those wondering, I do not believe that Christ was baptized by a sprinkling of water.  Instead, I believe in baptism with complete immersion in water. Read The Articles of Faith from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a short summary of our beliefs), number four. 




Yet another mode of transportation! A carriage ride out to Lake Nicaragua.


Off the north shore of Lake Nicaragua, there are about 300 small islands.  We were going to rent a kayak to explore the islands, but it was a little more than we wanted to pay.  We went on an hour long boat ride tour instead.  It was nice that we were the only people on the boat besides the "driver".

Nice dock, eh?




The islands were amazing!  Next time we go back I really want to kayak around them.  They were really close together and close to the mainland too.  A lot of the islands had houses on them.  One had some sort of hotel.  Our guide pointed out an island that was for sale for $80 million dollars.  Insane!


One island is called Monkey Island.  When I heard the name I was instantly reminded of an early computer game.  I am sure all you siblings thought of that too after you read this!

Yep, there were monkeys!  The driver whistled to the monkeys and one promptly came over.  There is a vet that lives on a near by island that cares for the five monkeys.



Lee and the monkey.  Had to get a shot of them together too!

Fransisco Hernandez de Cordaba.  He founded Granada in 1524.

William Walker's General tried to burn this church in the 1800s. William Walker was born in Tennessee and eventually became a physician, lawyer and a journalist.  He went down to Nicaragua and "reigned" there for one year (1856-1857). He was executed in Honduras in 1860. (Info from Wikipedia.)  From the sound of things, he was not liked.

Our local cuisine at a restaurant named Typica Nica.  Great food!

YUM!  Chicken and pineapple in some sort of creamy, curry-ish sauce.

Need a dental extraction?  It will cost only 100 Cordabas--or an equivalent of $5. Can't beat the price, huh!


After Granada, we had some time to stop at the Masaya Volcano--remember the early picture of Lee in front of the sign?  I loved what the brochure said about having interpretive trails.  It made me think of Deb, Matt and Paul.  They would have loved taking the "interpretive trails" on the way up to the volcano! Lee and I opted to pay $2 to have the park worker take us up in a truck.

The live Masaya Volcano!





There is a night tour of the volcano that sounded really fun.  We'll do that on our next trip down.

Another run to the grocery store.  We went to La Colonia this time.  This grocery store sells clothes in the front part.  I thought it was funny because the clothes didn't look brand new...more like nice Goodwill.

You can't tell in the picture the real size, but the Yopli's are SO SMALL! There are probably about 1-2 tablespoons of yogurt in each little container. Very cute!

Day 7

Since our last trip to Chinendega was quite short (about an hour at the bus stop), we ventured up there yet again.  This was a time I wish we had a rental car because traveling up there took a couple of hours. Once we got to Chinendega we drove around a little, but Lee couldn't remember where people lived--plus the scenery had changed in 10 years.  We went on up to El Viejo and had some success there.

Walking around in El Viejo
June 8 2010 Lee finding some people in El Viejo

The ward building Lee attended as a missionary for church meetings
June 8 2010 Lee's El Viejo ward as a missionary

We found where the old Stake President lived (now the new Guatemala Mission President) and chatted with him.  Lee asked him about a couple of people and he knew a family Lee had baptized,  Adela and Fransisco Moreno.  We found her house and two of her kids were home.  The 15-year-old son brought out a photo album and showed us this picture of when their family was sealed together for eternity in the Guatemala Temple.  Then he walked us over to his mom's work.  She works in a lab at a hospital.  
June 8 2010 Adela y Fransisco Moreno family

Lee and Adela.  It was great to meet her.  She is the seminary teacher in their ward.  They actually have Seminary in the evenings.
June 8 2010 Adela Moreno, Lee baptized her and husband

Before we headed back to Managua we took a short ride on a bike taxi.
June 8 2010 Bike Taxi's

He dropped us off at Tip-Top, a Central America fast food joint--similar to Kentucky Fried Chicken. 
June 8 2010 Tip-Top, fast food in Nicaragua

