This blog is posted mostly everyday when we take a break from our usual retired Life as former full-time RVer's and travel overseas.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Traveling Back to the USA Monday 7 May 2018


View from the van at 3:30 AM, time to head into Managua for the flight home. It was a good trip, a very, very good trip.


The trip to the airport took just about an hour, not much traffic at that early hour. I took this photo of an overhead sign shortly before we arrived at the airport. I did not take a photo of the barricade across the road or the line of still smoldering  tires, the remains of last night’s protest.


The airport was not busy, our plane was about a third full, but what was really sad was what we left behind. A country who’s tourism industry has been devastated by the protests. Hotels, restaurants and popular tourist attractions, and especially the not so popular ones were missing what they needed most, visitors. I’ll always remember the look of pain and horror on Richard’s face as he showed us a photo of fires burning in the town where we had lunch yesterday. As always, it is the ordinary people who pay the price, not the politicians or the wealthy. So why do we look up to these scum? Is it the lie that we have the opportunity to be “successful” like them, or is it stupidity on our part? Bob - who is hurting for the wonderful common people of Nicaragua.


No matter what our feelings may be, the new day dawns and Life goes on.


As always, both glad and sad to going home.


A last glimpse of Central America. To travel is to experience, to experience is to realize, to realize is to comprehend. And at that moment the world changes.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Last Day of the Tour–Sunday 6 May 2018

This was the last day of the tour. Tomorrow morning the bus leaves the hotel to take us to the airport in Managua. The time, 3:30 AM. I may post tomorrow, or I may not. If this the last post, just let me say it has been an unbelievably awesome and rewarding trip. For those who are hesitant to travel to Central America, we say embrace this region of the Americas, you’ll be glad you did. And now back to our regular progamming.


Something we have not had before with breakfast, plain yogurt topped with honey. Excellante.


We talked to the restaurant about how the rice and beans we both have come to love are made. Not difficult, but not simple. Definitely more to than just rice and beans. Linda is going to have a go at when we get home. But I strongly suspect there will be an email to Richard asking what he remembers about them. It is good to have friends in the right places. Forgetful Bob.


American tourist relaxing in Nicaragua?


Nicaraguan relaxing in Nicaragua?


The upside down trashcan lid holds what makes the sound when you shake a pair of maracas.


Maraca design carver. So fast his hands seem to blur. This workshop was a family enterprise. Everyone has a job to do. This order was for one thousand pairs being shipped to the Dominican Republic. This was another of the off the beaten tour path places that Richard treats his groups to.


Wash water outlet next to the street. It is how much of the rest of the world lives. Never travel, never experience.. Unless you read our blog. Bad Bob.


Husband and wife guitar shop. Apprentice in background.



Table saw. Sure doesn’t look like much, but it is not your equipment, it is your talent at making guitars that matters. They make several guitars for Carlos Santana every year. Enough said.


Our first ever close-up look at an active volcano. Fortunately the wind was blowing away from us our we wouldn’t have been there.


A day of firsts. Our first ever volcano selfie.


Seen along the road.


Lake in a crater. As Linda said, “It’s pretty but it sure isn’t Crater Lake pretty.”


Grackle photo of the day. May have to this one up when we return to Retama. I’d rather post a Chicken Bus photo of the day after we return home, but for some reason Chicken Buses seem to be on the extinct species list in the US. Bummed Bob.


With this being the end of the daily Chicken Bus photos, what could be more fitting that this point of view of my passion.


Visit to a family pottery operation. Father and son are the potters, mom the salesperson. Note, we are not talking merely selling here at the workshop. We are talking sales in other countries around the world.


Incised design. all the colors come from natural rock. There is no glaze. Each piece is hand polished to a glaze like finish. Yes we bought a small piece, no way could we resist. And Linda actually let me pick it out. Lucky me.


I have mentioned before about how the government will furnish the materials if the local people want to pave their road/street. That is exactly how this street was built. Those that condemn socialism at its mere mention have no conception of its different applications. Retama residents complained and complained to get the levee road potholes fixed . These people fixed the problem themselves. The world is a billion shades of gray.


A story to end the trip. It is 8 PM Sunday night as I type this. We are packed and ready to leave in the middle of the night. Looking at his photo you might not see it but we can. We very seldom if ever put our bags anywhere but on the floor of our room. Not so in this case.

