First, I would like to thank Kathy McCullough for so kindly filling in and sharing such a wonderful blog Thursday on Lake Superior Spirit while I was traveling. Kathy, I really appreciate your wonderful heart and spirit and words so much. It’s been a treasure to discover your blog Reinventing the Event Horizon.
Readers, I want to hug each and every one of you who welcomed her so warmly! You guys are the best! (I even found some of you in my suitcase when we landed the other day. So glad to have you with us here in Nicaragua!)
Yes, yes, you’ve now heard the Secret Destination.
We are in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.
My nephew, Tim, and his fiance, Natalie, are getting married here this afternoon. (Natalie is a dual citizen of the US and Nicaragua. The lovebirds met at Michigan State University a few years ago. They are truly the sweetest young people who you can imagine–so much in love.)
Of course, so many of our immediate family seized the opportunity to join them for their “Destination Wedding.” I am sharing a “casa” with my mom and dad, here at the luxury Pelican Eyes Resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean. My brother, Scot, and his daughter, Tianna, are here. So, of course is my brother, Tim and his wife, Michele, and their sons–one who is young Tim, the groom-to-be.
Michele’s parents are here, too, and some of their friends.
Have you memorized all the family names and connections? There will be a quiz.
My parents and I drove from Fort Myers Beach to the Miami Airport on Thursday through the Everglades. We only witnessed two crazy drivers. We didn’t get lost. We followed Google-maps to our destination, although we missed the Economy Park-n-Ride and parked in the Dolphin garage instead.
We met many of the wedding-goers who had flown down from Detroit.
We flew to Nicaragua, sampling a chocolate caramel brought by my brother, Scot.
We disembarked in Managua and transported south to San Juan del Sur in mini-buses. We will tell stories of this bus ride for the rest of our life. How the drivers really didn’t speak much English in our bus and none of us were fluent in Spanish. How some of us needed to use a bathroom and required communication desperately. I must take credit for remembering the word “bano”. The driver still looked confused. Finally I pointed to the woods and said, “el arbol!! el arbol!!” (That means tree.) The driver and his side-kick grinned. They pulled over. The trees worked, and the driver’s side-kick joined in the bathroom break.
They also kept telling us we would arrive in “twenty minutes”. Twenty minutes, twenty minutes! Three hours later we pulled into our little town by the sea. It was a grand joke.
Some of us weren’t prepared for the poverty along the highway and through the countryside. Nicaragua still very much seems like a Third World nation in many ways–although my view is still too limited to discern much about the country. Horses pull carts; cars and buses careen madly through bumpy streets filled with men, women, children and sleeping dogs.
In the midst of so much poverty, we sleep in a small villa–called a casa–in a gated luxury resort. The “gate” involves a chain stretched across the road; a man with mobile telephone unhooks the chain as we jerk upwards in our van attempting to avoid potholes.
The resort features three wonderful pools (as you shall glimpse below). Tropical flora and fauna surround us. Vibrant colors gleam out of palm-tree enclaves.
You must walk up 228 curving brick steps to reach our house. Fortunately, you can telephone the front desk for a van to collect you and bring you down toward the lobby.
Our wedding party–which includes about 24 friends and family of the groom and 25-50 friends and family of the bride (according to rumor) is spread out throughout the large resort.
We sleep within a curve’s length from the long pool that looks like it drops into the Pacific Ocean.
“It feels surreal,” my mom just said.
My dad just said, “This reminds me of walking in Hemingway’s shoes.”
How I love being here with my parents…
I am not a late-night party person. I wouldn’t mind spending the rest of the vacation reading on the veranda, swimming in the pool, eating chicken nachos–OK, maybe having another pina colada with umbrella.
Last night we attended a most lovely rehearsal dinner down at the local Italian restaurant. Pizza, pasta and tira misu. Yep, life doesn’t get much better. Remember those five pounds I lost? I think they’ve all returned.
Scot, Tianna and I stretched in a Zen Yoga class down in the town this morning. This was a feat for yours truly, as my calves ache mightily from the long climbs up and down the 226 steps. It was great fun, though.
Yesterday, Mom, Dad and I walked the broken cobbled streets of San Juan del Sur. It is culturally a fascinating place. It is nothing–let me repeat, nothing–like Michigan. A security guard at the local bank wore a strapped gun and waved detectors over us before we entered.
It’s good to stretch beyond our cultural preconceptions and proclivities.
The Mayans once migrated through this area. They did not live here permanently; they passed through like pelicans and parrots, lightly touching feet against the southern Nicaraguan soil before moving on.
I feel their presence in the craggy hills surrounding our bay.
This blog has taken me half the day to write. Usually I blog in a half hour or so. Today we’ve been so busy that I process the photos and write the sentences in increments. A photo here; a sentence there.
I hope this makes sense!
It is almost time to get dressed in our wedding finery. (I am wearing a blue dress, if it still fits.)
The wedding is in a small Catholic church in town.
Wishing you all the best, back there in the States and wherever else you might be today. Hasta manana~~ con amor, Kathy
Now for your quiz. Without looking back, what are the names of the bride and groom? If you remember, pour yourself a pina colada!