I’ve returned to Nicaragua!

Let's travel through San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, just one more time, please.

I’ve returned to Nicaragua in my mind, that is…

Two weeks ago we sipped our watermelon juice and slowly chewed our white pineapple at breakfast overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the Pelican Eyes Resort in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, Central America.

It was Tuesday morning, February 2nd.  Time to fly back to Miami.  We tearfully hugged the bride and groom who had married the previous Saturday afternoon in the quaint blue Catholic church in town.  Please read Get us to the Church on Time– Nicaraguan-style if you missed out on the love and romance and want some for Valentine’s Day.

We loaded into the little white shuttle bus and bounced back to the airport in Managua.  We prepared to board an American Airlines flight which would bring us out of this beautiful complex developing-nation and back into our gringo comfort zones.

Such interesting colorful architecture everywhere you look

Two weeks ago already!

Sometimes it feels like it happened twenty years ago, in a dream.  I am already back in “home-mode” busy with everyday life.

Yesterday, sorting and filing and backing-up photos, I lingered in the Nicaraguan file and remembered once again…

Rooms for rent. In case you want to explore Nicaragua for a while.

And thought, “Heck!  I haven’t finished showing my blog readers some of these photos!  I don’t care if they are tired of Nicaragua and want to see snow photos from the unfrozen shores of Lake Superior.  I want to pause one more time and remember our incredible visit to this country!”

Guess what readers?

Blog writer wins!

You have to admire the Nicaraguan scenery and people and flora and fauna yet one more time.  (OK, you can turn away and go searchin’ for snow on other blogs if you like.  Or come back soon.  I’m sure the Snow Goddess will insist upon photos of snow here soon.)


Here’s an interesting fact I may have forgotten to share.  Even though metal-roofed shacks dot the countryside and many cannot afford an adequate standard of living–almost every house features a satellite dish.

I kid you not.

Don't forget to eat the best lobster dinner of your life for under 15 bucks

Settle down to scroll through some of the photos on this Valentine’s Day when your heart is soft and sweet.  I will tell you a funny story later on.   Or you can go back and re-read the other Nicaraguan blogs:

Hola!  from San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Please don’t step on the chicken in the coffee shop (and other Nicaraguan photos)

Danger in Nicaragua

Or sit on barstools around an old boat and pretend you're an expatriate.

Then again, some establishments don't open until later in the day.

Just look at this expanse of beach... The tiki-hut restaurants...

Cries of children playing. Boats in harbor.

Vibrant multi-colored tropical leaves

And flowers...

People sitting. Pink building.

Maybe you want to rent DVD tonight?

Querida, which one looks good to you?

Looking in

Looking further in through one of the many open doors.


Two worlds

Two worlds indeed

Do you want to buy?

Here is the story I promised you.

When we reached the Managua airport last Tuesday, we jostled through crowds to check our luggage, fill out appropriate customs forms, hurdle security.  After a long hour, we finally reached our gate.  We heaved a sigh of relief, when suddenly, the loudspeaker blared requesting my mother’s presence at the podium.

My 79 year old mother?

Oh no, what was happening?

Five of us hurried to the podium where a Nicaraguan official awaited.

In halting English he requested that Joanne accompany him.  Her checked suitcase had been detained.  Perhaps she was smuggling?  (No, no, he didn’t suggest such a thing.  He simply wanted Joanne to follow him back across the airport to her large suitcase so the TSA could dig through her undergarments and wedding clothes.)  Another gringo from the U.S., an older gentleman, was also flagged.

Off went Joanne.

Of course the rest of us–OK, some of us–were nervous, fitful.  We waited.  We waited some more.  Joanne did not reappear.

My dad, trooper that he was, announced, “I am not leaving Nicaragua without your mom!”

Of course, we all agreed.  We would stay.  We would not desert Joanne in her hour of incarceration.

More time passed.

Finally, at the far end of the terminal, I saw Joanne and sprinted toward her.

