2009 Year in Review

What a great year! Worthy of being in VH1’s “Best Year Ever” episode. I got promoted at work, bathed in 9 different beaches, become closer with my family, closer with friends, and received the gift of creating life: my little lady, Seanna Sofia.

She’s so beautiful. So adorable. So gentle. Tender and sweet. Just like the flesh that made her and carried her in her womb. I love how she smiles in her sleep, how she opens her mouth wide and closes her eyes when she yawns, how she makes sounds like a kitten when she cries — But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So let me start with the first day, January 1, 2009. Man, what a party! What a crazy youth-spirited reckless night! What loss of control, what disregard for the norm of society. It was fun. To be careless one last time. To sing along songs, out loud; to dance like a high schooler, raising a glass of champagne to love and life, and bring in the new year one last time without second thoughts, toasting along friends and my beloved Monica. Aniceto and Jose, Primo Productions, you are to blame for such madness. And that was it. No more partying like a rockstar. We felt that it was not for us anymore.

As far as getting the new year started, Bianca, Monica and I went snowboarding and man it was about 75% torture and 25% fun. We ended up on the ground so many times that I felt I had bursted an instestine. We hit the ground so hard so many times that even though we had gotten the “All Day” pass until 10PM, by 5PM we couldn’t get up anymore. When we fell, it took us a good 5 minutes of just laying there, motionless, groaning, gathering strength to get back up. The problem was that when we went, even though it was cold, it wasn’t snowing. Instead of snow, there was ice on the slopes. It was basically trying to snowboard on frozen concrete. Looking back, I don’t think it was the determination to master the bunny slope that kept us there, it was plain masochism. This was just plain painful. I wish we could have made it to the regular “grown up” slope though, but we’ll shamefully admit that the Bunny Slope punished us so bad we got scared. After we left, Bianca looked like she had gotten in bar brawl, Monica looked like she had married a wifebeater, and I, well, I still looked good.

In February, we visited our good friends Yazmine and JP in Puerto Rico. We really enjoyed our stay with them and got to visit different parts of the island. I had many times seen the sun at sunset, but never actually sat down to contemplate it and enjoy it. When we visited Dorado, we did exactly that. And it was beautiful. It was an orange reddish circle with a soothing glow, slowly being swallowed by the dark sea and the endless dance of the waves. I wrote about this beautiful experience here. We also got to visit hidden coastlines and experience Puerto Rico underwater; we went Scuba diving in La Parguera, a diving spot where you can supposedly spot whale sharks during their migration. Unfortunately, we were a day late. The guides said they had seen a 40 foot whale shark the day before. What a disappointment 🙁 Puerto Rico was a lot of fun and its waters hold a special place in our heart since that’s where Seanna’s nickname “Sirena” came from. I was going to write about our scuba diving experience but didn’t get to it because Monica surprised me with the news that she was with child. I won’t be able to finish the second half of our Puerto Rico experience, but below are some videos and pictures we took of our dive trip. Although it was nice and full of corals, we were disappointed that there were very little fish. Weird.

Video of Scuba diving. From getting into the water, diving to bottom, seeing the “wall of corals”, to getting back on boat:

Continue reading

Goodbye Paradise… Honeymoon Day 8

Today we left paradise.  But I shall not write of the boring plane ride, or how I dreaded going back to “Reality.”  No.  Instead I shall write of Paradise one last time… And it is with an indistinct sadness or nostalgia, but more appreciation that I say “Farewell, my homeland.”  Goodbye my paradise.  Of you, we take a piece with us. A piece of your romance inspiring sunsets, of your furious rain storms, of the deep thunder that shook our lovers’ hut when your heavens spoke. Thanks for the memories. I leave you now, with a heart as heavy as your sudden sea winds. On your soft carpet made of wild green moss we ran like children, laughing, chasing each other, hiding behind the palm trees that stood like sleeping towers. Hand in hand, she and I walked your white sands, losing our bare feet in the foam of your endless waves. How can we forget? How can we not remember the straw hut where we, man and woman, laid entwined like roots, linking our bodies and souls.

