Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Comes to an End! San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

 Last Wednesday evening a group of 10 of us got gussied up for a night out. We were going to the restaurant pool side at the local hillside resort of Pelican Eyes. What was supposed to be a "feast" of both chicken and beef with buffet for sides turned out to be a very overpriced meal that left some of us still hungry in the end. In reality you got a choice of chicken or beef and the portions looked like one bite full. And, they ran out of servings of sides on the buffet table.

Mandy & Louis
Ralph & Renda, the owners of Park Avenue Villas.

Me, my new tattoo, & Mike

Town Square all lit up with Christmas lights.
Our table of friends!

Me & Mike

Local Dancers all in white. 



To be fair though, the band playing wonderful music and the local dancers did delight us in our beautiful surroundings. But I certainly wouldn't do it again. For the cost of our meal and drinks, we could have had several meals with drinks in town that tasted better and would have been more satisfying. Live and learn.

It's hard for me to believe that it's the holiday season, again!  Last year we spent our first expat Thanksgiving in Boquete, Panama with a wonderful group of expats that we didn't know until that day but have since continued our friendship through the internet. I can't imagine my life now without them. I so wanted to be with them again this year, but that was not to be.

Thanksgiving 2012 - Boquete, Panama

This year we spent Thanksgiving with a new group of expats that have become our friends here in San Juan del Sur. It's also hard to believe that all of these new friends that we have "collected" along our journey haven't always been a part of our life.

The friendships that are forged through our sharing a unique lifestyle is a very strong bond. It does take a certain type of adventurous soul to move away from your home country with comforts and embrace the ebb and flow of the more rustic lifestyle of doing without many of the creature comforts that are taken for granted back home. Although I must say that Mike and I had lived a more rustic back to the land life style in the states and had lived and worked together 24/7, so it was very good training for this journey. We have been less affected than many we have met.

Our Thanksgiving feast was a collected effort by 9 of us doing all of the cooking, set up, and cleanup although there were 13 at the table with us. I so enjoyed the hustle and bustle and the sharing of our efforts as the 9 of us moved back and forth between our respective apartments all day checking on each other's cooking wanting to know if anyone needed help. The aromas wafting out into the courtyard were overwhelmingly delicious!

Our efforts were not a disappointment to anyone as we shared our meal on the veranda overlooking the bay and the gorgeous sunset we were graced with!  Truly a time to give thanks for being alive and being in such a beautiful place at this time in our lives. It was also a time for missing those that we love who couldn't be with us. 


The cast of characters at Thanksgiving 2013!

As it was Pam's (Kim's sister from MN) last evening here, 7 of us went out to Iguana's for goodbye drinks and to watch the night football game. Chad, Kim, Pam, Louis, Mandy, Mike and me had a wonderful ending to our day. 

Instead of having the malls and stores available to us for shopping on Black Friday, we spent the day doing normal things. Mike went to water aerobics with Renda and Ralph while I worked on email Christmas cards to all of our friends around the world. Another great way to be able to let them all know that we think of them often and our memories together will forever be cherished.

As is the custom to have leftovers the day after Thanksgiving, we too had our leftover party. Boy, did it taste better the second time around. But, the party didn't end with dinner. The guys pulled out the poker chips and us gals played a domino game.  We hooped and hollered louder than the guys and I suppose we kept some awake even though we brought the evening to a close fairly early.  Maybe it was a good thing because Mike was the big winner at poker with a whopping $13 and might have lost it all back if he'd had more time.  LOL

Every Saturday morning there is a "farmer's market" at Big Wave Dave's, but this Saturday was the Black Friday market held at the sports complex in town.  Unfortunately, there weren't as many vendors as they had anticipated and after only about 10 minutes, we were finished with our buying spree with 3 homemade snicker doodle cookies and a banana chocolate chip bread.  So Mike and I then walked into town to do our real shopping of a few things we needed.

Since we had plans of going out that evening, we hung close to home and I even took a nap, which I almost never do, until time for our usual evening cocktail hour on the veranda.  Mike and I then sauntered down to La Tren, a martini bar where they were having the book swap.  However, most times it's really just an excuse to get together and drink.  Mike did have a martini and I had my usual vino blanco (white wine).  I must say, at least in Nicaragua, white wine is chilled and so is the red. Whereas, in most of Latin America, only the red is chilled.

From there, Mike and I went up to Cha Cha Cha, a new restaurant run by our new friends, Glen and his brother, Steve.  Had to try it out, as Kim and Chad had already eaten there and said it was really good food.  Well, I can certainly attest to the good food!! 

But, the bonus was chairs with real cushions and comfortable backs. That alone is worth going there.  This is another one of those minor irritations that you give up to live this lifestyle in Latin America.  No one had comfortable chairs or couches.  The chairs are usually hard wood with absolutely straight upright backs.  Not conducive to sitting for long periods of time but you put up with it because that's all there is.  So THANK YOU for having very comfortable chairs!!  We'll be back.

Our next destination was to El Timon on the beach.  This is quite a nice restaurant that has just reopened after major renovations.  We joined Kim, Chad, Louis, Mandy, Renda, and Ralph to listen to a local group for live music.  It was evident that they were new to playing to a crowd but they did get things together and gave a very nice performance that we all enjoyed.

I guess I must have been quite happy last night because I could feel it this morning and Mike says he will never mix martinis with beer again.  LOL  All part of having a good time on retirement.

Even though we were moving a bit slow this morning, we did get ourselves together to go for brunch with the group up to the beautiful resort of Villas at Palmera just outside of town.  The van from the resort came to pick us all up and we enjoyed a beautiful drive into the lush grounds.  We were ushered to our table on the veranda overlooking the pool and the ocean in the distance.

The menu was fabulous with an all you can eat buffet, or individual delicious plate combinations with the price being about $6.50 for most items including unlimited juice and coffee.  Lovely!  And, as always, the conversation was lively and fun. 

Mike and Louis have spent most of the day watching the football games in town at Dorado's while I had a wonderful 1.5 hr. Skype conversation with my good friend, Faye Nelson, and work on the blog.  A fabulous way to idle the day away!


Another stunning sunset topped the day off and we're now just kicking back in our place with the night football game on TV and I'm finishing the blog.

And, so the month of November came to an end and the "real" countdown to Christmas arrives for me.  I guess I will go shopping on line again this year. 

Who knows what's up for this coming week.  Thoughts of taking the bus into Rivas to check the town out and catching a ride to one of the "other" beaches via shuttle trucks that are all over town.  We'll probably do the beach after Tuesday, as then I can go back out in the sun with my tattoo.  Which is doing quite nicely, I must say. 

And, so we continue to lead a nice fun filled lifestyle in the small surfing village of San Juan del Sur. Thanks for coming along on our journey.....

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