Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its fifth year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

March 5, 2017

NICARAGUA - DAY 7: THE VOYAGE HOME

... our last evening in esteli, from the roof of the hotel los arcos ...

... our room was behind the first full arch ... i would highly recommend this hotel ... the staff were very friendly, the room was quite comfortable, and the "atmosphere" was most charming ... it has a nice restaurant and bar, there's a first-class market across the street, and the town's center plaza is only a couple of hundred feet from the hotel's entrance ... best of all, this time of year a double room goes for about $50/night ...

... this was the open courtyard our room faced ... we held our team meetings at the tables, and sometimes i would enjoy sitting and working on my photographs ...

... the quiet courtyard reflects perfectly the mood of this little hotel ...

... our last full day in nicaragua was one of touring while we traveled back towards managua, where the international airport is located ... along the way we drove to the top of an active volcano, one of many which line the western side of the country ... jon bravely posed for a photograph ...

... the sulfur fumes were so intense that park rangers allow visitors only about ten minutes at the edge ... most of the time it was tolerable, but i got one whiff that stopped my breathing for a few seconds ... way worse than the (second) time i destroyed my high school's chem lab ...

... every now and then the smoke would clear and we could see the lava flowing at the bottom of the caldera ... there were a couple of times i saw huge waves of it fly into the air what i would estimate to be 50-100 feet ...

... so that those who wished could do a little shopping we stopped in granada, which to my eye seems to be much more geared for touristy-tourists than is esteli ... alejandra, who was the overall manager of our tour, and who i found to be one of the nicest people i've ever met, posed in front of a mural of her town ... it was fascinating learning about being a child growing up in a country that was both suffering and recovering from a devastating earthquake, a revolution, and an economic embargo by the united states government ... as she spoke of her mother, her upbringing, and the life she herself is building, i thought of something the dali lama taught:

"The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness."

... in nicaragua i learned much from alejandra ...

... jon's growing a beard ... or, perhaps better put, he's "thoughtfully not shaving" ...

... we went for a cruise on lake managua, the 19th largest lake in the world ... it's classified as "freshwater," but based upon the fact that the city of managua still discharges much of its sewage directly into the water, and that the huge lake has no natural outlet, i'd be careful about eating anything caught in these waters ... still, it was quite beautiful, and i think the government and people of nicaragua are a least aware of the problem and they are doing the best they can to clean up the lake ... 

... at a private island we were served a scrumptious lunch, after which we had free time to swim in the pool, explore, or, tired as most of us were, enjoy the hammocks and rocking chairs ...

... on return voyage we marveled at the volcanic skyline ...

... our last night was in granada ... tired, i only investigated the city from the front steps of the hotel, but on the drive in i could see it is a place well worth visiting ...

... jon, still discovering new bruises and sore muscles, agreed with me ...

... our last meal was a wonderful buffet of nicaraguan food ...

... the result of my first pass along the serving line ...

... after our meal we were treated to some traditional folk dance ...

... for me, her grace and beauty allowed a special time for my heart to reflect upon all of which i had been a part ...

... flying out this volcano seemed symbolic of a country which despite a most turbulent and tortuous history is working very hard to grow and develop into a new and better land ...

"To stop and light a candle when you see another walking in the dark,
that is the true beginning of your own great journey."
K. DALE