One Word Photo Challenge: Cat

With all the problems I’ve been having with my computers/internet lately, I’ve lost track of a  lot of the bloggers I usually follow. Jennifer and her One Word Photo Challenge is one of those. I only remembered tonight when I saw a post from Cee (another great photographer I follow) in my reader.

This weeks theme is- Cat. Check out the link and join in the challenge. 🙂

I like cats. I can’t have any pets since I’m usually gone so much. Even a cat would starve to death by the time I got back from offshore. There’s a nice cat that lives a few houses down that comes by to visit me. Not so much now that my friends (who’ve been feeding it) have been gone a few days. I don’t have any pictures of that one yet, I was going to try to get some, but when I went for my camera, she was gone.

Here’s a photo of a kitten I took on vacation in Nicaragua last summer. It’s one of the very few I still have (most of my photos from that trip were stolen). 🙁

See Sea Turtles on Thursday!

I just got this email from the Houston Zoo (I’m a member). They’ve been helping to save sea turtles with other organizations around the world. This Thursday (May 26th), they’re turning some loose on the beach in Galveston. 🙂

If you’re anywhere around the area, it would be a real treat to come out and watch. Here’s the announcement I got…

Watch Sea Turtles Return to Wild 

Thanks to a rewarding partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), nine injured sea turtles have been rehabilitated and are ready to be returned to the wild. The release will take place Thursday, May 26 promptly at 2:00 p.m. at Stewart Beach Park, 201 Seawall Blvd. The public is invited to come out and witness this exciting release.
I’m going to put it on my calendar and take another drive up to Galveston. That is, IF the weather is better than the last time I was up there! 😉
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I went to see the turtles when I was in Nicaragua too, but it was too dark to see much. I hope the weather holds and I can really see them this time.

A to Z: Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a beautiful and interesting country. There is so much to see and do there. Volcanos to hike or surf, jungles to explore, rivers to raft, oceans (2) to swim or surf, historic cites, small farming or crafting towns to visit, local markets to shop, you’ll never get bored.

I spent a few weeks vacation in Nicaragua last summer (they called me down there to lay me off). I was actually going to attend another blogging workshop in Costa Rica. It was much cheaper to fly into Managua (and cheaper for everything else too), so I decided to spend more time exploring Nicaragua instead of Costa Rica.

I started off by taking a Spanish immersion class for a week in Granada at Nicaragua Mia. They picked me up at the airport in Managua and delivered me to my home for the week with Sra Maria Elena. She took very good care of me while I was there and even gave me a nice birthday cake. 🙂

I spent the week exploring the beautiful historic city of Granada after my classes at Nicaragua Mia. It’s a small city and very easy to walk everywhere, or if you’re tired you can hop on one of the cute little horse drawn carriages. They’re all over the place and very affordable. I took a tour on one with a local guy and got to see a lot of the city and learn more about it’s history.

I liked to walk the few blocks down to Lake Nicaragua to check out the Malecon. They always had people selling snacks and drinks, sometimes playing music for tips. There were kids playing and couples strolling holding hands.

From there, I could walk back up a few blocks towards town and pass through the lively pedestrian street La Calzada, full of bars and restaurants with outdoor tables and wandering mariachi bands. I usually stopped for a 2 for 1 drink special or ice cream, maybe even stick around for dinner.

From there Central Park, surrounded by churches, hotels and government buildings was the next stop. I liked to go up the church tower to look out over the city skyline and the lake. Then come down to sit in the park (free wi-fi) to watch the ‘action’ for a while- the line of horse carts drumming up business, the food and drink vendors, the families watching their children play, the school kids heading home. It was all nice to see and calming in a way.

I was a little sad to leave Granada and my hostess Maria Elena, but excited to get to Costa Rica for my blogging workshop. I was really hoping to learn how to improve my blog and finally figure out how to monetize it.

After a long day on the bus, crossing the border into Costa Rica, I arrived at the hotel where we would be staying the next week. It was beautiful! Way out of my usual style of travel. Very nice, but unaffordable for the kind of long term stays I like.

I spent the week there with a dozen other bloggers, all of us excited to be learning how to better our blogs. It wasn’t all work and no play. We took day trips to hike a volcano, horseback ride, and to Tamarindo for a day out sailing, snorkeling and fishing.

When the class was over, I headed back to Nicaragua. San Juan del Sur was my destination for the next few days. I found a nice apartment right on the beach. Nothing special, but it was on the beach, close to everything and all I needed (full kitchen, AC, wi-fi). I spent my days walking the beach, wandering around town enjoying the laid back atmosphere, taking lots of photos and an excursion to see the sea turtles come in to lay their eggs.

I could have stayed longer, but I wanted to get back to Granada for the Tope de Toros and Hipica. I was really looking forward to the celebrations. I wanted to watch the ‘running of the bulls’, see all the decorated horse carts and the competitions. I heard it would be a week long, city wide party. I was ready for some of that!

When I arrived, I was disappointed to learn that they had changed the dates at the last minute. Nobody really knew when they would have the parades, etc. But turns out not during my stay. So, I cut it short and headed to Matagalpa. I was ready for some cooler temperatures.

I met an old friend T., from high school there (he was looking to escape his kids), and we had a good time exploring the area. We found a small town of weavers, we checked out a waterfall on the way, we looked through the local markets. It was cooler than Granada and definitely worth the trip.

From there, since T. had a rental car, we headed to Leon, another colonial city. We spent the day hanging out in the city center, looking at old churches, listening to music, checking out a special food and drink show for the trainee bartenders and having lunch.

It was about time to go home, so we headed back to Managua for the last couple of days. I wasn’t really ready to go back home, but I still have too much to do here to just say ‘the hell with it all’ and stay down there. I really need to find a way to get rid of this stuff here!

