May 18 2009

Nicaragua Day 3: Monday, 5/18/2009

Catching the sun rise has become my routine. More pix on FB

I’m an early riser and always have the urge to get up. Couldn’t wait to wake up might be a better way to say it.
Those few frames were taken between 5:27am to 6:04am (the date/time stamp of 8:27pm-9:04pm must be Beijing time).

I promised the guys that I’d make pancake to extinguish their homesickness, food wise. Simon started cooking the instant noddle already.Nainai's pancake
The pancake receipt was from Nainai. Yeye loved it: flour, eggs, milk with dash of salt and pepper. Jancis, Professor Kamijo’s pretty young wife was following me around in the kitchen and watched. She’s really a good maid. After making the batter, I went elsewhere.
dsc_1012The next thing I knew, the pancakes were coming. Although they were bit too thick for my taste, but I really liked her initiative and the willingness to be of help. She told me that she learned, by pointing to her eyes. A very sweet girl.
This is their adapted son. Jerry’s a bright six years old boy, always placed first or second in his school.
His Dad Kamijo built him this table that facing the lake.
“How can you not being the first in the class when you have such lovely view?” DQ exclaimed.

p1030479 the view from the table

We visited Kamijo’s home, a few houses down the dead end street. The hexagon presidential brick paved road was almost immediately over as soon as we passed Terry, the developer’s last house, that’s on the market for US$200,000.

p1030449 p1030450

According to DQ, on her first night at the house, the electricity was out. Kamijo came knocking.
“Would like to stay at our house?” He asked.
“You have electricity?” DQ asked.
“No .. ” but they could keep her company. He thought she might be afraid. A very thoughtful man.

The walk’s very short, 3 minutes tops.

A world away.

Kamijo’s a Japanese, a water treatment professor who still teaches at university few hours a week. Since the chance meeting, DQ hires him to look over her two of her three properties there for US$190 a month. His wife Jancis cleans and cooks at the mountain house and wife’s sister Lillian who lives with them takes care of the house in Granada at US$140 a month (incl the $40 bus fare). It’s 2 hours bus ride each way in to the city. When there are tourists, they take care of them and provide meals upon request, that’s between them and the tourists. He acts very deferential and always on his toes. There were few moments that’s slow and I wanted to talk to him. But the language barrier had kept me from asking. I really wanted to know why would a man comes from the top three economy in the world, settles in the third world. But again, I knew the life I enjoy with the New York Library and Lincoln Center as back drop isn’t for anyone and I understand that perfectly, and very glad to know there are other school of thoughts.

This group of photos are taken by Lou

Apparently the barrier didn’t keep the guys: according to them, Kamijo is the only Japanese in Nica who doesn’t work for the Japanese embassy. In the beginning, the ambassador would invite him to the annual party. When he showed up with his pretty young wife, the mood changed a little. They required suit the next time .. ..
His property line extends into the woods few hundred meters. he takes his sweet time to explore and mange it. Discovering new spices .. He might just be the happiest man alive for all I know.

读万卷书不如行万里路 ..


paparazzi is staking out .. Kamijo’s waving a sayonara

I truly believe in it.

The tour ended when Juan came in his motorbike. He swiped DQ away in a hush, reminded me of Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman.

Juan is from an upper class family who’s Dad is a medical doctor. He spent part of his youth in Florida when his dad was doing AID research. His mother is a shrew businesswoman who runs the family. The first thing I heard about his was that his ex-wife lives with him with her second husband. Hmmmm .. Well, it turns out pretty reasonable: the grandmother wants to see her granddaughter and the ex-daughter-in-law isn’t the most clear head lady in the world. … Soon her husband ran off with a younger woman … and she left too. Juan has the daughter.

He is one of three persons in Nica that had the presidential certificates (??) to be the official tour guide. His credential was earned by attending two years travel industry related school funded by the government of Luxembourg in Mexico. There’s flood of illegal immigrants to the EU. By developing the tour industry in the third world, they’re hoping to tame the waves. And I’m hoping I got this right here.

His reason for returning to Nica from Florida:
“I just like being back home.”
Many young Chinese at AFS are looking forward to ultimately going back to China too, soon.

He does cruise ships, 43 each year. This year due to the Swine flu, there was only 10 thus far.

He’s a good conservationist.
p1030588 p1030587 p1030583 p1030575

Our first destination was Iguana Beach, in the southwest Nica by the Pacific Ocean, 2 hours ride from where we were. DQ wanted to take golfers there so she checked out the golf course. What’s the verdict?
The last 12 km was very tough, on dirt.
The school children in Nica are required to wear white top and blue pants.
We pit stopped at his friend’s place. His mother had purchased a huge farm which she or they intend to turn it into a resort or sanctuary.

We hailed a boat for US$85 (include $10 as tip) to the Iguana Beach resort which is still in the process of developing. The sales office’s too far away on foot. So I suggested to borrow workers’ bikes. The construction guys were readily agreed. But what’s so embarrassing was that Irene couldn’t ride one. I returned to the beach sullenly and hanging out with Simon and Lou. Larry went to fishing. The water was warm. The waves curled me up, flatten me, sent me to the top then sucked me back in. Jones Beach appears, aside from crowds, isn’t so bad after all, it’s only 20 minutes ride.

Captain Jack Sparrow a boatload of NY refugees

condos on the beach

on the beach

Larry didn’t catch a fish, came back empty hand. Too short of time. The few buildings looked very vacant. I only saw one couple. Not sure there are many golfers who’s willing to rough it out. Hmmm .. there was this dude, Andre Tolme who took his 3 iron and went golfing in Mongolia in 2004. And yes, the New Hampshire civil engineer wrote a book about his adventure – I Golfed Across Mongolia: How an Improbable Adventure Helped Me Rediscover the Spirit of Golf (and Life).

My feeling toward beach is: I love beach because it associated with water (lame … da …). If the beach is packed like Jones Beach, then I’d rather stay ashore. I can’t and don’t want to deal with parking then walk a mile to face the crowds. It’s not relaxing. It’s hard work. To me, a perfect place is a somewhat private place where you don’t have to mortgage your house to enjoy it.

This Iguana Beach seems to be a fit for me. No crowds, not a soul for miles to see. Remote and reclusive, you can park on the water. But then I’m creaming: where is everybody? After a day of work, whatever that might be, golfing or fishing, scrub diving, swimming, tennis. At end of the day, I want to enjoy a good meal and nice conversations. Not isolation.

I want and need my space yet I crave good company.

New York has it. It is what NY has to offer that dazzles me, in good times and bad.

New York has it all.

Why was I thinking about New York when I was on vacation for 6 days? No one asked me to move there. 山八

We passed by the active Volcán Concepción in Lake Nicaragua, which looks like Mount Fuji. There are 6 active volcanoes (out of 25) in Nica. A woman was washing her clothes in the background.


We had late lunch at restaurant El Timon at San Juan del Sur.

The water was warm and calm. I did few laps. There was a custom house to the left, a gift from Jap government in exchange of Nica’s vote on whaling. Jap lost out but Nica got to keep the building.

Currently, Taiwan has the formal diplomatic relationship with Nica. Juan said whenever China comes, the government would tag a spy or two, following Juan, making sure he stays in line.
Whenever they pass by a building that’s built or donated by Taiwan and adorn with its flag, the spy would say …
“… … China would donate a bigger one, right?”
Ha ha ha …

gun man tiger

Gunmen are everywhere, guarding the banks and even post offices. The result of their revolution.

The sun set ..

sun set

Day 4