Thanks for the memories, oh Little Corn Island. May your people prosper. May your sands, your bodies of translucent water, your delicate huts keep the hearts of lovers aflame and the Marriott at bay. May your beauty remain a secret, like the hidden caverns of your seas, and only found by those seeking the honey of your moon… and may you still remain a virgin paradise…

And so I close this chapter of this small island, whose moon nourished us with honey and the type of feverish love newlyweds endure. I leave with this poem written by the poets of poets, Pablo Neruda (English translation at bottom):

La noche en la isla

Toda la noche he dormido contigo
junto al mar, en la isla.
Salvaje y dulce eras entre el placer y el sueño,
entre el fuego y el agua.

Tal vez muy tarde
nuestros sueños se unieron
en lo alto o en el fondo,
arriba como ramas que un mismo viento mueve,
abajo como rojas raíces que se tocan.

Tal vez tu sueño
se separó del mío
y por el mar oscuro
me buscaba
como antes
cuando aún no existías,
cuando sin divisarte
navegué por tu lado,
y tus ojos buscaban
lo que ahora
pan, vino, amor y cólera
te doy a manos llenas
porque tú eres la copa
que esperaba los dones de mi vida.

He dormido contigo
toda la noche mientras
la oscura tierra gira
con vivos y con muertos,
y al despertar de pronto
en medio de la sombra
mi brazo rodeaba tu cintura.
Ni la noche, ni el sueño
pudieron separarnos.

He dormido contigo
y al despertar tu boca
salida de tu sueño
me dio el sabor de tierra,
de agua marina, de algas,
del fondo de tu vida,
y recibí tu beso
mojado por la aurora
como si me llegara
del mar que nos rodea.

The Night on the Island

All night I have slept with you
next to the sea, on the island.
Wild and sweet you were between pleasure and sleep,
between fire and water.

Perhaps very late
our dreams joined
at the top or at the bottom,

Up above like branches moved by a common wind,
down below like red roots that touch.

Perhaps your dream
drifted from mine
and through the dark sea
was seeking me
as before,
when you did not yet exist,
when without sighting you
I sailed by your side,
and your eyes sought
what now-
bread, wine, love, and anger-
I heap upon you
because you are the cup
that was waiting for the gifts of my life.

I have slept with you
all night long while
the dark earth spins
with the living and the dead,
and on waking suddenly
in the midst of the shadow
my arm encircled your waist.

Neither night nor sleep
could separate us.

I have slept with you
and on waking, your mouth,
come from your dream,
gave me the taste of earth,
of sea water, of seaweed,
of the depths of your life,
and I received your kiss
moistened by the dawn
as if it came to me
from the sea that surrounds us.


Back to Big Corn Island: Honeymoon day 7

Today was our final day in Little Corn, Paradise.  We woke up exhausted, feeling a bit sick and with a thick humid air from all the wet clothes, that made me feel claustrophobic.   I looked outside our very tiny window and it was raining.  It was the kind of slow, cold rain that silenced the birds and would have been perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon somewhere in the US; but not today, not for our last morning in paradise.  I had read previously on the internet that when it rains, the Pangas (the little boats) that carry us over to Big Corn don’t operate.  This is a lie.  From what I heard from the locals, there has to be a Hurricane in order for them to not operate.  We hurried to get ready and ran to the Panga that was already boarding.  And just like that, we left Paradise.  In reality, we were sad to leave, but ready.  The trips across the jungle and the diving really took a toll on us, physically. We were tired and burnt out.

Here’s a brief recap of our experience in Paradise, by the numbers:

•    7: trips taken across the mosquito battlefields of the jungle
•    4: times getting lost(always on the way back to Derek’s Place)
•    5: total hours lost.
•    2: Impromptu sunset walks along the beach (While lost)
•    9: Combined dives we took.
•    7: Sharks seen
•    407: minutes total time underwater (combined)
•    1: (and first) underwater fight with the wife
•    1: very unsuccessful “fishing expedition from hell” where I almost threw up my entire stomach
•    8”: size of biggest fish caught during above mentioned failed expedition
•    3: Beaches visited
• 1/2: Population of Island that has Downs as last name.
•    0 Regrets!

