Thursday, November 21, 2013

LIFE'S A BEACH !!!!! San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

True to his word, tucker was there to pick up our luggage at 10am last Friday morning. Still needing to do some packing, tucker went home and Mike and I walked into town to drop off keys, do a little shopping, and have breakfast at the Garden cafe.

I had stopped into Ole the day before and spotted a short dress that I really liked so I tried it on and it fit like a glove. Can't wait to wear it!

And, Marti had been told us about this lady who had bags full of brand name clothing like Columbia camp shirts, etc. So off we went to find her on the square.  She wasn't there but everyone was so helpful in letting us know that her "stuff" was being "minded" by the lady running the souvenir shop.  Success!!!  Mike found 2 terrific shirts for $18/ea, when in the states they would be at least $45+.

A short cab ride over to Tucker's place and we were off to San Juan del Sur.  Mike was driving the Subaru and I the passenger.  Keep in mind that this is the first time he's driven since leaving the states in early July and it's a Latin American country! Of course, he did great without any near misses but it did get dicey when the rain came down in torrents and Tucker was still passing horse carts, bicycles, slow moving vehicles, people running across the highway, and 3 wheel taxis.  But, alas, we got here safely!

That's Tucker up ahead in his jeep and you can see the windmill farm to the left. Have just been informed that by 2017, Nicaragua plans on being completely self power through windmills & geothermal.  We like those plans!



We made a short stop at Tucker's new place to unload his stuff and a tour of the beautiful development of what I call "hobbit houses" with community pool and we were loaded back in the Subaru for Tucker to take us to our new home down by the beach in town.





Tucker, Mike, & Brian enjoying a cold one.

A short 5 min drive down the road and we were quickly at our place, unloaded and unpacked in our new "home" for the next month.  Park Avenue Villas (www.parkavenuevillas.com) is in a great location just on the northern edge of town and back a block off the beach on a quiet - did I say QUIET - dead end street.  After our horrific experience with our rental in Granada, we were soooo looking forward to peace and quiet and getting our first full night's sleep in a month!!

Front Entry and one side of PAV.

The view from the side. The big window is our bedroom.

Entry walk.

Center Pool where we do water aerobics 2-3 times a week.

Our first evening here, we gathered with a few expats at the local watering hole on the beach, Dorado's, got to know each other, had drinks and watched the sunset.  I was in absolute heaven!!






 
Gord & Elisha McKay, Kara, Glenn, & Mike at Dorado's right on the beach for sunset drinks.

Life truly doesn't get any better than this!!

Those greeting us upon our arrival have now become our friends, Renda, Ralph, Chad, and Kim. There is another couple from Halifax, Canada that are here for 5 months through the winter, Louis and Mandy, that have quickly become friends, as well. Kim and Chad just moved here 3 weeks ago and are working and living here with Renda and Ralph.  We all are enjoying each other's company and a community atmosphere has taken hold. 

We have truly settled in nicely and are enjoying our lazy laid back days.  We're back to our "normal" routine of enjoying being at home, doing our morning routine except that now I have my coffee on the veranda with the ocean view, walking on the beach, taking a dip in the pool in our complex, walking through town for groceries and to explore, but most of all gathering each evening to visit with our neighbors to catch up on our days, compare travel stories, talk about our expat experiences, and have a few drinks while watching the sunset.  Life just doesn't get much better than this!!



Chad, Kim, Mandy, Louis, Ralph, Renda, Mike, & Nate.


Saturdays there's a small "farmer's market" in Dave's restaurant in town so that's where we started our grocery shopping.  A bit more expensive but always good to support those expats peddling their wares.  For me the best is the smoked ham by Mark.  OMG, real home cooked smoked ham!! Awesome!

Yes, you're seeing correctly, a monkey. Actually, Mike didn't get a picture of the lady who owns them (there are 2). She's actually a sight to be seen, as well. A bit eccentric.



This is a 26 meter statute of Jesus and is the 2nd largest in the world just behind Brazil's.


 

As you can see, the bay is actually quite small.



The Main Square that is all blocked off on the weekends so the kids can play in the streets.

These are dancers on the beach.




Mike is still trying to figure out the best place to watch football.  Sunday he was at Dorado's, Monday night at Iguana's.  I think after dinner tonight we're going to go see what's up a the Bario Café.

Water aerobics are led in our pool by our host, Renda with many of us in attendance, a couple of times a week.  Even the guys are doing it and Mike even had some sore parts the next day. 

Tuesday saw the departure of a couple we had just met, Nate and Denise.  They were here on a week's vacation but had to get back to work in Long Beach.  Soooo, Mike and I took the opportunity to move into their apartment on the upper terrace.  The biggest reason was to get closer to the sunset cocktail veranda!  Actually, that was part of the reason but the internet is better up here closer to the router so that was the main reason. LOL  We also now have an ocean bay view from our dining table where I'm sitting now.  Happy Campers!!

Kim's sister and family are arriving this weekend and we will all celebrate Thanksgiving on the veranda next week overlooking the beautiful ocean bay.  After our fabulous Thanksgiving last year with a group of expats at Susan and Kerry Frank's place in Boquete, Panama, we were wondering how we would be spending the holiday this year especially after only arriving.  But this is how life as a traveling expat unfolds....friendship are quickly formed and you get folded into the lives of others.  Expats have such an open warm inviting personality and are always willing to share with those that are embarking on the same journey.

We have really been staying close to home but did meet up with Tucker one evening for a really good chicken and mashed potato meal and then ice cream at Eskimo's on the beach.  For 2 1/4 chicken meals that included rice, mashed potato's, and salad and Mike had his beer and I had my wine the total cost was a whopping $13!! And, the ice cream with 2 scoops in a cup for each of us was $2 total!

Watching the sunset with a huge rain storm out at sea. Awesome to watch!




After a wonderful exploratory walk along the beach and to the other side of the river yesterday afternoon, Mike and I made the decision that we were, for the very first time, going to look at some annual rental properties to get an idea if reality and our wish list are close together.  So next week, we hope to be able to see a few places.

Tonight we had a community BBQ so Mandy, Louis, Mike and I went into town and bought a huge slab of filet mignon to share with Kim and Chad.  My, oh my, was it ever good!! Nothing like BBQ grilled tender, very tender meat!!  Add mashed potato's and a cucumber/tomato balsamic salad and it's a real winner!

Tomorrow morning we will actually be traveling back to Granada via shuttle, as we've been invited to a house warming party.  Steve Owen returned from the states on Tuesday, so we will be staying with him and Mardi in their guest room.  This will also let us get together for the Friday expat gathering and attend a concert at The Garden Café. So looking forward to it!

So our first week was a success and we are thoroughly enjoying our location and surroundings.  I caught a cold but it seems to be passing pretty quickly this time and hasn't kept me from enjoying life.  Oh, and I've got a surprise for next week.  So stay tuned as our journey continues.....

 
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