Earlier I was working on the blog when I heard a shriek, and a very loud and long one at that. Looking around I could see Linda running in place. Not good I thought, not good at all. Not as bad as I first thought though, no snake. What she had seen was what she described as a mouse, and a very tiny one at that. I have no reason to doubt she saw one, but look as I might I could never find. Don’t ask me what I would have done had I found it, I haven’t a clue.

For now the mouse shall remain in our room awaiting the next guest. As for us, in seven hours we will be up and beginning our return to the US. Thanks for traveling along with us. Bad Bob and Lovely Linda.

Each Day is Different, Today was no Exception–Saturday 5 May 2018

Didn’t have a clue it was Cinco de Mayo until I typed yesterday’s date in the title. Here May 1 was the big holiday. It was their Labor Day. And also when most of the world celebrates labor day.


When you are the King of Birds (just ask one) you shout it out. No wonder we get so many laughs from the grackles that frequent our backyard at Retama.


Money changer. Reputation for them is everything.


Market food.


No matter how crowded the market, there is always room for more.

DSC04289 (2)

Kids are the same everywhere.


Street scene. Love the padding under the harness.


Sidewalk scene. You soon get used to it, holes happen.


Why there are so few pull tabs laying around in Nicaragua.


Visit to a hammock workshop. The weaving is done by the blind and gives them a job opportunity they would otherwise never have.


Pedal powered blender.


Bell Tower Babe. The circular stairway to climb to the top of the tower almost did me in, but I made it. Unless you have a abject fear of them you wouldn’t understand. Brave Bob.


Trade school students from the countryside learning to be hairdressers so they can have the chance to improve their lives.


Dana getting his hair cut. The clippers were barely working, the scissors dull and a mirror was nonexistent.


After a shopping trip, Dana giving the instructor the tools of the craft to allow the students to do even better. Awesome Dana.


Checking out the new clippers. All people want is an opportunity to better their lives.


More tab top jewelry.





Island home of an American family.


What’s not to like about Nicaragua? Being here is totally different than finding out about on the news back home.


Life is indeed good.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Managua and Granada–Friday 4 May 2018

A little jammed up on time, so photos with not many words today. Is that cheering I hear? Bad Bob.

P5041795 - Copy
Crosses commemorating the 60 some people who lost their lives during the demonstrations. Being here is different than see some news clips on CNN or other news outlets. They always show the worst. No where have we see any signs of violence or felt anything other than welcomed by the people we meet. As I said the other day, Nicaragua may not be fond of the our Government, but they are very welcoming and accepting of Americans. Just like we do in our country, they want their politicians out of office and someone who truly cares about them rather than money and getting re-elected elected. And now, on the condensed version our travels.

One of many signs like this in front of the national police academy.

The new Cathedral that replaced the historic one condemned after an earthquake. The style is called Brutalism and reflects what the country has endured in the past 50 years.

Chapel. The founder of Domino’s Pizza was a principal financial benefactor to the building of the Cathedral.

The Ortega's. Mr. and Mrs. President and Vice-president. She is the real power. She ordered the demonstrators fires upon by the police.


Snuck in a Chicken Bus photo. Virtually no modification here.

The original Cathedral not awaiting another earthquake to topple it.

Close-up of crack. It is not if, it is when, as far as another earthquake.

How can you not enjoy a museum that has pottery like this on display.

There are thousands of trees like this around Managua, thanks the generosity of Mrs. Ortega, the richest woman in the county, using taxpayer money rather than her own money to build them.

No nation is free from this.

Wonder if the right wingers in this place in Indiana know the name of there school district is still on display on this chicken bus that transports the socialist citizens of Managua around town?

While I was taking the Chicken bus photo from my side of our van, Linda was taking this photo from hers.

Chicken truck, a real chicken truck.

Oops! Since traffic laws are considered at best, a suggestion, can fault be determined?

We stopped at boutique rum shop. Not big on rum, Linda found a wine with her name on the label.

Tuk tuks. Universal, or seeming so.

For the color.

The cycle of life.

Spanish style funeral.

Chicken truck?

Nicaragua is a beautiful place if you open your eyes. Short and sweet. See you tomorrow.