When we got to Big Corn Island, we took a taxi directly to Casa Canada.  There we were greeted by Don once again.  We took a room and man, it was sooooo nice!  It looked even nicer since we were used to our humble love shack made of straw and wood.  We were back to civilization!  Satellite TV!  A refrigerator! King sized bed!  A/C!!!  Woohoo!  And even some leather couches!  The first thing we did was take a HOT shower and then pass out like we hadn’t slept in days.  If little corn had these types of accommodations, it would be perfect; but then again, it wouldn’t feel like that raw, virgin island that it is.  Casa Canada is possibly the best place to stay at in Big Corn Island.  It has plenty of beautiful details that make it a pleasant stay.  It’s very clean and very well kept.

One of the many little statues that adorned Casa Canada

One of the many little statues that adorned Casa Canada

Continue reading

Diving with Sharks in Little Corn Island (Honeymoon Day 6)

Although it was not always the case, rain had a peculiar way of changing my mood. It would bring a certain melancholy mixed with a hint of nostalgia and it would bring upon me an indistinct sadness that I carried with me like a rotten bag of potatoes over my shoulders. At times, this sadness, this vague loneliness would seep into my being like drops falling into an empty jar, somewhere in the darkness echoing regrets and past wounds. It was raining in paradise tonight. It was raining hard, with drops that hurt and were like small relentless darts piercing the ground. But tonight, oh tonight that jar that was hidden in the depths of my private solitude, that jar that was always thirsty for the melancholy and sadness was filled with the love of her breath, the warmth of her body and with each kiss, each splendid “I love you” sadness packed up and took it’s cold torturous hands, once used to chilling even my bones, and left. This was our first rainy night as a married couple and I, for the first time, felt whole when it rained.

It was a night tempered by furious winds from the sea and lighting streaks across the dark sky. The sound of the rain was fighting a losing battle with the sound of thunder rolling from one side of the punished island to the other. If the clouds were God’s wooden floors, then that night He was moving furniture around; that’s how the stern, harsh sound of rolling thunder sounded. We would be awakened by the recurring thunderclap that sounded like shattering crystals across the infinite sky. We could hear objects of all kinds flapping, pieces banging into the thinning palm trees which were fighting the heavy winds. I was more at peace than Monica. She was freaking out. Any major roar in the sky from thunder and she would twitch in her sleep.

In case you didn’t notice on the previous video I posted earlier, our love shack doesn’t have any lock, so essentially any one could at any point walk right in. As we were sleeping, Monica whimpered silently with fear. She made that sound that a frightened child would make. Her breathing increased exponentially, it felt as raging as the wind outside, but instead of the furious breathing of the sea, it was a breathing that cried of desperation. And then she made that sound: It was a genuine, gut-filled, blood rushing, breath-taking, my-life-is-flashing-before-my-eyes type of panicked shriek! She was wide awake, almost crying. “What’s wrong,” I urgently asked. “Someone is grabbing my feet!” she exclaimed panic-stricken. I searched in the darkness of the night for a silhouette of a perpetrator. And with all the wind that was angrily blowing through our love shack, the waves hammering the sand, the flapping of the leaves from the palm trees, the thunderclap, the lightning and the torrential rains this was a perfect setting for a horror movie. I narrowed my eyes and saw no movement by the door, no shadows among the shadows. Then a flash of lightning revealed nothing. I asked Monica if she wanted me to turn the light on. She whimpered again. My hand reached slowly towards the light and I felt Monica hold her breath in suspense, as if waiting to scream in terror. If this was a movie, there would have been that ominous sound of a violin or Psycho theme soundtrack as the camera focused on my hand slowly turning the light on and then it would have focus on her fear-gripped eyes as she hid her lower face behind the covers waiting to see the midnight foot masseuse at her feet.