“Mom, are you OK?” I breathed, heart-pounding, quivering with relief.

She arched her eyebrow as if to say, “What are you exaggerating about now, Kathy?”

“Oh yes!” she replied cheerfully, “I have a new best friend from the Jersey Shore!”

(We worry about her for a half hour and she has a new best friend…)

Turns out the Nicaraguan TSA had rifled through her luggage at least 16 times (or at least over and over and over again) looking, looking, looking.  They continually shook Dad’s shaving cream as if to determine its suspicious contents.  They searched and searched.  They turned up nothing.  She engaged in light conversation with the other gentlemen from the U.S., attempting to ease his nervousness.

Of course they turned up nothing!  Of all the people to flag–our mother should have been the LAST one to have her suitcase searched.

However, as we have repeated at least 26 times, of all the people to have their suitcase searched by a Central American government–my mom was probably the best candidate.

She was as calm and cool as a cucumber.

She’s still wondering what was the big deal.

Adios, gringos. Don't go forgetting us any time soon.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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58 Responses to I’ve returned to Nicaragua!

  1. Brenda Hardie says:

    You are too funny Kathy! Your story-telling has got me in stitches this morning 😀 Thank you for sharing more pictures of the lovely tropics, especially on this snowy and dreary Valentines Day. (Heikki Lunta finally came through with some snow for us!…better late than ever eh!) By the way, I love the first picture…those doors are gorgeous!
    Happy Valentines Day Kathy ♥

  2. jeffstroud says:

    It is always good to take a stroll in a warm colorful place… Thank you for sharing these lovely photos…

    You story is captivating and enjoyable as always.

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, I love to tell stories. They make the heart sing. I am glad you enjoyed the stroll on the Nicaragua streets…would love to see the beautiful photos you would capture.

  3. Reggie says:

    Such a relief your mom did not get left behind! And that everything was okay.

    • Kathy says:

      A major relief! Well, we wouldn’t have let her get left behind. We would all have stayed. It was a tense moment, but it ended well. These tense moments seem to happen in travel…yet, it all seems worth it…

  4. The colors in each of the photographs simply astounds me — faded or bright, there’s color everywhere!

  5. Colleen says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day Kathy! Would love to be sitting on one of those bar stools in the sand, savoring that lobster dinner. Your photos and stories have been (and are) a delight! Capturing the beauty and the complexity, the contradictions. To bad there wasn’t a way to share the smells and fragrances as well.

    Yikes, what is going on in TSA’s collective minds! My Mom had the same experience the one and only time she came to visit us down here. She flew from Canada, 87 years old, not an experienced traveller, by herself, and was flagged for a VERY thorough security check. Like your Mom, thank heavens, she came through calm, cool and collected 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, I would like to be sharing a lobster dinner with you and Rick and Barry! I am glad you like the stories and photos. They are so fun to share. Capturing those contradictions seem essential…our minds so seem to like to reduce things to a simple view, rather than a kaleidoscope of views. Your poor mama. My mom is only 79 (shhh…) but it still seemed unnecessary. Except look what stories we can now tell!

  6. Carol says:

    Do you ever wonder about those TSA people? I mean, is there a special thrill in searching through people’s personal belongings? Do they have an obsession with mature women’s things? I worry.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, I don’t know if you meant your comment to be funny (or serious) but for some reason this tickled my funny bone and I’m sitting here laughing. An obsession with mature women’s things? I’ll be that was the reason those TSA so-and-so’s flagged my mom!

  7. P.j. grath says:

    Love the pictures, Kathy. Thanks for sharing more of your trip abroad. I’m laughing, too, because (while it takes a different form, at least today) I am afflicted by the same blog-addiction. Replaced my power source yesterday, only to discover this morning that it was NOT the source of the PROBLEM! Cannot recharge! Am running low on battery! But I couldn’t resist posting to my blot this morning and catching up on everyone else’s, too! Adios, amiga! What is the word for “soon”? Siempre me olvido!

