Latin America 2009

It is February 2009 and I’ve been retired a month. Time for a trip!!

Wanting to visit Steve & Lisa at their beach house at Ponoloya, Nicaragua, we fly to Managua, take a bus to Leon and cajole a taxi driver to take us to Ponoloya. He doesn’t want to go because the road is so very bad and he thinks we can’t afford to pay what it will cost. $30. In broken Spanish we convince him to make the trip. He drops us at their front gate. YAY!!

Steve & Lisa’s place on the beach is beautiful. Simple, lots of colour and concrete and outdoor spaces. The village is interesting in a generic third world poverty sort of way. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Only Haiti is poorer. And it shows. The art, food, culture in general is very rudimentary.

And it is hot! For several hours of the day, between 10 and 2, it is not possible to be out of doors or to be moving. Strictly siesta time!

A few days in the colonial city of Granada, on the shore of Lago Nicaragua, are fantastic: the architecture, cafe culture, kayaking on the lake, and beating the heat in shady courtyards. It is hotter here than at the beach. We meet a few North American expats who live in Grenada. It is very inexpensive for them, but we wonder how they tolerate the heat. We are here in February, in the winter, the coolest time of the year.

We take a bus to Managua, then fly through San Salvadore and Panama City,  to Mexico City, where we spend a week at the Majestic Hotel. Right in the heart of old Mexico. Across from the cathedral.

Our friend Murray lives in Polanco, an upscale part of town. We meet him at a restaurant there for an evening of reminiscing and sharing travel stories.

We take the subway and then a taxi to Coyoacan, the suburb where Frida Khalo lived. Go to the museum located in her house and studio. Visit a local market.

Another day we take the subway to Xochimilco, a canal district where we hire a boat to take us around.

A short flight from Mexico city takes us to the beach. A la playa. At Puerto Vallarta. We have rooms at our time share. The Playa del Sol Costa Sur property.  A short bus ride to town or a walk, stopping at Lindo Mar for lunch, and then carrying on walking into PV from the south. A drink and bite to eat in the Zona Romantica.

We meet Craig’s mom, brother Curtis, sister-in-law Wendy and their kids Quintan and Mackenzie. Craig mom dances the macarena after dinner the first night at the hotel restaurant. This is after a bus ride to Kamloops, a truck ride into Vancouver, a flight to PV via Phoenix and a few margaritas, at the age of 83.

The kids go parasailing and take surfing lessons. We move to Los Arcos for the last three nights. Right in town. Great for shopping.

PV just doesn’t change much and that is what we like about it. We can keep going back. And we will.

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