And as you might have guessed it, it was nothing. I explained to her that the chances that a man was going to cross the jungle in the middle of the night, during a raging storm, only to come and give her a foot massage was very rare, almost next to impossible, and that that man would only be me. I must admit that she does have nice feet, but c’mon. As it turns out, luckily for her, her midnight foot masseuse happen to be me anyways. Well, sort of. You see, every time there was a loud thunderclap, Monica would twitch. It was like an automatic reaction or reflex. So, I thought she was having a nightmare, and like any loving husband, I moved closer to her and with my lonely feet caressed her tiny feet. I was only seeking to comfort her, to shield her from her own dreams. Little did I know this simple action of love was going to make us feel as if we were about to star in our own (very fake) horror movie sketch.   After laughing about it, we went back to sleep with the soundtrack of nature’s rage.

Continue reading

Diving In Little Corn Island (Honeymoon Day 5)

After another black starless night of running to the throne (read previous post), this time under tempered winds and thick drops of rain, we woke up late. We were supposed to be at Dolphin’s Dive Shop at 830 for the first dive. The sun and the chickens were already out, Derek’s two kids were playing and somewhere nearby someone was chopping coconuts with a machete. The waves were breaking and the ocean was breathing a mellow breeze. Ahhh, the soundtrack of paradise made you feel lazy and getting out of bed became tough. I was feeling much better. It was 815 in the morning and we weren’t going to make it to the dive shop on time; crossing that jungle was going to take at least a half hour, walking at regular speed but I was in no shape to walk at regular speed. Since we knew we were not going to make it to the first dive trip, we sat down and ate toast, pineapples, passion fruit juice and scrambled eggs. After hanging out and making small talk with Derek and Anna, we got ready to our trek across the jungle. We applied bug repellent lotion like it was moisturizing or sun tan lotion because we didn’t want to be shredded to pieces again.

We started on the trail yet again, and yet again we walked by the shacks and saw kids working the land. The poverty of the island took from this paradise that feeling that life is easy going here. It set in the harsh realities of the indigenous of the land, those that have inherited a paradise for tourists, those with the dollar, the euro, but not for their own children. They live in rusty tin shacks that are the size of two cubicles put together. Others live in rotten-wood homes. Most of the local, however, live in decent and very modest homes. I still cannot understand why there are more foreign business owners than native born. It’s as if the natives are being robbed out of their own land. Acre by acre, the land and businesses are going to more and more blue-eyed blondes paying 30 silver dollars at a time. But that’s capitalism and it’s fine, I just wish that I had seen more local business owners.

Anyways, when we reached the dive shop, the first divers had just returned from the first trip. “We saw dolphins!” they exclaimed. Ouch! The heartache! “They were playing, coming back and forth, about 10 feet from us!” they said in jubilance. They kept on talking about how fantastic it was and with each sentence, with each laughter, they were adding weight to my already sinking optimism that I would have the same chance. I knew that we weren’t going to go diving at the same spot. Talk about disappointment. Talk about regret! “I shouldn’t have eaten that fruit,” is all I kept thinking.

We got suited and climbed the boat. The bumping of the sea was making sick again. This was going to be our first dive in the open ocean so we were filled with excitement and anticipation. When we got to our destination spot, we sat on the edge of the boat and leaped backwards. And there, we went under listening to the Darth Vader breathing, wide eyed, watching hands signals and looking out for whatever may be lurking, camouflaged in the sand. The dive master that certified us always told us to be careful when going to the bottom of the sea, as there are creatures that use sand for cover, so stepping in the sand could be dangerous. Sure enough, as soon as we got to the bottom, some 35 feet below, the dive master was giving us the hand signal to watch out below, as there was a sting ray hidden in the sand. All you could see were two eyes and a menacing barb. Monica was paranoid of getting too close because she remembered Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter who got killed when a stingray’s barb pierced his heart.

As soon as we dropped in the water, we were about to step on this stingray.

As soon as we dropped in the water, we were about to step on this stingray.

