Humans of Nicaragua: Don Alberto’s Dream


“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

When Don Alberto was in his thirties, he had a magnificent dream. He was so inspired that he consulted with a priest to see if his dream was possible. The priest gave him wise advise like Paulo Coelho in Brida, “When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.”

Don Alberto was pleased with the advise, and the next day, he chose his sharpest stone-carving tools, which consisted of two sharpened pieces of rebar, a stone hammer, and a metal blade, and trekked through the valley below to find the perfect cliffs to begin his once-in-a-lifetime dream of honoring God, family, and love of nature and animals.

Along the stone paths worn by his daily treks, he planted coffee trees, bromeliads, and orchids that he treasured. Today, Don Alberto’s 40 something years of stone-carving are his tribute and gift to Tisey Estanzuela Natural Reserve outside the town of Esteli that he calls home.
Welcome to Finca El Jalacate, sculptures in rock.
Don Alberto is a spry 72-year-old, with a snow-white afro and suntanned skin with weathered lines etched into his face that kind of resemble his carvings. He attributes his healthy lifestyle to working every day of his life. He said that even when he is sick (which isn’t often), he prefers to carve rocks than stay in his bed. He enjoys visiting the 60 thousand visitors he has had throughout his adventures in rock carving, and explains with joy the many details in his carvings.
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Stranger Things in Nicaragua


“This is the strangest life I have ever known.” ― Jim Morrison

I recently binged on the Netflix series Stranger Things and it reminded me of the stranger things I’ve seen in Nicaragua. Nicaragua is the land of quirky! We lovingly refer to Nicaragua as the land of the not quite right. If you enjoy belly laughs and giggles at daily life, you will love living in Nicaragua because some days, You just gotta laugh.

As you can see, I fit right into the funky Nicaraguan lifestyle. Join me for a photo essay of Stranger Things I’ve seen in Nicaragua.

It all started when I purchased a coffee maker at MaxiPali. There were two coffee makers left on the shelf. One was a black five cup coffee maker, the other a ten cup white coffee maker. Other than the size, both were identical in their functions and brand. However, the black five cup coffee maker was 150 more cordobas than the larger white one. When I asked why, the clerk responded, “I am surprised that you don’t know that all black appliances are more expensive.” Hmmm…

If you are wondering why the license plate is sitting in front of the coffee maker, we had to buy a placa or plate for our motorcycle. We waited six years for the government to make license plates! Yes, six years! The strange thing about Nicaraguan license plates is that they don’t come with predrilled holes to screw the plate to the motorcycle. We had to drill the holes ourselves. Who does that?

Stranger Modes of Transportation

One day, the rodeo came to town. There are a variety of wacky rides for the kids, and you can also get your picture taken on a giant plastic horse. This was a tough move for the owner of the horse because he had to bring it from the mainland on the ferry. Imagine our surprise watching the rigamortised horse lifted off the ferry.

Our school kids ride chicken buses to school, and sometimes they ride motorcycles.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Experimental Photos


The Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge is experimental. 

I downloaded a photo app called Prisma and I enjoy experimenting with the moods I can apply to my photos.

Waiting for the show to begin at my local elementary school.
Pumpkins are expensive in Nicaragua, so we make-do with squash and watermelon.

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Why We Need Cabinets in Nicaragua


We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics. ~Bill Vaughan

I spend my life in Nicaragua sweeping up bug carcasses. No space is sacred, nothing is left untouched. We have regular infestations of termites, ants, spiders, and chayules (aquatic mites that swarm from the lake). See my life in Battling Bugs.

Herman, the master cabinetmaker, came into my life when I needed an enclosed space to put my collection of Pre-Colombian pottery pieces I find on the beach. The bugs particularly liked to nest in the ancient pieces. Master Craftsmen in Nicaragua

When the ants attacked all the food that was sitting on open shelves, Herman returned to build me kitchen cabinets. The Heart of My Home

Now, Herman is back with his latest masterpiece, cabinets for my office.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Framed in Nicaragua


“That’s rule number one for a photographer, isn’t it? Fill your frame?”
― David Cronenberg, Consumed

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Frame.

This is how the world frames itself in Nicaragua.

The sunset is encased in a jar at Playa Gigante.
IMG_1724The staircase is wrapped in colors at the Revolutionary museum in Leon.
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Thoughts from My Mother


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Future.

This is what I learned about the future from my mother…with quotes and my photos from Cartagena, Colombia.

When I was young, I ate breakfast with my mother and we would share our dreams of the night before. Our colorful dreams were usually joyful and telltale of our outlooks on life.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
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Stories Behind the Street Art of Getsemaní


“Art is an evolutionary act. The shape of art and its role in society is constantly changing. At no point is art static. There are no rules.”
― Raymond Salvatore Harmon, BOMB: A Manifesto of Art Terrorism

Getsemaní used to be known for drugs and crime, and was far from the cultural epicenter of Cartagena, Colombia that it now represents. Getsemaní has emerged from a complicated past and evolved into a burgeoning barrio complete with a live music scene and an artistic community spirit.

Recently with revitalization, this once seedy neighborhood has become the coolest, most authentic, and colorful part of Cartagena. These murals represent new issues that are plaguing Getsemani, such as racial segregation, gentrification and increasing tourism. I was in photographer’s heaven. Join me as we roam the vibrant street art of Getsemaní while the art unveils itself.

IMG_1159Amazing portrait of a homeless man who sleeps on the sidewalk below this wall.
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Opening Doors in Cartagena, Colombia


“I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them.” ― Elizabeth Taylor

Two of the best reasons to live in Nicaragua are the low-cost of living and location, location, location. Since we are centrally located to many areas of the world and we don’t spend a lot of money to live comfortably, we can pursue our passions for travel.

We just returned from Cartagena, Colombia. What an amazing cosmopolitan city it is! We booked a cozy apartment in the walled Old City through Airbnb, Martha’s Place. Leaving our little hobbit door in our loft bedroom, we explored the old and the new from one vibrant door to another.

Let's open some doors together to this marvelous city.

Let’s open some doors together to this marvelous city.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Cling Tightly


The Weekly Photo is Life Imitates Art.

Mori Sosen ( 1747-1821) was a famous Japanese painter known best for his paintings of monkeys. I feel that this painting represents the love and care all mothers give to their children, but it can be dangerous when the baby is left unattended for only a minute. Notice how the baby is desperately trying to cling to his mother. Is there a hidden danger in the forest that could separate this little one from his mother permanently?

Mori-Sosen-Japanese-Painter-Edo-Period-japanese-ink-painting-japanese-animal-painting (18)Today in a restaurant, I noticed a tiny Howler monkey wrapped around a man’s neck. Upon closer inspection, the baby monkey had lost or injured his eye. I asked the man if I could take a picture of the baby Howler and he gently unwrapped the monkey clinging tightly around his neck.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Alphabets in Nature


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Alphabet.

Finding alphabet letters in nature or the natural surroundings and incorporating them into a collage with the name of a favorite place I visited has always been a fun project for me.

My son works in Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite picMy nephew’s wedding in the Outerbanks at the Wild Horse.
Wild Horse PosterAnd of course, I can’t forget my favorite place where we live…Ometepe.
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