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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Casa Ola...

I'm laying in bed listening to the sounds of the ocean waves crashing on the beach.   This place is incredible.  I've been here only four hours and I have yet to see it in the day light. But I have to say this is way better than I could have imagined.  And everyone here is so cool.  

Firstly: impressions as I was landing in Managua.  Just getting closer and realizing I was about to set foot in a new country was giving me goosebumps.  Then I look out the window to see stark peaks agains the flat landscape.  Volcanoes!  I scramble to get my iPhone out to snap a few photos and then a giant crater lake comes into view.  My jaw drops.  This isn't the last time this happened either.  

The Managua airport was tiny by comparison to most of the domestic American airports I've been to.  After we landed, the plane had to turn around and double back upon reaching the end of the small runway in order to get to the gate.  Customs and immigration was a breeze, too, but then my suitcase wasn't immediately showing up in the conveyor.  I was so mad they had made me check it. As I started to panic I kept my head long enough to spot the people I had figured were my fellow yogis and kept an eye on them in case they all started to leave and I hadn't gotten my bags.  I stared down the conveyer, circled the carousel twice, came back around, and then finally saw it, not really sure how it had slipped past me before.  I actually kissed that bag I was so relieved.  

I moved on to customs where I simply put my bag on another conveyor and handed a form I had filled to another guy who simply waved me through.  No pat down, no nothing.  I turned a corner and there was a man with a sign that said  "yoga for bad people," and a group of people lined up behind him, 6 out of the 8 we were expecting.  Everyone was so nice and I was pretty much right about each one I had spotted during the flights being part of the retreat.  One more showed up from the other direction a minute later and explained that she flew in yesterday and had stayed the night in Managua.  Our driver then took us to a minivan parked just outside and we all piled in, rather crammed in, and were off.  

Despite my fatigue, it was a pleasant ride, mostly spent getting to know all of my fellow yogis and gawking out the car window at anything and everything new. Dogs, cows and horses would often jump out into the road and more often the further removed from the cities we got.  Every once in a while a volcano would pop up on the horizon.  And at one point our driver pulled us over to see the shore of Lake Nicaragua and the island of Ometepe looming on the horizon.  A co-worker of mine had told me about the island and since I knew I wouldn't have the time to make it over there, I was glad to at least get the chance to see it from a distance. The wind coming off that lake was constant and intense.  

Our next stop was San Juan del Sur where we all got out by the harbor to stretch and await our next vehicle...which had to be 4WD apparently because the roads are pretty crazy out this way.  

More twists and turns switch backs steep hills dogs kids on bikes horses and yes we saw a pig or two and eventually a skunk.    But we made it here just fine and folks were sitting out on the porch, already in hammocks. Six more that had arrived prior to us and were already settled in.   The porches are amazing and there are stone steps connecting everything on different levels.  There are several separate huts, well constructed and open to the air but with mosquito screens.  It's very eco friendly and designed with minimal impact on the environment in mind. Most of the water is from collected rain in cisterns.  

The staff seem really great and the guy who manages actually also has Celiac and his mother does the cooking so I'm in luck.  I couldn't have picked a better retreat honestly.  

For now I need sleep.  It has been a very long day and this is a very comfortable bed that I must take advantage of.   I'm afraid this will be the best sleep I have gotten in years between that and the waves and the ridiculously enviable breeze that is currently washing over me.  Gotta go guys.  Gotta go.  

Crater seen from the plane.

Lake Nicaragua, Ometepe in the distance. 

Nick and Shannan in San Juan del Sur by the harbor. 

Shannan and Natalie by the harbor. 

Islands in the Caribbean from the plane.  

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