I got very close to this stingray and then reality shivered down my spine as I realize that this animal could kill me. We established buoyancy at another spot in the sand once we made sure there was no other danger of getting killed. Well, let me rephrase that, I established buoyancy. Monica, well, let’s just say that Michael, the dive master who certified us, wouldn’t have been proud. Actually, he would have cringe at how Monica was all over the place. She was floating up and down, swimming like a mermaid in distress, swinging her arms like a drowning man. I don’t know what happened, but there was no grace in her diving abilities. She was like an octopus fleeing from a vicious prey. Most of the time she was doing the “Running man” underwater rather than swimming horizontally.

Diving in Little Corn island

One of the few moments when Monica was diving as she should, horizontally.

About five minutes into the dive, the dive master took us into a coral reef that was populated with an assortment of fish. And then I saw a shark. Then another. The dive master pointed it out to us and it swam by us and away from us. I scrambled for my camera, but couldn’t get it to work properly so I was only able to take the picture below. I tried to follow it, but it was too fast.

Diving in Little Corn island, Nicaragua.  Nurse Shark.

Our first Shark sighting. It swam away from us quickly.

Continue reading

Little Corn Island: Paradise Lost? Honeymoon Day 4

Sometime in the middle of the night, as I was deep asleep, I felt a strange sensation. I felt a tumble, a rumbling, like that of a small earthquake, as if the bed was shaking. And then I felt like something punched my stomach! I squirmed, folded in pain. I opened my eyes and searched for an offender in the darkness of our Love Shack, but there was no one around. Then I felt it again. I realized that the seismic trembling was going on in my stomach. There was a battle that was being fought. The epic battle of good against evil (bacteria, that is) was taking place in the middle of the night and my sleep was the unfortunate collateral damage. My stomach was aching and it was loud. It sounded like there was a microwar being fought with microcannons and somewhere my antivirus were being ambushed by evil invading forces. My stomach was trying to repel the attack and its brutal enemies that were trying to take over. So, I immediately got up and ran outside, ran as fast as I could, in the middle of the cloudless dark night, going only by instinct towards where I knew the bathroom was located. And I guess my immune system repelled the first huge wave of attack, if you know what I mean. After a long while, I dragged myself back to the hut. My stomach was hurting still. I laid down for a couple of minutes and repeated the previous scene over and over all night long! But each time, I felt weaker and weaker. Ouch! Monica would sympathetically groan what sounded like “Are you OK baby?” and go back to sleep.

When light came over the island I felt very weak. I felt hot, feverish almost and cold at the same time. I shivered at times. I had a headache and was very nauseous. I felt terrible. I couldn’t sleep because my head felt it was going to burst. My body was aching; it was a cold empty pain that settled in my bones. And that pain that felt like a tear in my intestines, as if something had scratched it. What do I have? I asked myself. For a moment there I thought I had Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Cholera, Malaria or one of those diseases that only tourists pick up in the jungle. What is going?? Did I get bit by a mosquito? Monica answered me: “I told you not to eat that fruit from the floor! Yup, I remember clearly, ‘Don’t eat that’ I told you, but no, you didn’t want to listen!” She was right. It must have been that fruit that was succulent, ripe and juicy. As a married man, I should have said “Yes, Dear.” As a result of my whim, I was paying the price. I laid there, maybe 10 lbs lighter and hurting.

I tried many times to fall back asleep but I could only sleep 15 to 20 minutes at a time. I would wake whenever my stomach felt that a twisted hot metal was moving within or when I would move in my sleep and thus my body reacted with pain. Monica would come wake me often, which didn’t make sense to me. She would wake me to find out if I was feeling better or resting comfortably. Argh! Anna , the owner, gave me some burnt toast, boiled rice and ginger tea: a homemade remedy. I still felt bad. Monica then grabbed that plant that our former guide said was a miracle plant and put it on my head. It felt cool and like it was absorbing the heat from my forehead. I was trying to get up because we were supposed to go the Dolphin Dive Shop to go on our dive. But I knew that I wasn’t going to make it across the jungle with that volcanic trembling in my stomach or have enough strength underwater. I was hating life. I was even more disappointed when I was later told that the dive team went to a dive spot and saw a pod of dolphins swimming around! Man, I am still upset thinking about it. It’s one thing seeing dolphins in an enclosed environment, but how ideal, how magnificent would it have been seeing them in the wild.