Nice gun!
June 8 2010 Tip-Top security guard with gun

The delivery service.
June 8 2010 Tip-Top delivery motorcycle

June 8 2010 Tip-Top food brought by our waiter

Passing another volcano on the way back to Managua.
June 8 2010 Volcano--Momotombo

Some back tracking....a new Stake Center in El Viejo.  It was wonderful to hear how much the church has grown in Nicaragua!
June 8 2010

Day 8

The next day we headed to the closest destination: Masaya.  We went to the Masaya market on our first day.
June 9 2010 Ruth and moto-taxi

We ate breakfast at a cake place.  We wanted to find a bakery and this was practically that. Here are some mini cakes--about the size of a cereal bowl.
June 9 2010 mini cakes at Masaya bakery

June 9 2010 Lee at Masaya bakery

A church in Masaya
June 9 2010 Ruth at Masaya church

After breakfast we headed up to Catarina, about 6 km away.  In Catarina there is a lake on top of a volcano called Laguna Apoyo.  I LOVED it there!!!  Catarina was such a pretty, small town. 
June 9 2010 Lee and Ruth at Laguna Apoyo

We rode horses out to the lookout for the laguna. This was my first time ever riding a horse!
June 9 2010 Ruth on way to Laguna Apoyo Lookout

June 9 2010 Lee on way to  Laguna Apoyo lookout

At the Laguna Apoyo lookout.
June 9 2010 Ruth in front of Laguna Apoyo lookout

June 9 2010 Laguna Apoyo (3)

Catarina has many garden centers throughout the town.  People come to Catarina from many cities to buy plants.
June 9 2010 another garden center in Catarina

A truck full of bananas.  Don't see that everyday in Missouri.
June 9 2010 bunches of bananas in Catarina

We thought this improper use of McDonald's was kind of funny.
June 9 2010 Mc George's in Masaya

After Catarina we went back to Masaya to the same market we were at our first day--Mercado Viejo. I should have taken more pictures of the wares.  Like the real frogs blown up like a balloon holding miniature bottles of liquor.
June 9 2010 Chicken baskets in marcado viejo, Masaya

June 9 2010 stuffed chickens in mercardo viejo, Masaya

Of course that night we took another trip to Pali.  I think it's so funny that you can buy pre-made toast at the store!
June 9 2010 toast, Pali store

That night we patronized Las Pitahayas.  We had some YUMMY kabobs for dinner!  I definitely recommend this place.  And we brought more money with us that time.
June 9 2010 Ruth at Los Pitahaya in Ticuantepe

Day 9

Our last full day in Nicaragua was pretty relaxed.  Another guest at the guesthouse--Casey, took us into Managua to Metrocentral. It was nice not having to take a bus and to actually wear a seatbelt!  There is a mall there and we walked around for a little bit.  We then headed to the National Museum. Right by the museum was a cathredral and the National Palace...or something like that (can't remember the name).  Meetings and such are held at the National Palace.

Lee and another cathedral
June 10 2010 Managua Museum (19)

A guy outside wanted us to buy a grasshopper from him.  He had made it from a palm leaf.  He made me a rose and gave it to me for free.  Later when we saw him he asked us for money.
June 10 2010 rose from palm leaf

The National Museum....let's just say it's not the Smithsonian.  Also it was politically biased too.
June 10 2010 Managua Museum (18)

We did see some fun artwork.
June 10 2010 Managua Museum (7)

And old ruins.
June 10 2010 Managua Museum (16)

June 10 2010 Managua Museum (17)

And as Lee commented on Facebook, no matter what age in time, women have always liked nice appliances.
June 10 2010 Managua Museum (14)

June 10 2010 Managua Museum (5)

June 10 2010 Managua Museum Ruth

This was one of the neatest pieces in the museum. Fossilized footprints found by the southern shore of Lake Managua.  So amazing! They are believed to be over 2000 years old...Ancient footprints of Acahualinca.
June 10 2010 Managua Museum

Gotta have the bag. Slogan look familiar?  Always low prices...always?
June 10 2010 Pali bag-owned by Wal-mart

Next we found the mission office and distribution center.  We actually didn't know there was a distribution center there.  Sadly the mission office was closed and we didn't want to go and find the other one that was open. I guess there are two locations. I'll have to clarify with Lee.  Lee questioned the receptionist about nice neighborhoods in Managua.  She called her friend who is a member of our church, and a taxi driver, to drive us around some nice neighborhoods.  We didn't get good views because many of the nice houses are blocked off with their own walls and such.  We did get an idea of what they looked like though, which was fun.  We like looking at houses not matter where we're at!

