Weekly Photo Challenge: An Artist’s Reward


The weekly photo challenge is: Reward

The Solentiname Islands offer a communal space for artistic expression and spiritual discovery. In 1965, Ernesto Cardenal, a Nicaraguan priest and now-famous poet, established a religious community on the Solentiname Islands.

IMG_7189
Cardenal invited a respected painter from Managua to teach painting techniques, while encouraging individual thought and style. This gave way to a widespread fascination with art. Entire families started painting in a style known as “primitivist”. This art drew upon popular Central American imagery such as Choretega and Nahuatl Indian weavings and painted gourds.

IMG_7188For years, my bucket list included visiting the artists on Solentiname Islands. Last week, I was rewarded with a very special visit to the Solentiname Islands and the artists who live there.

IMG_7120Margarita has painted for over 30 years. She told me that she was allergic to oil based paints, and recently switched to acrylics.

IMG_7123She paints a delicate Ora Pendula nest in the branches of the gently swaying palm tree.

IMG_7119Natural light filters through her open window.

IMG_7117Margarita’s paintings are world-famous. It was such a treat to visit with her. The long boat ride to the primitive Solentiname Islands and visiting with a beautiful artista was my grandest reward.

The Fortress of the Immaculate Conception


“Justice is an unassailable fortress, built on the brow of a mountain which cannot be overthrown by violence of torrents, nor demolished by the force of armies.” ~ Joseph Addison

 

IMG_6937

Continue reading

It’s the Journey That Matters: Getting to the Rio San Juan


“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
― Ernest Hemingway

 

Rolling down the Rio San Juan has been on our bucket list for years. However, having an end to journey toward was not our greatest reward. Instead, the journey itself was our fringe benefit because getting there was half the fun.

Oh the convenience of living beside a small airport! We walked our sandy volcanic path to the airport on a Thursday afternoon and caught a 15 minute flight to San Carlos, Nicaragua. We booked with La Costeña online. Make sure you book early because the planes seat 12 people. At a cost of $85 round trip per person, we felt like it was a bargain, if only for the convenience of walking to and from our house.

And we were off!  We ascended over the patchwork of fields, quaint red tin roofs, and the calm Lake Cocibolca.
IMG_6458

Continue reading

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?
IMG_6905 Continue reading

Survival of the Fittest: February 2015


“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” ― Charles Darwin

 

The Fuego y Agua Survival Run is over until next February. Every year, we volunteer to help at the aid stations for the races. 45 Survival runners line up to register for the race. How many will finish? Their motto is:

“Hold up your right hand and repeat after me: “if I get hurt, lost or die, it is my own damn fault.”

IMG_6300

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

The Fuego y Agua Ultramarathon and Survival Run


It’s that time of the year again. The Fuego y Agua Ultramarathon and Survival Run starts this week. Ron and I are volunteering at the aid stations like we do every year.

Enjoy this little preview of last year’s Survival Run.

The Papagayo Winds


“A sailor chooses the wind that takes the ship from a safe port. Ah, yes, but once you’re abroad, as you have seen, winds have a mind of their own. Be careful, Charlotte, careful of the wind you choose.”
― Avi, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

 

The Papagayo winds shriek across Nicaragua blanketing everything in dust in the dry season, especially in January and February. Often, the hurricane force winds topple trees, rattle tin roofs, capsize pangas and halt ferries and small boats coming from and going to Ometepe Island due to the high waves in Lake Nicaragua.

The often hurricane-strength winds happen when cold air from the North American winter moves south over the Gulf of Mexico. The air, drawn toward the warmer, moist atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean, is channeled through a gap in the Central American Cordillera Mountains and through Nicaragua’s Lake district. (NASA, Earth Observatory)

This year, the Papagayo winds have collided with the weather condition known as Madden and Julian Oscillation (MJO). The MJO is simply a strong coupling with the surface (usually the Pacific Ocean) and the upper atmosphere in tropical regions.

José Milán from the Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) reports that the strong winds that accompany the MJO will last 60 days and will cover the whole width of the country. Other than being annoying, the phenomenon can cause serious damage to soils by removing valuable moisture acquired during the rainy season. The MJO affects Nicaragua on a regular basis and the last time was in December 2012 and January 2013.(INETER)

This January, the strong winds have affected us in many ways. Transportation to and from Ometepe was stopped for several days throughout January. That means no supplies come to Ometepe, people are stranded either on the island or on the mainland, and the fishermen cannot fish because the waves resemble ocean waves.

IMG_4994 Continue reading