Being sick in paradise sucks!

Being sick in paradise sucks!

And so, I got back to my aches and laid in bed for hours and went into a deep sweaty sleep. It turns out that while I was asleep, Monica went to take a shower. The shower’s here weren’t a real shower. They were in an enclosed space with no ceiling or running water. There was a barrel full of water and a bowl. Well, while Monica was taking her peaceful shower she encountered a pervert peeping in on her! When she told me that, I was livid with anger! Forget the stomach sickness, forget the dashing to the Throne, forget the bursting headache, I was just feeling anger! I asked her how she found out she was been peeped on and she explained that the culprit had climbed a tree and since there was no ceiling, everything was visible from the tree. And to make matters worse, this pervert didn’t even try to hide, instead started whistling at her! She didn’t know where it was coming from until she looked up. She told me that she felt violated and immediately wrapped herself in a towel and came to our Love Shack, waking me up. I got up and went outside with blood boiling, stomach raging and met face to face with this perv! I stood there watching. The bastard was casually walking towards me like nothing had happened. And then whistled when Monica came out the Love Shack. I thought to myself, “Oh man, this is it. Is paradise lost? First, I get sick and now this! I get disrespected by a parrot!” Monica was cracking up. She got me. But I warned her that the parrot was going to pay! That I wanted fried chicken for dinner! Soon afterwards, I decided to go back to bed and quickly feel back asleep.

Continue reading

Little Corn Island: Paradise! (Honeymoon Day 3)

Day 3. Paradise at Last! I woke up around 5AM because we were told that the sunrise was between 430 and 5AM. I missed it. It was bright; the sun was already out, which was quite disappointing. I zombied my way back to the bed and fell back asleep. We got up later on around 7 and started packing. We put everything in zip lock bags of all sizes. We were preparing for the worst. If the boat that was carrying us to Little Corn Island capsized, at least our stuff was going to be dried. We grabbed a taxi and went to the municipal wharf, which didn’t really look like a wharf at all. I guess it did, since it had a very small pier. As soon as we got there, we met a group of American girls. These girls were hardcore! Some of them spoke very good Spanish, some had been up and down Central America experiencing the culture in its raw form, and I based that solely on the experienced traveler look they had and all the kinds of medicine they carried. I mean, they had medicine to outlast any outbreak of some mutating virus directly from the jungles of Africa. They even offered us some of their field tested Extra strength Immodium for the “just in case” scenario. After a while of waiting for the “Skipper” to load the shipment of vegetables and other items that were to be taken to Little Corn, we boarded the small boat. We were undecided as to which side of the boat we should take. Do we take the front, where you take most of the hits and are sure to bounce all over the place? Or do we take the rear where it’s more stable but will get wet? After Monica decided at the last minute to go to the local pharmacy, we had no choice but to go the front because when we got back to the boat, everyone had already taken the back. We rode into the surf. I must say that it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I expected everyone to be throwing up left and right, for women and children to be crying, for waves to be hitting us from all sides, and as a married man: at least one near widow experience. Nope, none of that. We had bumps here and there and when we did everyone would laugh because Monica would scream like she was falling 90ft off the King’s Dominion’s Drop Zone. We got a bit wet, but the crowd in the back got very wet. I felt bad for some old man through whose face you could see the anguish he was going through.

The American girls we met.  On the way to Little Corn Island.

The American girls we met. On the way to Little Corn Island.

