With a major Nor’easter forecasted to coincide with my scheduled arrival in Boston tomorrow, l decided to return a day early and avoid the inevitable cancelled flight and night spent sleeping in the Miami airport. En route to the Managua airport, I stopped briefly in the capitol to take in a few of the sights. Pictured above is the Santiago of Managua Cathedral and below one of the Trees of Life (a virtual mini-forest can be found throughout the city, commissioned by Rosario Murillo, the omniscient and omnipotent wife of President Daniel Ortega.
This has been a very rewarding adventure but even so, I am looking forward to getting back to the family. I am particularly pleased that I have been able to update the blog form the road which means I do not need to spend days catching up when I return.
More than any other photo I have taken in Nicaragua, the one above best captures the essence of the country for me. Happy, proud, and friendly people with close family bonds and strong work ethic. Dusty and rock strewn dirt roads traveled by more horses than cars. This mother and her daughters seemed to be chasing to catch up with the truck I was riding in on the way to the Telica Volcano for a sunset crater ascent. From the top you can see a dozen or so of the volcanic peaks which form the Ring of Fire within Nicaragua. I actually found the moonrise to be more photogenic than the sunset and the view of the magma to be less than impressive. Still I enjoyed the climb and the company of a family from Sweden who made up the rest of our group.
The descent by flashlight was trying on my knees but otherwise uneventful until our guide spotted a scorpion. The first I have ever encountered in the wild you know I had to stop for a photo.
Earlier in the day I drove to the costal towns of Poneloya and Las Peñitas where I found beautiful beaches, abundant birdlife, and laid back beach bars and beach goers (all 5 of them).
León of all the larger cities I have visited thus far seems the least affected by tourism. On this Saturday night the central square was filled with families, young and old, enjoying a festival like atmosphere with no regard or interest in the foreigners. Pictured here are the Iglesia La Recoleccion and the Catedral Basílica de la Asunción two of the most prominent churches.
The drive from San Juan del Sur should have taken 3 hours based on distance and speed. Numerous construction delays and a mile long procession of horse and oxen drawn thatch covered wagons (some of which are pictured below) added another two to the journey.
Along the way I stopped for some fresh fruit at the stand below. These can be found almost everywhere throughout the country side. As I enjoyed my snack, I watched two girls riding past on a bicycle. Bikes are used extensively here but what I found odd about this scene was that the smaller of the two girls was doing the pedaling.
San Juan del Sur is know for its pristine crescent shaped beach and spectacular sunsets. I arrived at about 1PM and was surprised to find the beach absolutely vacant. A short stroll in the sand and I realized that it was simply too hot for anyone in their right mind to be out. I followed suit and decided to visit the 25m tall Cristo de la Misericordia statue which overlooks the bay.
Before departing Ometepe I had about an hour to spare and put the time to good use in a nature reserve near the ferry “terminal.” I managed to capture this pair of butterflies (it took no less than 100 exposures to get one keeper) and a Howler monkey (with baby) which made for a pretty nice way to pass the time.
The town comes alive when the sun goes down and cool breezes blow in from the ocean.
With a third Nor’easter forecasted to dump a foot or more of snow on Concord today, my plans for a quick travel adventure could not have been better timed. I left this afternoon for a 9 day visit to Nicaragua, flying by way of Miami (pictured above). I arrived in Managua after dark and managed to clear customs, gather my rental car, and secure local currency in record time. Driving here is like the rest of Central and South America, not for the feint hearted. I took it extra slow as I adapted to the new car, local traffic “customs,” and night time navigation. I arrived at my hotel without incident, if not thoroughly exhausted and soggy from the 97 degree temperature. Meanwhile, Kyle is headed to Minneapolis for a visit with his cousin Rory leaving Jeanine alone with Nala to cope with the snow. I know this sounds bad but neither of us could have anticipated the storm and I did offer to take Jeanine to Hawaii instead but her work obligations and the duration of travel made that impractical.
When Maya left for college, Jeanine and I started to think about down sizing. Our current home of 15 years has served us extremely well while there were five of us under the same roof. Now that we are empty nesters, we are starting to think about a next home that is better sized for this new phase of our lives. We had talked about putting the house up for sale this spring but decided to postpone by a year when I failed at retirement and found myself in the fast lane again. All this was until Jeanine learned of a potentially interested buyer who came to look at the house today. They appear interested and it certainly would be convenient to sell the house after one showing and without a realtor commission. It remains to be seen if we will be able to agree on a price or if their interest wanes but it has us seriously thinking about the possibility.
This evening I enjoyed watching the US Paralympic Sled Hockey team as they racked up an impressive 10-0 win over Japan. The youngest member of the team, Noah Grove (22), is also a member of the US National Amputee Soccer Team. A truly wonderful young man and incredible athlete, I was thrilled to watch as he scored his first Paralympic goal late in the first period. I was tempted to call Nico to see if he was watching the game but thought the better of it given the late hour. I think team USA has a good chance of medalling and have set the DVR to record all of their matches.
Today riders of the Copenhagen Wheel surpassed an aggregate total of one million kilometers. For our very young company it was a momentous milestone and cause for celebration. With spring weather around the corner, I am gearing up to add to this total on my own CW bike.
We received about 6 inches of heavy wet snow last night. The weight of it brought down tree limbs all over town. The Audi was spared damage by a matter of a few feet. I cleared the driveway before sunrise so I could capture first light. Many roads were completely blocked by fallen trees or downed power lines which prevented me from reaching my favorite winterscapes.
I did manage to launch my drone over Walden Pond, a panoramic view of which is shown below.
As I continued to witness huge limbs falling left and right, I wisely opted to curtail my photography before the law of averages caught up with me. My final image is of the Concord Country Club.
At the suggestion of a colleague, I have started to photograph the many test fixtures we use at Superpedestrian to validate our designs. This one applies forward and then reverse torque to the wheel so we can determine if the spoke pattern we will be using on a future product will stand up to the rigors of heavy acceleration and braking. In this case, we saw no issues after 50,000 cycles.
Jeanine and I set aside some time this evening to organize our bedroom and walk-in closet. Ready to throw away a plaster cast of her hands she made at age four (1967), I felt compelled to capture an image of it for posterity. It was a gift to her mother which she delivered in block printed gift wrap that she made herself in nursery school.
I have previously published turkey sightings in Cambridge. Today, however, these seemingly fearless birds were responsible for a traffic jam as they confronted cars in pursuit of an apple. The one pictured below would not give ground even though the car kept inching forward with its horn blaring. The video of this standoff is very funny and I hope to add it to this post at some point.