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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 20, 2014

Nicaragua, final days: crater lake...

The final night at Casa Ola, Gonzalo took us into San Juan del Sur and despite that crazy whirlwind last day I had, I was not tired.  Blasting his iPod for what would be one of the last times, we skidded into town, agreeing only to spend an hour or so and a few drinks.   Gonzo took us to a place called The Iguana, which reminded me of so many douchey beach bars I'd been to in the States. It was open to the air and right on the beach; crowded but fun.  And because we were with the mayor of San Juan del Sur, we got a table no problem.  

After a half bottle of tequila, a little bit of dancing, some beach fireworks and one random conversation with some airborne rangers who were motorcycling down the Pan American Highway (one of whom resembled Bobby McFerrin), we headed back to the house.  

The next morning we had another beautiful meditation followed by a great class focusing on inversions.  A humming bird I'd seen on a previous day, came again during meditation and hovered in front of Sara and Lea.  I think we were the only ones in class who saw it.  It was so beautiful.  

After class, there were logistics to work out because we wanted to get a group pic on the beach with everyone in their bathing suits (some people wanted one last dip in the ocean) and we also wanted to get on the road at 11 to the Apoyo Lodge at the crater lake where we'd be staying.  And also breakfast had to be squeezed in. One last plate of plantains, avocado, eggs, beans and rice and that Nica cheese.   So delicious. 

The group pic happened first and then a few people took their dip in the ocean.  Jenna got stung by a sting ray unfortunately, but Kit and Gonzalo were all over it, running upstairs to get hot water.  My first thought was that this might blow out that whole leaving at 11 thing.  We weren't that bad though and Jenna was able to walk up the steps from the beach.  It was a small one and just got her on her toe.  She said it hurt pretty bad though and that the pain crept up her leg.   
After breakfast and a long goodbye we were well on our way.  It was sad to leave them all behind and go.   Gonzalo and Ivan drove us and we were going to stop in San Juan del Sur to grab a taxi to ease the load.  There were about ten people in the back of the Land Rover.  Some of us wanted to stop for a tiny bit in town to pick up t-shirts and get drinks so we came back to the street where we were the other day.  

Before going into town though we made an unexpected stop because Gonzalo wanted to introduce us to his son.  A major Michael Jackson fan apparently. 

Going to town did not turn out to be a quick trip and I felt a little bad because I was with the group that took longer because we split off to get coffee and juices.  The place we went was neat though and I'm glad I went because I had skipped it the last time we were there. 

The remorse set in though when, after a longer, bumpier car ride, we saw the place we were to stay last night.  The place is called Laguna de Apoyo and the lodge was another Eco resort type place right up on the crater lake.  Incredibly gorgeous and just the perfect place to spend the last night.  Several dogs greeted us upon arrival as did Seamus, the owner.  He hails from Canada as well and knows Tyson.  

We soon learned however that there had been some confusion with the booking.  They were not expecting us until the following night.  There was room for most of us (some had to stay down the road at another place), but no food.  So Katelin got a menu from a local restaurant, we all ordered and Gonzalo and Ivan went to pick it up while we meditated, solidifying their reputation in my mind as the coolest people we'd had the pleasure of meeting this whole week. 

And oh my god was meditation amazing that night or what? The lodge has a separate uncovered outdoor yoga platform right above the lakeshore where we say and had a 40 minute meditation session on emptiness, in the darkness, lit only by candles, starlight and one outdoor light a little ways up the hill. With the waves breaking on the shore and the cool breeze, can something be too beautiful?

After we finished the meditation, Heather asked us for some feedback and I blurted out that this week had been awesome.  The planning was impeccable and we all felt taken care of. More people chimed in and we began just discussing everything from the staff to the lodges to the classes, sitting, relaxed on the platform.  As I laid back on my yoga block and peered up at the sky, the clouds slowly moved on and the blanket of stars opened up.  All of us sat awestruck because most of us had been laying back to stretch out our legs after sitting for so long and witnessed the change in our view.  All week we had been experiencing nights lit by a full moon. None of us had seen this many stars all week, even on that remote beach at Playa Escameca. The conversation turned towards the beauty of it all and we slowly began to scatter as the guys were arriving with the food we had ordered.

We sat and ate outside at the outdoor bar area, continuing to chat and drink. Mid thought, talking to Nick, I shouted out loud as soon as the moon began to rise over the rim of the crater.  We all ran over and stood to watch, remarking that, even though we all instinctively tried to snap the perfect pic, that nothing would do it justice.  Here's my effort though:  

As it came up and bathed the lake in light, we slowly began to turn down for the evening one by one.  All that were left was myself, Sara, Lea and Catharine.  I had almost gone to bed when I noticed they were still out on the edge of the platform drinking the remains of the last bottle of wine. And smoking.  Yoga for Bad People indeed.  I joined them and we chatted long into the night.  Deciding to go to bed at somewhere around midnight.  

Upon returning to my room, I tried not to wake Nora, with whom I was sharing a room this time, but failed when my flashlight trained on a baby tarantula about two and a half inches long, hiding by the door and I gasped out loud. Nora, not knowing why, stirred and said I could turn the light on if I needed to.  I told her she did not want me to do that.  I explained the situation, trying my best not to freak her out.  "Can't you just kill it!?" She screeched as I tried to sweep it out the door with my sandal.  The next morning I found the poor thing dead on the walk outside. Not sure why.  

The previous night, Lea had talked about wanting to take the inner tubes they had at the lodge out on the lake first thing.  I hesitated, not wanting to pack a wet bathing suit but ultimately bending to Lea's undeniable point that you only live once. And I'm extremely glad I did.  Though the lake bed and shoreline was super rocky the water was warm and the waves delicate.   Of course Lea had her Go Pro and the waterproof Nikon so pictures will be coming soon.  

We had to be packed and ready to go at 9:45 and got to the airport just after 11.  Security was a breeze and I got all the way through before anyone else because I did not my check my bag.  Most of us were on the same flight but slowly we all had to part ways.  Our flight was even delayed so now there's some uncertainty surrounding making the connecting flight.  I should be fine but I feel sorry for my friends.  They'll make it. I'm sure.  Fingers crossed.  

Soon we should get an email from Katelin with everyone's email address.  Which'll be nice.  I've made a lot of great friendships on this trip and it's nice to know most of us are going back to NYC.  I've already got plans to attend Katelin's class with some of them.  For now, I'm going to try and post this with pics when I get to Miami.   

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