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, Pamela, Pamela…. We are NOT addicted with blogging. We are passionate. An entirely different matter. 🙂 Your poor computer. I know it will be fixed as soon as possible so you can re-assert your passion with proper fervor. As for soon–I had to look it up–how could we forget? PRONTO!

  8. I often wonder what makes airport security choose some of the people that end up getting searched…..

    I recently went through a huge batch of photos that a co-worker of mine took while on her 3 week trip to Peru. That was one of the things that stood out to me, the homes looked very poor – but everyone had Direct TV!!!

    Wonderful photos – keep sharing if you’ve got more – I love ’em!! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Isn’t that a trip? (Pun intended!) About your observation of your friend’s photos re the Peru vacation. I am so glad you are enjoying these, Holly. I think I’ve used all the acceptable ones, but shall keep the eye peeled in case there are more. 🙂 HUGS!

  9. Dana says:

    Gorgeous photos, and a welcome trip back to virtual Nicaragua! 🙂 If I was your mother, even if I was POSITIVE I had nothing to hide to the TSA, I would have still been anxious while they rifled through my things. It would have been like a liquor store experience times 10,000. Lucky it was her and not, say… you. 😉

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha, Dana! My mother is so cool. She didn’t even bat an eyelash. She knew those TSA folks were in error. I, on the other hand, would be sure that I was smuggling back, say–Nicaraguan chocolates. Or something probably illegal, that you didn’t even know about. However, I would be secretly thrilled about the Story Opportunity. Wouldn’t you? I think we attract stories for our writing pleasure.

      • Dana says:

        This is true! I would mostly be worried about somebody else (sinister and evil) sneaking something actually illegal into my bag when I wasn’t paying attention. Maybe I’ve seen one too many Hollywood movies about gun and drug smuggling? (And who knows why– I don’t even LIKE movies like that!) 😉

        • Kathy says:

          You are so right! I didn’t even think about this. Why–maybe not even a sinister and evil source. Maybe one of my BROTHERS might have thought, well, doesn’t Kathy look all innocent and sweet. Let’s put our Nicaraguan KNIVES in her suitcase, she’ll never even know.

          Of course, I am sure my brothers would have never done such a thing. It’s my evil and sinister imagination…right? 😉

          • Dana says:

            I hope so! Mostly I’m a rosy-glasses kind of girl, but occasionally I’ll be tainted with suspicions about the evil lurking within others… not evil within me, though. I’m a saint! 😉

            • Kathy says:

              Phew. At least there are two of us saints in this hemisphere. Phew…
              (Should I put up another winky-face? Or should we just nod suavely, yep, we’re Saints-in-Training, no evil within us, winky-face, winky-face…)

              Dana, do you ever get the feeling that we don’t have enough to do in our rural lives? tee hee….

              • Dana says:

                From now on, I’m pretty sure the winky-faced emoticon will be a wordless understanding between the two of us.

                And as far as work goes, I’m totally sick today and don’t feel guilty about using what little strength I have to surf the internet. The web is healing for me… at least that’s the story I’m going to stick to if anybody asks.

  10. gigi says:

    I miss the chicken in bookstore feeling. Growing up in a small town, it seems that there was always activity.

    The city in winter is too hard to get out in.

    Love your stories but your mom’s experience is why I’m getting more & more hesitant to fly anywhere!

    • Kathy says:

      Gigi, wasn’t that chicken precious? I loved that chicken. I want to have latte with a chicken once again. Winter can be so hard in northern climes. So hard… I know what you mean about not wanting to fly. Sometimes I don’t want to travel because there’s always tension. But it’s so worth it! Don’t let a little tension limit you… you can use the tension for Exciting Stories Later.

  11. john says:

    Every time I watch House Hunters International on HGTV and they show some tropical land that some Americans are moving to, I think to myself that one day I will turn on the TV to see you and Barry with some expat realtor looking at some casa on a beach near the equator,

    When TV crew comes back in 6 months to see how the couple is doing they are going to find you sitting in a Lotus position on the sand facing the ocean. Barry, the new editor of Hammock World magazine, will be on the porch trying out a new product getting all the Zzzzzzs in that he missed while splitting wood.