As we got closer and closer to Little Corn Island, we were getting more and more excited as we saw the waters clear and become azure as we reached shallow waters . When we got there, we put our stuff on the pier. A scuba dive shop came along with many other business representatives asking us where we were staying and gave us a map of the island. Some guy was all over us. He kept saying the same thing over and over “Where are you going? I can take you. I’ll show you the way, follow me.” We told him we were going over to Derek’s Place, which we didn’t know was on the other side of Little Corn. So we did what goes against conventional wisdom. We decided to follow some unknown guy, in unfamiliar territory, into a jungle where there were no houses, no people, and nothing but a subtle fear that we were taking part of what could be one of those “based on actual events” horror films. No one would hear us scream if this guy would have been a machete-wielding psycho/entrepreneur who was in the business of selling tourist organs in the black market. All I could think about was the movie Turistas. If you haven’t seen it, it’s quite graphic and full of gore. Anyways, back to reality, we had all our gear in our backs which was about 50lbs a piece. We were very lucky to have new luggage that was very flexible and were the “Transformers of Luggage.” I am telling you, this luggage converted from a carry-on to a luggage on wheels with a pull out grip and finally to a backpack, a big backpack at that. (Thanks Dan and Carolina for this great gift! We wouldn’t have made it with any other!) We walked and walked and walked some more. The sun was beating us down and the heat of the jungle made us sweat. The 50 pounds on our back started to feel heavier and heavier.

Monica aka Rambo in the Jungles of Little Corn

Monica aka Rambo in the Jungles of Little Corn

We dragged deeper and deeper into the jungle. Monica was overwhelmed and I told the guide (and still suspected psycho killer) to take the luggage from her and to carry it. All these thoughts were crossing my mind. What if he’s making us walk to wear us down. What if he’s taking us somewhere where there will be others waiting to ambush us? What would be our plan in case anything went wrong? I said a quick prayer and kept walking. It made me feel a bit better that there was another couple following us. They were really struggling to keep up though. Our legs and arms got to meet the jungle’s mosquitoes on an intimate level as we walked for what felt like 40 minutes. But we kept walking. The suspected psychopath kept saying we were almost there, which we believed every time. We stopped at some plant that he claimed was a miracle plant. He said the locals used it for everything, from headaches, dehydration to even cancer. He picked up several big leaves and gave it to us. We continued on. Then the thick vegetation turned into palm trees as we heard the sweet symphony of waves crashing somewhere in the distance. We still couldn’t see the beach, but it was very exciting. We were getting closer and closer to paradise. We then saw the trees break open and the beautiful blue waters behind them. We walked towards the beach and were so excited, so happy, we were laughing. It was joy. It was relief. This guy wasn’t a killer! We were almost there! And paradise was upon us at last! We walked for a few minutes and then reached our destination.

Carrying a the luggage and a backpack... Whew!  It was tiring!

Carrying a the luggage and a backpack... Whew! It was tiring!

A sneek peak of the beautiful beach Little Corn Island has to offer!

A sneek peak of the beautiful beach Little Corn Island has to offer!

When we got there, we were greeted by Ana, the owner. She was very laid back. Verified who we were and told us to unpack and relax. Our guide, the former suspected organ dealer, stood waiting for his compensation. We asked him how much we owed him and he said 20. I was like wow, only 20 Pesos? That’s like $1. But then he was like, “No, 20 Dollars.” I gave the guy 100 pesos, equivalent to $5. I scoffed at his offer! $20 bucks! I would have understood $20 if he was carrying both our luggage, while providing some sort of transportation for us as well. Nicaragua is very cheap. This island was cheaper. He looked at me and thankfully took the dinero. Unfortunately for the couple that came with us, there were no huts available so they had to continue on with the guide (the would- have-been $20 hustler) onto a nearby place called Ensuenos, which we had only heard bad things about. We unpacked and let out a big sigh! We had reached paradise at last! Ana brought us some fresh opened coconuts with a straw. Who needs bottled water when you have fresh coconut water to quench the thirst? I laid on the hammock as Monica went inside our honeymoon love shack and unpacked. I was tired; exhausted, actually. But the trip was worth it. This place was amazing. It was a true paradise! The shade of the tall palm trees, the proximity to the beach, the cooling breeze of the ocean, even the way the ground felt with it’s mossy grass which felt like soft carpet, all added to the unique sensation that this was going to be unforgettable!


