My apologies for the delay on the post, too many things to write down and lots of pictures to upload on a slow connection
Mensaje para la familia en Nicaragua!
Fue un gran placer conocer a todos mis familiares de Nicaragua. De parte de mi abuela Amada, mi tía Amy y mía les agradezco todo lo que hicieron por nosotros. La hospitalidad y cariño que nos demostraron fue increíble y se los agradecemos muchísimo. La pachanga, la comida, los regalos y el tiempo que compartimos será inolvidable. Los queremos mucho a todos, espero que nos veamos muy pronto en la próxima pachanga. Un fuerte abrazo!
For the non Spanish readers, the above message is meant for my family members in Nicaragua, thanking them for an amazing time and the amazing hospitality they showed towards me and my family. I was completely amazed by what an amazing part of the family I had the privilege to meet.
It’s funny how the world works at times, I initially had planned my trip to depart in September, for whatever reason with work, school, and money etc. my departure date kept getting moved back until November. I initially had the intention of doing this trip, and thought to myself, I’m going to do my trip, see the sights, not be pressured with time or anything and if I’m around Nicaragua around the same date as the wedding, I’ll go. Well needless to say, I made it, the wheels of destiny spun and landed me right in the middle of an amazing time with family, the wedding of the century and I’m happy it did.
To start off this posting- it was Wednesday Dec 15th when I arrived in Managua Nicaragua.
I had to pass about a hundred of these before I made it from Leon to Managua, heavy construction and zigzagging through stalled semi-truck finally got me there.
I’ve never been so lost in my life, apparently Nicaragua doesn’t have any road signs. This has been my toughest battle with navigation in all my life. There is the general direction of where the way to the next big city is, but once in that city, you’re on your own. There are absolutely no street signs! I drove all through the capital city of Managua, using my Mexican GPS of asking about 18 people on the street where the heck I was, because not a single street name or anything was posted. I drove through an entire capital city without seeing a single street name in 5 days, not cool.
After asking many people, I arrived at the Intercontinental hotel metrocentro, it’s a miracle I got there with no street names., my 6th sense of direction continues to save me. This hotel is the nicest and best hotel in Managua(anyone who goes to Managua should stay here, it’s very safe, and I had my motorcycle parked outside with 24hr security with no issues). I got there super early and waited 6 hours for my aunt and grandmother to arrive from the states later that evening. They too were going to attend the wedding, and I made it a point to save some money and camp out in the room for free, like a good hippie should do.
It’s funny how so far away from home I meet up with my aunt and grandmother in Nicaragua.
The more south I go the more I realize what an amusement I am to people, sitting in the lobby of the hotel for so many hours with all my gear allowed me to study peoples amazement and reaction to my insanity. Also the looks of people keep getting more profound with confusion and curiosity as I pass them down the highway, or have the incredible amount of pedestrians at the bus stops look at me as I pass by. Kind of strange to have a mob of people follow you with their eyes and heads all the same direction as you drive by in a synchronized fashion, it makes a stadium crowd wave look like peanuts.
The next day, my cousin “la nena” aka Esmeralda had some great tours lined up for us. We first visited at the Masaya Volcano. A nicely charted bus picked up the entire family from the hotel and took us everywhere we wanted to go for the next few days, sure beats driving around on the moto in the heat and without street names, I can assure you.
We took a tour at the Masaya volcano museum and proceeded to the sulfur spewing monster itself.
|Family pictures at the museum|
The amount of sulfur from this behemoth was so strong and pungent that one breath of it, even at a distance, made my lungs burn and had me coughing the rest of the day. Regardless it was an awesome sight to see.
Nothing like a little sulfur in your lungs while standing on the edge of a volcano with magma right below you. Got a nice picture though!
|Looking cool and adventureous|
Apparently they used to sacrifice virgins to this volcano by throwing them off the edge into the lava, they thought that the opening was the gates of hell.
The cross was put up by the Spaniards to somehow bestow and contain the demond of a volcano.
This is my favorite sign of my entire trip so far.
They also need a t-shirt that should say “if you see me running, you better start too”
It seems that the volcano had a little burp a few months ago, that launched car sized volcano rock into this very same parking lot and took out a few cars. All occurring with no warning, I’m sure a nicely painted sign as this will help the people next time run for their lives a little quicker.
This is “guero”, he’s my uncle, and he is responsible for some of my motivation for my adventure. He runs marathons in the North Pole, I figure if he can do that at his age, I can do this adventure easy with one eye closed. Gracias Guero!
This is his son, aka my cousin Roberto, and his girlfriend Gina, just about the cutest couple I've ever seen
We then proceeded to the Masaya market in the middle of town, I highly recommend this to everyone if you’re ever in the area, and it was huge! And cheap! I got a nice bracelet for a buck, I’ve made it a point in my trip to get something small like a bracelet or necklace in every country, I doubt they will make it to the end of the trip but might as well try.
