Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - , , , , , , 1 comments


Before I start this photo-heavy post, my friend and I had a "campo" Thanksgiving in which I made a balsamic vinegarette chicken with cuajada (a soft Nicaraguan cheese) and tomatoes. It was a Rachel Ray recipe that I learned in the states and it was a hit! We also enjoyed a nice Malbec out of artisan coffee cups made in Mozonte.

I'm so very thankful for everything I have in my life: my family, my friends, my health and all of the support I've received while being in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps.

So, it had been a while that I travelled outside of Nueva Segovia for pleasure rather than work, so I thought I'd take advantage of what this country has to offer and decided to visit Somoto in Matriz and San Carlos in Río San Juan for the 4th Acuatic Carnaval.

While in Somoto, the main attraction is to go to the Canyon about 13km outside of the city. My friend and I paid $15 each to get essentially a private tour (in reality, we were the only people who showed up and they didn't want to wait around for other people to show up and we paid the normal price). The tour included hiking, swimming, floating and jumping off cliffs that ranged from 5m (16.4ft)-20m (65.6ft). There was also a point in the tour when we got a little boat ride to get from one point to the other. TOTALLY worth every penny!

We got pretty gutsy and jumped off the 20m cliff after our tour guide, Frankie, made it look like a piece of cake. We were told to maintain the "pencil" shape, in which our arms are at the sides and we stay in a straight line with our bodies. As soon as we counted to "three" and I jumped, got into the pencil position, I shut my eyes and just waited to hit the water. When I landed, I hit the water HARD. I came back up fast, thanks to the life vest, and had to catch my breath because the impact knocked the wind out of me. My friend was a little more nervous to jump so I put on a brave face and said it was a blast! When he landed, I confessed that my butt hurt pretty bad and I needed a second to be able to breathe normally. Apparently, when I was in the air, my legs started to bend and I landed in more of a seated position rather than straight up and down.

I had a charla to give in Managua the following Monday and after seeing the Peace Corps doctors (need to take advantage of free health care, right?!) and getting a quick X-Ray, they just found inflamed  muscles and deep bruising. Nothing is broken or fractured, just really sore! Thank goodness. 

Looking at the fork in the rivers: one continues thru Nicaragua and the other goes to Honduras



Our awesome guide, Frankie

High canyon walls


Looking down into the river from the 20m cliff we jumped off of

Hiking back to the highway

The next weekend, my friends and I made the LONG trek from Nueva Segovia to Río San Juan for their 4th Annual Aquatic Carnaval. I had been to two other Carnavals in the north before and wasn't extremely impressed, but was really excited to go to RSJ and see one of my best friends in her site and enjoy a different part of the country. As soon as we got off the bus, I automatically fell in love with San Carlos and its vibe.

Sunset on Lake Nicaragua

Sunset on Lake Nicaragua

Sunset on Lake Nicaragua

After eating probably the BEST pizza in Nicaragua (Stuffed crust? Yes please!), my friends and I went back to the hotel and crashed really early. Since we'd been travelling since 4am and got to RSJ at 4pm, we were exhausted and needed to prepare for the Carnaval the next day!


Parade on the water

Parade on the water

Live band from Bluefields on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua

My pictures aren't of the best quality since I only had my iPod, but if you click HERE, you can see more photos taken by the news...like this one! Can YOU spot the Peace Corps volunteers?

Hint: I'm resting my head on my arm, and my friends are looking out and away...this is while we were waiting over 3 hours for the parade to start.

On Sunday, we were opting to go to El Castillo down the river, but since we were scheduled to get back on a bus later that night, we thought we'd skip the stress of all the travelling and the crowds. Instead, we went to a little place called "La Esquina del Lago" (Corner of the Lake) and had a nice fish lunch, sat in hammocks and even got to go canoeing for a little bit. It was a very relaxing day and a great way to finish off our trip. Especially since we were about to sit on buses for hours on end (for me: 11.5 straight hours of bus travel. OUCH!)

Looking back at San Carlos

Looking at the islands of Solentaime

Esquina del Lago's security guard, Chavo

San Carlos, Río San Juan

Esquina del Lago

December is a slow month for work: school is out, people are planning for the holidays and no work is essentially done. I'm going to continue going to cafeteleras and giving HIV charlas and will visit the casa materna more. I'm just preparing myself for a lot of time to read...and of course, my Holiday plans! I'm not coming back to the states until January (Colorado friends--mark your calendars!), so I'm excited to see how the holidays are celebrated in Nicaragua. Stay tuned!


Steve Finnell November 27, 2012 at 3:37 PM

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