After unpacking, we didn’t do anything. We took a few pictures and laid in the hammock listening to the perennial sound of the breaking waves at the shore. We didn’t even bother to go in the water. That could wait. For now, all we needed was to enjoy this moment. Enjoy peace on earth. Let our thoughts flow with the wind that rocked the trees smoothly back and forth. Laziness and deep relaxation had settled in.

Coconut at Derek's Place, Little Corn Island

Enjoying a fresh coconut in paradise!

Derek's Place, Little Corn Island Nicaragua - Amazing view!

Amazing view (Check!), Ocean Breeze (Check), Hammocks (Check), Relaxation (Check!)

Continue reading

Welcome to Big Corn Island (Honeymoon Day 2)

Our really old Plane, La Costena

Our really old Plane, La Costena

We woke up at 4:45 and called La Costena, the regional airline that would be taking us to Big Corn Island, because we hadn’t made any reservations. They said that there were some spaces available but that we would need to get there ASAP. When we got there, our equipment was weighted and then we were weighed. Yes, you read it right: we were weighted. The plane is an old plane, maybe from the 1940’s, I don’t know, I could be wrong, but it’s definately old. We boarded the plane along with many europeans, and a couple Americans. We flew to Bluefields, where some got off, some got on, but most stayed in the plane. There was a drunkard that tried to board the plane but when the stewardess apparently smelled his breath, reeking of alcohol, she alerted the pilot. The pilot, an old lady with an authoritative presence, came out of the cockpit and told the drunk that he couldn’t board the plane because of his drunken state. He started yelling that Nicaragua was a “disgrace and that there should be war!” at which point all the passengers watched as he was carried away by security guards. We flew once again. When we arrived to Big Corn Island it was raining 🙁 We hurried across the runway and into the very small room where we were to pick up luggage. In effort to emphasize how old this plane really is, I’ve opted to put a pic of it in Sepia tone, just like the pics our grandparents use to have..

We took a taxi to Casa Canada. The taxi driver was very mellow young guy. He spoke a broken English with a Caribbean accent, almost Jamaican-like. The rain had ceased when we arrived. This place is the best hotel in all of Big Corn, and I say this in literal terms, not figuratively. The staff was very welcoming, the place very clean and furnished and talk about prime real estate! All rooms where within spitting distance of the beach. It had a very nice “infinity pool” overlooking the ocean, a restaurant and subtle details all around. Once we were given our room we fell asleep since we hadn’t slept much. When we awakened, the sun was out and you could see the beauty of the clear waters as well as the dark spots on the water indicating the corals that lay beneath. Monica went to the restaurant and ordered a chicken sandwich, which was good, but not worth the $8 it cost, not here in Nicaragua at least.

All Rooms in Casa Canada were within diving distance off the beach!

All rooms in Casa Canada where within Diving range off the beach!

Casa Canada had one sick Infinity Pool!

Casa Canada had one sick Infinity Pool!

After we hung out, we decided that we should take a tour of the island, so we rented a taxi for an hour to drive us around. We drove around the entire island in less than an hour; it took us that long because we stopped at every corner to see if it was a good moment for a photograph, but unfortunately gust of rain and dark clouds dampened our hopes in making a Kodak moment. Our driver told us that the island was torn to pieces about 10 years ago by some hurricane. He also told us that I may be inheriting a piece of the island, really. Well not exactly but he did mentioned, as Monica found out earlier, that the biggest family in the islands are the Downs. We made to the other side of the island, the “Picnic Beach” and the water was serene, like a lazy lake. It was very beautiful and soothing. The beach was deserted and the sun was setting behind the gray clouds. We took a few pictures as Mr. Downs Downs, our taxi driver, took us back to Casa Canada.

Monica at Pic Nic/Arena Beach pier

The sky and the water were absolutely beautiful!

Pic Nic Arenas Beach pier

Monica contemplating the serenity of the beach.

Continue reading