I also picked up some nice gifts to send back to the family with my aunt, this will probably be the only time I can buy souvenirs and keep them because I can’t carry anything else on the motorcycle. That's a great excuse for not bringing anything back from my trip to others, its because I didn't have room on the motorcycle. It's true though
Later that day we went to our first party. It was the first of many, the family was introduced and had some great Mexican food, felt like I was back at home.
I met my cousin, Juan Ignacio who was the groom. This is my cousin Silvio in the picture as well.
At about 11 pm everyone started to sing songs and have a good time, my uncle guero, sang a beautiful song called “platanos y leche”, “bananas and milk”, the fact that the same phrase of bananas and milk were the only two words to the entire song of 5 minutes made it my favorite song that had everyone laughing the whole night.
At 12am everyone decided to go dancing to a disco-teck, aka-night club. It was called “Broder”, like brother, and it was overrun by people ages 14-20.
|Gina, and my cousin|
My uncle actually had two fifteen year old girls come up to him and try and “pick him up”. I guess looking like Paul McCartney has its advantages.
At 3am, the group decided to go to Karaoke, time of arrival to hotel was pretty late.
The next day, everyone falling asleep, we got on the family tour bus and headed out to Granada, a beautiful colonial town an hour from Managua.
|My aunt Amy and I looking cool|
We visited the famous islets, or islands where amazing vacation homes are built. About $200,000 will buy you an island out here, all you got to do is build the home and your set! Relatively cheap compared to other islands around the world.
If you wondered how I filmed myself in the volcano surfing video I put up on my last blog, here you go, people are always confused on how I got that video. The number one question I get, is who filmed you. I filmed myself, with my mono-pod invention. It consists of a broken apart tripod stuck together.
|Everybody was amazed by my invention|
Check out my posting of Centote and cave diving from a few weeks ago to see some underwater video with my tripod
Later on we went to a volcanic crater lake and heard some beautiful Nicaragua music.
We proceed to have lunch, I had the best, most tenderest beef I’ve ever had in my life, later finding out is was from a young calf, sad I know, and had the best fish from the lake called “el guapo”, meaning the handsome.
The running joke of the day was the handsome fish, for instance, somebody saying your super handsome in some fashion and then saying not you I was talking about, it was the fish.
This afternoon my cousin Silvio got very interested about my trip, I showed him pictures and video. He called up his friend at the national Nicaragua newspaper to tell him my story and adventure. He liked it so much, I got an interview and a picture in the front page of the national Nicaragua newspaper. Didn’t quite plan getting on the front page of a national newspaper, wasn’t exactly on my things to do, but I suppose things to do in life check! It was supposed to come out the following day.
|The reporter getting a picture with the crazy man|
I had a lady come up to me while they were taking the picture for the newpaper that had a camera of her own and wanted to take a picture with me as well. How could I say no. It was very flattering
|Official Picture of the Newpaper|
Later that night we had our next party at my uncle Alejandro Martinez’s house. My uncle is the economic advisor to the president’s cabinet in Nicaragua.
The food was amazing and so was the house. I met countless people and more amazing family.
By this point in time, word was getting out to everybody that I had driving a motorcycle from the United States all the way down for my cousins wedding. As you can imagine this caused everyone’s curiosity to talk to me the entire night about my travels and so forth. Because of my uncle’s political position, lots of important people in high places also heard about my adventure. I felt pretty cool by that point
My nickname this entire time in Managua has been, “el motociclista”, the motorcycle guy. I met people for the first time, and I always got the same response, “oh! So you’re the motociclista!”, I believe everyone at this party along with the other parties knew who I was, not by my name but as the crazy individual who came from the United states on a motorcycle.
At the end of this party, the group went home on the bus, but I stayed behind with the young crowd that wanted to continue the party. Met a nice young lady by the name of Karla, she’s from Nicaragua but studies in the states, we met up with her friends. One of my intentions of this trip was to get to know more people from different places, I’ve definitely been keeping that objective in mind. In meeting so many people, I got back to the hotel pretty late. That’s two nights in a row of staying up late going out. Beats my all time record of going out of 1 day in a row, now it’s up to two.
On the Way back to the hotel, I saw this
|Needless to say, this guy learned the lesson of not drinking and driving|
The next day was the day of the wedding. There was another tour of the city of Managua at 8am, yeah,didn’t wake up for that one.
By this point in time the newspaper had come out with my face on the front page and my story. “Intrepido Aventurero de visita” was the title of the story, quite the nice and suiting title I liked a lot and made me smile the whole day. I figured how cool this was to by on the cover of a national newspaper, never had I envisioned such a thing to happen to me during this trip. It was a wonderful feeling. I felt famous
Here's the full interview- http://impreso.elnuevodiario.com.ni/2010/12/18/variedades/137978
The story that was published had my facebook url and contact information. Uhhh things learned in life, don’t give your contact information to a newspaper to print all over an entire country and nation ha ha.
That morning I had over 40 facebook friend requests from people in Nicaragua that saw the story and wanted to be my friend. I kindly denied their friend requests but referred them to my main internet page for them to follow me along with everyone else. It was an intense feeling, 10 minutes of fame, eat your heart out!