    • Kathy says:

      John, I am typing fast to get to your comment before Barry reads it. He always says he will NEVER move from Lake Superior. He says they don’t have 220-feet ice fishin’ down there in Nicaragua. I am trying to convince him. So far it isn’t working. Even with bum knees, he loves winters here. So he says………will keep you informed.

  12. Great photos, Kathy. So sorry that happened to your mom. I don’t know if my mom would have handled that as well.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Barry!


    • Kathy says:

      We were sooooo glad that certain others in our party–who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent–were not flagged. My mom thinks it was all a piece of cake, no need to be sorry, all in a day’s unfolding. Thank you for the Valentine’s Day wish! The same to you and Sara.

  13. Barb says:

    I’m not tired of these tropical photos, Kathy! I love looking down the streets & into doorways. Glad your Mom didn’t have any contraband! We skied in fresh snow today – did you get some, too?

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, I am glad you enjoyed these! Glad my mom wasn’t into smuggling. Fresh snow? Nah…ok, maybe a skiff. Nothing to write home to mom about…

  14. Heather says:

    I love the flowers, and tiki huts, and I wasn’t even hungry until you suggested lobster, and now I’m contemplating some crab alfredo. I’m glad things went smoothly with your mom. I had a scary moment last May worrying about how I couldn’t take my shoe off my left leg (in a cast), and how TSA would handle it. Luckily we flew out of Flint, and they were very nice and easy-going about the whole affair. There was also the time we got searched with an entire backpack full of mini muffins, after working with an engineer on the Hostess plant in Indiana… Flying always presents a story, or two, doesn’t it?

  15. Not only a great blog but also all the comments!
    Loved the colors
    Missed the chicken
    Would like to sit on the stools
    Like your mom’s approach to the search
    We should all fly away from here
    Sit on a beach
    In a lotus position
    US is in a …..
    fill in the blank.

  16. Dawn K says:

    Love the color there…and your photos. I would have been freaked out to have them haul me back to relook at my luggage. You have a cool Mom!

  17. Munira says:

    Your mother is wayyyy cool Kathy 🙂
    Great photos. Lovely seeing Nicaragua through your eyes.

  18. What a wonderfully colorful place! Your mom and the rest of you were very brave – I think I would have had a meltdown being led off without anyone from my family to come with me…

    • Kathy says:

      Yep, Barbara, certain among us would have had a meltdown, too. (Don’t know what my dad would have done…) But Mom’s so independent, it was just run-of-the-mill for her. I am glad you enjoyed the photos of this beautiful place.

  19. wolfsrosebud says:

    that’s what’s sweet about vacations… we can always revisit our memories and pics

  20. Smaktakula says:

    Great post. One of the awesome things about travel (and a few of the other comments have touched on this nicely) is that it never leaves you. If you spend money on a new car, for example, it’s unlikely you’ll have that car in ten years. In ten years, you’ll STILL have the trip to Nicaragua.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for sharing these thoughts Smaktakula. I love the way you think. Too bad we need those cars…don’t you sometimes dream of just traveling free in the world? I do.

  21. Claire says:

    A great read about so much and so varied.The time scale from when you were there to now behaves in a strange and inexplicable way, dream like not reality.Love the photos from Nicaragua.:)

  22. Robin says:

    I’m so happy I stopped in here today so I could be warmed by your beautiful photos and wonderful storytelling. 🙂

  23. Sybil says:

    Does a place you’ve visited still exist once you’ve left it ?

    My teeny brain struggles enough with where I am now …

    • Kathy says:

      That is SUCH a good question, Sybil. If your brain figures it out, please let me know. I love to ponder things like this. Which says the brain could probably be put to better use. lol!

  24. Pingback: My Mother Got Stuck in an Elevator! « Lake Superior Spirit

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