Changes

I’m making some changes to my blog. I’m finishing up the blogging workshop and decided now was a good time to do this.

I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do or how it will work out. I do have some help here at the moment.

I hope I don’t screw things up too badly! It will probably take another couple of days (at least) before I’m comfortable again.

Just In Time

I left Granada this morning on the Ticabus (there is alsoTransnica) and arrived in Costa Rica just in time to start my blogging workshop this afternoon. 🙂

I really didn’t think it would take SO long to drive such a short distance! The bus left Granada right on time at 0700 sharp! We got to the border around 0830 and didn’t get through there til almost 1100!

We all piled off the bus and hung around waiting for ????? (they did make announcements in Spanish but I am not at that level yet). No one was allowed back on the bus. It was hot, but thank goodness we had a nice breeze and the clouds helped a lot. There were all kinds of locals hanging around.

They had food and drinks: regular little roadside restaurants with tables in the shade set up selling bar-b-que chicken and plaintain chips. Cold water, fruit juices and sodas. Lots of people wandering around to change money, sell you sim cards for your phones, guys selling leather shoes and trinkets, gum and cigarettes (individually), hammocks, women selling sweets and cashew nuts.

After about an hour and a half, a little Nicaraguan lady came out of the station with our passports. She called our names one by one and we were allowed to collect our passports and re-enter the bus. We drove about 300 meters and had to go through the whole rigamarole again on the Costa Rican side of the border (tho it went much faster there). I’m sure glad we didn’t have to wait for the dozens of trucks!

They dropped me off around noon at the Ticabus station in Liberia where I tried to find another bus to my final destination. The bus from Granada just goes direct to San Jose. The ticket costs the same $29 whether you want to get off in Liberia or go all the way to San Jose.

I probably could have found something to get me a little closer to the beach, but since I was cutting it so close to the time the class started, I just took a cab.

There are shuttle buses that run from the airport to the resorts, but it would have cost me $10-15 to get to the airport and then another $20-25 from there. Considering the extra time, I figured it was worth it to just take the cab straight from the bus station for $40 direct to the hotel. My driver Angel was fast and spoke enough English to make the trip even more interesting. 😉

More manana!

Nicaragua Here I Come!

I finally got my vacation! I’ve been asking about it since April. I had to work 2 months straight to ensure I had the dates I needed off so I could attend a blogging workshop in Costa Rico. It was really just pure luck that it worked out that I could do that.  My boss told me a while ago that I could have that week off, but who wants to travel so far just to spend a week in class? Not me!

So, I got home from the ship late Friday night after 2+ days of traveling from Luanda, Angola. I spent all weekend trying to catch up on rest and mail. Monday was spent running errands and returning phone calls. Tuesday morning, I set the alarm for 0300 so I could make the 0845 flight to Managua. Even then, I almost didn’t make it!

Arrival in Managua was a nice change. Quiet and simple. No long lines or huge hassles. Ricardo, my driver, was waiting for me right outside. I had arranged this through my chosen school, Nicaragua Mia.

Nicaragua has dozens of Spanish language schools. They’re all very affordable and they all seemed to offer pretty much the same deal. I wanted to get out of Managua right away and thought Granada sounded good, so I picked a school there. Nicaragua Mia got the nod since they answered my email immediately and I was setting all this up last minute.

Ricardo took me directly to the school where I could finalize my choices for the week (how many hours of classes, any afternoon activities, etc). Then he took me to the home of my local host, Maria Elena. She was very nice and welcoming. She showed me my room and asked me what I wanted for dinner (in Spanish).

view from my balcony

view from my balcony

I decided to take a walk after getting settled in. Lake Nicaragua is just a few blocks down the street, so I walked over there. There’s a nice park and malecon along the lakeshore. People were hanging out over refrescos and helados (ice creams). I wandered around til it started getting dark and then headed back to my room.

Lake Nicaragua

Lake Nicaragua

When I managed to find my way back to the house, it was already dark and Maria Elena had dinner waiting for me. We had dinner together of pollo, pinto gallo, and verdes (chicken, rice & beans, and vegetables).

I was still dead tired from the last few hectic days, so I hit the sack by 10:00. School starts at 08:00 and breakfast here is at 07:30. I hope I can catch up on some sleep soon! I really hate to be falling asleep when there are so many interesting adventures awaiting. 🙂

my room en la casa de Maria Elena

my room en la casa de Maria Elena

 

Share Your World

I always like to see Cee’s interesting questions and answers for her Share Your World Challenges. She also has some really great photography challenges going on every week. Here’s my response to the challenge for week 27.

What is your favorite month of the year? I really had to think about this one for a while. It depends on my location. Here’s my perspective from living in SE Texas. I really don’t like the summer months. From May until at least September, it’s just too damn hot, muggy and buggy (pesky mosquitos!) to enjoy being outside at all. The winter months from November- February are’nt usually too cold, but then we have a lot of really dull, dreary, rainy, and still muggy weather. The days when the Northers have blown through and the skies are clear and bright blue and the air is fresh and crisp are beautiful, but there aren’t enough of them.