Seeing the wedding was that afternoon the generosity of the family continued to flourish as a hair stylist and make-up appointments was provided for all the ladies of the family at the hotel for whoever wanted it.
The entire afternoon was spent preparing looking good for the wedding for most people, except yours truly who went to the much needed gym, checked out the mall, went looking for motor oil, and did some repairs on the moto. Grease monkey is off to the wedding!
My aunt Amy was very kind to bring along my suit from back home for the wedding, I’m very glad she did, I don’t think a motorcycle jacket counts as a more rugged suit coat.
|Me and my favorite aunt Amy!|
We first went to the church for the ceremony. It was absolutely gorgeous, the decorations, the attention to detail, great music, lots of people etc.
Everything was extremely elaborate and looked like something out of a movie, absolutely surreal.
We then proceeded to the party. I initially thought the wedding ceremony couldn’t be topped. Boy was I completely wrong in every way!
When I first walked in, I thought I was at a Playboy mansion spring party or something. It was completely unreal, there was an insane amount of luxurious food, incredible desert, a galore of liquor, a dedicated tequila bar, a food buffet, a dance floor, two live bands, a garden complete with a waterfall/bridge-and candles all around, over 450 people and so much more.
|My uncle Alvaro-who is also a passionate motorcycle enthusiast|
|Aunt and cousin|
|My cousin Silvio getting down with the boogie|
The theme was Alice in Wonderland, and boy did they do an amazing job. This house was huge, and extremely luxurious.
I don’t doubt that this is probably the most insane, incredible, and fantastic wedding party in the history of Nicaragua. It felt as you were walking into a dream because the vastness and expanse of such a party was unreal, and unforgettable. My estimates for the cost of this party are close to the 6 digits mark.
There was even a fireworks show!
My cousin Alejandro made fantastic speech for his brother Juan that just got married, that was very moving and amazing.
As I kept meeting more and more people, I was introduced as the motorcycler, and I got the same reaction as I mentioned before. My aunt had requested copies of the newspaper, she had brought one to the party. My meeting of people was followed by someone handing them a newspaper with my face on it. That newspaper took a tour around the entire party, just like my story.
At my departure from the party, I looked at the car valet parking attendant, he gave me a funny second look and said to me “hey aren’t you the motorcycle guy from the newspaper? As I laughed and said yes I am and took a picture with him, I got tremendous dose and feeling of what is like to be famous. Its great at first, but I can clearly see it being problematic as time progresses, and isn’t something I would like my entire life. Made me realize more about my personality and life.
The party continued until 8am, breakfast was even served for everyone still in attendance. I did not stay that long, but I still got home very late. 3rd night in a row of crazy partying, I’ve never partied so hard in my life.
That’s three in a row for staying up late dancing and meeting people.
The next morning, as everyone awoke from a slumber, we headed out to the next party, a Christmas family reunion, as you can imagine I was all partied out, regardless, onward I went! Had to make it 4 in a row right?
Met some great people, with some great singing talent.
As my cousin Nena went around giving everyone tequila shots, I was reminded of the crazy weekend this has been.
I didn’t last at this part past 8pm and had to leave, I was over whelmed with so many parties I couldn’t take another, so I threw the white flag of defeat and went back to the hotel.
I prepared everything for the next morning for my departure and went to sleep.
The next morning I said my farewells to everyone, and onward I went.
My cousin Silvio invited me to stay at his vacation house in San Juan del Sur a few hours away. How could I say no right? With some of the best surfing in North and South America, and a turtle nesting ground a few miles away, off I went to San Juan.
My way to San Juan with no stupid road signs took me 3 hours instead of two because of my constant getting lost. Makes me wish I had a real GPS. Regardless I’m now in San Juan.
I had lunch at a sketchy market. I was approached by a young lady, age 16 who took my order. As she sat down at my table and waited for the next customer to sit down we started to chat. In the middle of our conversation we were approached by a German man speaking Spanish, commenting about my motorcycle.
As we spoke, I found out he was a German medical doctor that had done research all his life and was now practicing here in Nicaragua. He has been using stem cells from human umbilical cords to treat multiple disorders like cancer of the prostate, eye disorders and so forth, with some 90 percent success rate he said. Something he couldn’t do in the states.
The fact that this guy had the crazy white hair of Einstein, and looked like the scientist from Back to the Future didn’t help his case as he spoke as if he was a bit loopy. As he left me his information, and was out the door, he asked the 16 yr old girl for a kiss, she obviously said no, as he took off I started to laugh, commenting to the young lady, nothing like being interrupted in the middle of lunch by a crazy scientist. This guy made me feel as he had some crazy clinic in the shady part of town where he does human experimentation with experimental procedures and such, his vibe was quite bothersome.
Somehow the conversation I was having with the young lady turn into the kitchen staff asking if I had a girlfriend. I then turned the question around to her and the staff, I was responded by “I have a boyfriend, but I’d leave him for you”. As flattering as this was, I chugged my drink and ran out of the place as soon as I could. This lunch turned out to be a crazy nightmare of crazy people.
Tomorrow, hopefully some surfing and turtle nesting, until then, adios!