We had lunch at the Gallerias--a big mall in Managua.  We just ate in the foodcourt.  And may I recommend NOT getting the "eggrolls" at a Nicaraguan Chinese restaurant.  They were more like pie dough rolls. The place Lee chose to buy his food from made his fresh. 
June 10 2010 Chef making Lee's food at La Galeria Food Court

It was fun walking around. There were BIG, flat screen TV's in the food court. Of course the opening "things" for the World Cup were being broadcasted.

Parking lot statue at Gallerias.
June 10 2010 statue outside of La Galeria, Managua

We made one more stop to La Colonia.  Lee told me while he was on his mission, all cold cereal was called cornflakes.  I guess this still exists to an extent.  At least toasted cereal made it on the isle sign!
June 10 2010 food sign in La Colonia

Ice cream cones are really cheap in Nicaragua.  You can get a double scoop for $1. I got a weird combination this day, chocolate and the las pitahayas flavor...yep, same name as the restaurant down the road from the guesthouse.  I really liked it--especially the color.  It tasted like lime sherbet.
June 10 2010 Ruth with ice cream from Eskimo

June 10 2010 ice cream

We had one last hurrah at Las Pitahayas.  It was really funny because the two other families staying at the guesthouse ate there that night too! 
June 10 2010 food from Las Pitahayas

June 10 2010 Lee at Las Pitahayas (2)

Day 10

That Friday morning we packed, ate lunch at La Colonia, and then killed some time before the chauffeur took us to the airport.  We had a great flight back and again switched planes in Panama City.  We even went outside to switch plane...I have yet another reason to say I've been to Panama! The plane arrived in DC early Saturday morning.  Jeff was great and yet again traveled to the Dulles airport at some crazy hour in the morning to pick us up.

It was wonderful seeing the kids. Shanna woke up for a little bit and gave us a big grin and started hugging me.  The next morning when Elden saw us he crawled up to me and smiled and then looked over at Lee and smiled. sweet! The first thing Haley said to me was: "You got brown."  Cal and Clark were very glad to see us and still have the Wii to use for a couple more days!

We had a wonderful trip and I am excited to go back again.  Who knows when that will be, but I am sure it will happen.  In about 10 years I would love to take the whole family down.  Thanks Lois and Jeff a million times over for watching our kids.  I am glad nothing crazy happened with the kids while we were gone!


Amy said...

What a great trip! Thanks for sharing.

I had to show the picture of the shower to Neil and tell him that the shower in our apartment in my first area in Guatemala was like that except I had to tape up the wires with electrical tape to keep it working. Also the pictures of the volcanoes and fried plantains brought back good memories.

Beautiful Central America.

Kelly said...

So fun! I love all the pictures! The gecko's reminded me of Hawaii. You're right, the nice thing about them is they eat the cockroaches and other bugs :)

Heidi Sue the Mommy crafter said...

I'm so glad you got to go with Lee! That looks so wonderful! I know in the future Marc wants to take me to Argentina where he served. Loved all the stories and the pictures! :)

Lois said...

Loved reading all the details of your trip!! I'm glad you had a fun time! Just let us know when you want to take off again. :)

Cardiganwearer said...

Wow, quite the trip.

Megan and Jeremy said...

What a fun & long trip!!! So glad you guys made it happen & had an adventure.

YES, let's do a service mission to Costa Rica!!!! So cool you got to see it from across the water :)

Dean and Elaine said...

Wow! What a fun trip! You do such a fabulous job with your blog. So glad you got to have this special time together.

Roger said...

Sweet trip! I would love to go sometime with you guys. You did a ton more than I would have thought to do.

I also want to go to my old mission with Britt.

Glad you had a great time!