*A post for the A to Z Challenge (N)

A to Z: Arribada

I’ve joined in the A to Z Challenge, where the challenge is to post something every day for 26 days in April, using the letters of the alphabet. I’m going to try to post twice today, since I had to miss yesterday. I’ve been having so many problems with my computers. The internet has been completely out for 3 days now. Today, it’s back to shutting off at unpredictable intervals so I’m hoping I can catch up…

I was lucky enough to see the arribada last year when I was in Nicaragua. So sorry, I wasn’t able to get any good photos since it was night, it was very dark, and tho they passed out little red lights, they warned us not to shine them at the turtles. It might upset them enough to make them stop laying their eggs. I don’t know why they don’t go see them in the daytime, I never got a straight answer to that question. I hope one day to see them in the daylight. 🙂

I did take a few photos anyway. It was such an amazing experience, I soon gave up messing with the camera. There were dozens of turtles (olive ridleys) coming and going up and down the beach. Like all sea turtles, the olive ridleys are endangered, it was thrilling to see so many of them at once. It was hard to see them, but you could hear them coming and you’d better get out of their way cause they weren’t moving out of your way!

We went as a group (I signed up for a tour at a hostel- Casa Oro– in San Juan del Sur), we all watched a movie before we left and our guide explained everything for us. She even scooped out the sand behind the turtle as it was laying, so we could all see the eggs being deposited.

I’d like to go back someday, it was a fantastic experience. If you ever get the chance to see it, you should! 🙂

Color Your World: Red-Orange

Here’s my entry for Jennifer’s Color Your World Challenge: Red-Orange.

I took this picture back in August. I had gone to Costa Rico for a blogging workshop. I spent a few extra weeks traveling around down there. This picture was taken in Nicaragua. Near San Juan del Sur. During the Arribada, where the sea turtles drag themselves up the beaches to lay their eggs. I highly recommend it. 🙂

Arribada!

I haven’t been doing a whole lot lately. I’ve been out of work and so out of money and so not able to do much traveling. I’m trying to avoid spending money as much as possible while I’m trying to find a new job.

I’ve joined in the Just Jot It January, where the challenge is to ‘jot’ (post) something every day for the month of January. I’m finding it a little hard to find interesting things to post about that often, especially when I’m pretty much stuck at home. Things are really pretty boring around here right now.

I did a post a few days ago about what happened last year. Sabrina, (The Photographicalist), commented on it that she’d like to see some pictures of the arribada. That’s where the sea turtles struggle ashore on the beaches to lay their eggs. I did find one picture (almost all my photos from that trip were stolen).

I was lucky enough to see the arribada last year when I was in Nicaragua. So sorry, I wasn’t able to get any good photos since it was night, it was very dark, and tho they passed out little red lights, they warned us not to shine them at the turtles. It might upset them enough to make them stop laying their eggs. I don’t know why they don’t go see them in the daytime, I never got a straight answer to that question. I hope one day to see them in the daylight. 🙂

I did take a few photos anyway. It was such an amazing experience, I soon gave up messing with the camera. There were dozens of turtles (olive ridleys) coming and going up and down the beach. Like all sea turtles, the olive ridleys are endangered, it was thrilling to see so many of them at once. It was hard to see them, but you could hear them coming and you’d better get out of their way cause they weren’t moving out of your way!

We went as a group (I signed up for a tour at a hostel- Casa Oro– in San Juan del Sur), we all watched a movie before we left and our guide explained everything for us. She even scooped out the sand behind the turtle as it was laying, so we could all see the eggs being deposited.

I’d like to go back someday, it was a fantastic experience. If you ever get the chance to see it, you should!

So Nice!

The weather here in Matagalpa is SO nice! It’s so cool. 🙂

After spending the last couple of weeks down around the coast of Nicaragua and Costa Rica where I was so hot it felt like I was sweating to death every day, it’s great to be in a new place where it’s actually enjoyable to be outside. At night it actually gets a little chilly when the breeze is blowing. 🙂

My old friend Tom from high school on the ship (the Oceanics) showed up the other night to visit me down here. That’s a whole ‘nother story! Yesterday we went to check out the local market which we both have always loved to do. It’s a great way to learn more about how people live. It’s also fantastic for photography.

We went looking for a nearby town that my (2006) guidebook mentioned had an indigenous market with weavings and pottery. Turns out there was no market in San Ramon. Just like when I came back to Granada because the Hipico was supposed to be last weekend and they changed it without telling anyone! Too bad I can’t stick around Granada til the end of the month!

So, since we couldn’t find the indigenous market, we came back through Matagalpa and stopped by to visit a guy I had met in Granada. He’s been living in Matagalpa for a while and knows about the area. He told us about las Cascadas.

It was a beautiful waterfall with a big swimming hole beneath it. We only managed to find it after we stopped to ask directions of a group of kids by the side of the road. One little boy was going that way so we gave him a ride. He told us to stop as we drove right past the place.

It was worth the drive through the mountains. Even with the hairpin curves and steep slopes. The place was really pretty. Lots of plants and flowers. The sound of the waterfall and the little river flowing by. We were the only ones there. We had a little snack and a couple of drinks (non-alcoholic) at the little restaurant /hostel about halfway down the slope.

We made it back to town late in the afternoon and had a quiet evening at the hotel. Sitting out on the veranda having rum and cokes and dinner from the little place next door. Nice BBQ chicken, beef, pork, tortillas, pinto gallo (rice and beans), and plantains.

I was still tired from partying too late the night we got here, but still managed to stay up til midnight last night. I think I’ll need a vacation from my vacation when I get home (and sadly, it looks like I will get one). More on that later.