I do like the fall, the weather is starting to cool off again where it’s nice to spend time outside and there’s Halloween to look forward to. I also love March-April. The weather is still cool, the air is fresh and clean, the plants are all starting to grow again and I look forward to checking my ‘garden’ every morning. I look forward to seeing the flowers start blooming. Lots of my neighbors let the bluebonnets take over their yards.Texas wildflowers are just stunningly beautiful in the Spring! I guess my favorite month would have to be March. For all the reasons I mentioned for spring, AND we have St Patricks Day to celebrate in Surfside! 🙂

Irish pirates

Irish pirates

Do you drink coffee at all? I’m not a big fan of coffee. I don’t really see what the big deal is all about. I can’t understand the admiration for all the expensive, fancy drinks at places like Starbucks. I almost never drink coffee at home, I usually wake up and have a cup of hot tea and then drink iced tea all day long. When I’m on the ship, I’ll drink coffee. Just because it’s there.

What was one of your first moneymaking jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)? I worked for my father around his rental properties and on the boat. He paid me $3 per hour. He’d have me clean up between tenants, paint, plumbing (unclogging sinks and toilets), pulling weeds and taking care of the plants, etc. During school breaks, he would take me out fishing with him and I would cut bait, bait the hooks and help gut and ice down the fish. I got out of that as soon as I could!

My first ‘real’ job was down the street on the party boats. I got hired on as a ‘galley girl’. I could only go out on the weekends. We made 2 trips a day. I would tend the galley selling drinks and microwave sandwiches. When nobody was interested in food, I would help the deckhands baiting hooks, cutting bait, untangling lines, getting fish off hooks and putting them up on the ice for the passengers til we got to the dock. Then we would filet the fish for tips and clean up the boat at the end of the day and get it ready to go out again in the morning. I had another job washing dishes at a little Greek restaurant down the street after school too. I kept busy. 😉

We lived across from Dons Dock on the finger bay.

We lived across from Dons Dock on the finger bay.

List:  If you play video/computer games list 5 games you like? I don’t play many games on the computer. I’m not very good at games where you have to be quick. 😉 I do like a couple of them. One of my all time favorites is a game I used to play with the crew on one of my old ships ‘the Performer’. If I remember right, it was called VGA Planets. It was cool. The goal was to ‘take over the universe’. You chose which alien race you wanted to play as. Each one had its own special abilities. You started out from your home world with certain assets. So many spaceships, so much population, so many cities, etc. You chose a strategy to carry out your goal of conquering the universe. Trade or war, shifting alliances with the other players, etc. It would take us a day or so between moves when the controller would roll over the computer so we could make our next move. A game would usually last an entire hitch (maybe more). We worked 5 weeks on, 5 weeks off there. 😉

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I’ve been on the ship at work since the end of May, so not a lot happening with my life here. I am grateful to still have a job since so many in this industry have been laid off already with the plunge in the price of oil. I’m grateful that this type of work allows me more time off than most so I can spend time doing the things I really enjoy. I’m looking forward to getting off here soon (tho not as soon as next week) and attending a blogging workshop in Costa Rica. I’ll spend a couple of weeks exploring down that way after the class.

Sunday Stills: White

I found a new challenge in my reader today. It’s Ed’s Sunday Stills. There are some really nice photos by people participating. Here’s my entry. 🙂 I actually posted this picture before, I took it when I was sailing as captain of a tuna boat out in the South Pacific.

Time Off?

I’m still on the rig. Everyone I came out with has already gone home. The hitch here is 4 weeks on, 4 weeks off. I’m still in the pool so I don’t really have a relief, but the guy who was supposed to be coming back to relieve me just ‘resigned’. He just had enough of all the BS we have to deal with out here. I can’t blame him at all. I’m just about in the same frame of mind at this point.

People are a little surprised I’m not upset about staying out here longer. I am upset about a lot of other things going on around here, but staying over isn’t too high on the list right now. Actually, this works out well for me. I’ve been trying to get time off to take a trip down to Costa Rica for another writing/blogging/photography course. I’ve been asking for months and never getting any reply. This is the same course I signed up for last year and had to cancel when they messed up my schedule last year.

When I signed up for it this year, it was in the middle of my scheduled time off. They changed around my schedule a couple of times and all the sudden it was in the middle of my time on! So, now if I work over a couple of weeks, it will be back in the middle of my time off again.

It sucks to have to struggle so hard to get the time off I need to do anything. I can’t plan for anything. I ‘d really like to start booking flights, hotel rooms, etc but I can’t since I still don’t know when I’m getting off here.

I’m hoping to spend at least 3 weeks down there. Costa Rica, maybe rent a car and check out some of the other countries nearby? Anybody have any suggestions?

Snapshot

I thought I might do another post for the Daily Post’s prompt of the day. Today’s is called ‘Snapshot Stories‘ and here’s the challenge…

Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there . Tell us the story of that photo.

I don’t have many pictures of me. I don’t really like to have my picture taken. I just don’t feel like I look. I don’t like to be reminded of how I really do look. I feel bad about my weight and how I look. So, I usually avoid having my picture taken.

 

In the photo above, I was on a trip to Thailand and was spending a few days in Chang Mai. I took a day trip with a group of people to visit the Hill Tribes. I had my picture taken with some of the ‘Longnecks’ in their village. I think this was about the only picture of me for that whole trip. I spent 3-4 weeks over there that trip. Had a blast!

PS-the featured image is from the same day, later on, at another village.