Look Up! Thoughts on the Rio San Juan


“Have you noticed how nobody ever looks up? Nobody looks at chimneys, or trees against the sky, or the tops of buildings. Everybody just looks down at the pavement or their shoes. The whole world could pass them by and most people wouldn’t notice.”
― Julie Andrews Edwards, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

We just returned from a week’s trip down the Rio San Juan in Nicaragua. It is a 192.06 km river that flows east out of Lake Cocibolca into the Caribbean Sea. What a spectacular river it is! So full of life. But, you have to LOOK UP.

On the Rio Bartola, one of the thousand tributaries of the Rio San Juan, we met another boat. They are all pointing up at something. What could it be?
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Caiman Point


“Crocodiles are easy. They try to kill and eat you. People are harder. Sometimes they pretend to be your friend first.”
                                      ― Steve Irwin

 

The Punta Jesus Maria is a beautiful point of land on Ometepe Island. It entices many tourists where the sweet waters converge and swirl around a long, narrow spit of sand, which extends into Lake Cocibolca. It also entices investors, like the Chinese, who want to build a Tourist Volcano resort at this point for one of their tourism sub-projects.

The entrance to the Punta Jesus Maria spray painted in protest of the Chinese.

The entrance to the Punta Jesus Maria spray painted in protest of the Chinese.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity Now


“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? (136-137)”
― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras  

Within kayaking, biking, and walking distance from our house is a serene point of land called Punta Jesus Maria. We often take Sunday trips to the Punta to relax, hike, and swim in the refreshing lake water. At the Punta, I am always reminded of the meaning of serenity.

Serenity is becoming part of the silence.
“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
― Robert Lynd
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow


The Weekly Photo Challenge is: Yellow

Yesterday, I was sweeping my porch and swept up a beautiful yellow male Io moth. At first, I thought it was dead, but when threatened he flipped his forewings forward exposing the large eyespots on his hind wings.

Most people in Nicaragua are afraid of gusanos, or caterpillars. I had no idea why, until I researched the venomous sting of the Io moth caterpillar. Virtually the entire bodies of larvae are protected by venomous spines. When spines penetrate the skin, the tips break off and release the venom.
IMG_1397His eyespots have white highlights resembling reflections of vertebrate eyes.

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The Nicaraguan Piggy Bank


Have you ever wondered why the pig is associated with saving money? Some say the origin of the piggy bank was derived from the type of clay 15th century European potters used, called Pygg Clay. In the early 20th century, potters began to shape the clay in the form of pigs and people would save their loose coins in the pygg jars.

However, in Nicaragua, the piggy bank is literally a piglet. They call their pigs, the Bancos de Chanchitos, which means piggy banks. The Nicaraguans buy the piglets when they are 8 weeks old for about 800 cordobas ($30). Then, when they are 9 months old, they are ready to butcher for Christmas nacatamales and chicharrón, a dish generally made of fried pork rinds.

Earlier this year, we bought Marina one of Theresa’s piglets. The piglet is now 9 months old and ready to be butchered for nacatamales and chicharrón for the Christmas feast.
Raising piglets for Christmas dinner is a long tradition in Nicaragua.

The process starts with an hembra (female) in heat. Chela, Theresa’s huge hembra, is ready for Barracho the Boar.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue with the Circle of Life


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Dialogue.

The nourishing rains have finally begun in Nicaragua, which reminds me that life is a full circle sustaining and feeding us all.

We
all have a place in the circle of life. Always remember who you are.

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Mama Said There’d be Days Like This


“Love is a piano dropped from a fourth story window, and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.” ~Ani Defraco

 

Two geckos were mating in our bedroom door jamb. Unbeknownst to us…we shut the door! Wrong place! Wrong Time!
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Oh,there’s a lot more ahead!

Show Me Them Boobies!


Did I get your attention? I love Blue-Footed Boobies! A bumpy hour boat ride off the coast of Puerto López, Ecuador ushered us to the isolated Isla de Plata, known as the poor man’s Galápagos or Silver Island because of the large deposits of guano that stain its dark cliffs. Some say that the uninhabited island derived its name from the centuries-old buried treasure of Sir Francis Drake.

Indeed, there is treasure to be discovered here, but not in the way you would presume.  Take a walk with me . Let’s see if we can spot some Blue-Footed Boobies…my favorite comical birds.

A sea turtle greets us. I think he’s saying, “Welcome to Isla de la Plata.”
IMG_3156 Wait! Don’t leave yet. Boobies ahead.

Chasing Butterflies


“You can only chase a butterfly for so long.”
― Jane Yolen, Prince Across the Water

From a very early age, butterflies and moths have been my totems. I have always been enchanted by their graceful movements and their vibrant colors. Although they symbolize different things to different cultures, universally, they represent change and transformation.

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Keep chasing the butterflies.Read on.