By Parker Hsu. I’m posting it here in case FB doesn’t work while I’m in China.
Let me get back to travelling literature again. I discussed a little bit about travel gudebooks and travel authors in the previous 2 articles. The center piece of traveling is that how much discovery/ inspiration you might get from the places you have visited.
Xidi,hongcung villages are the places I fell in love dearly and the sweet memory just kept coming back to my mind from time to time. Why dont I record nice things happened before and leave more room for future nice things?
The following is taken from someone else blog, which I am quite impressed by its clarity of writing and accuate description of village characters. So, again, I take the liberty to collect it into my library and also share it within fb community.
我们老祖宗五百年前就琢摩出 the concept of “efficiencyand stragetic planning” through trial and error….
The Chinese MBA program shall include a course named as “ancient Chinese business widsom” and I think some schools already have that course…)
We woke up to it every day, and pictured it so much, physically and mentally.
A clean and lovely lake inside of the crater of Apoyo Volcano in Nicaragua (between the departments of Masaya and Granada).
Unfortunately, there isn’t a cable to glide down 🙂 .. so we went on wheels.
First stop at the Norome, the high end hotel (or hostel) in the area.
Kamijo San took us to his favored spot: a rocky area with springs. He encouraged DQ to buy.
He immediately went to work, digging the hole. We brought bagful eggs to cook .. well… of all varieties …
The Ocean Six in the lake Apoyo
We stopped by DQ’s friend Jim’s place. Kamijo takes care of it too.
The charming US$80,000 property on the lake Apoyo is on a steep slop.
I fall in love with this little paradise enormously.
The open-air deck hut (above) has antique furniture. The door is just wonderful.
And the shack few feet below is even more enticing.
Jim got hold of a photo of Chairman Mao’s bed. He had the local carpenter to duplicate it with mahogany wood at a cost of US$600.
Mahogany .. wood .. it almost a good enough for me to move down there !!
Not sure what this curtain would do.
But it looks cute.
Was it linen?
It’s the thought that counts.
Let’s not forget about the little hide-away bathroom
Nicaragua is humid when we were there. But over all, is on the dry side, hence we did not encounter mosquitoes
Kamijo San made this guitar shaped table. He pointed to the four thin tree trucks and said
He patted his own behind:
“all has big butt …”
he laughed, so did we.
The size of the state of Texas? I’m guilty.
I wrapped the towel tighter 🙂
Kamijo San continued …
“I need to put something on top …”
As he was saying, my eyes spotted what I was looking for …
Oh heaven …
A little private beach
Nicaragua government doesn’t grant beach to private property owners. But a place like this, it is as private as private could get: no access. So it’s private.
The best definitely, is saved for the last
a private beach on the lake Apoyo.
The water is crystal clear
blue green, turquoise …
For some stranger reason, I prefer this kind of beach over the wide open ocean sandy beach
I’m more of a lake or river person than ocean man.
Exquisite vs monotonous
Adorned vs plain
Ocean .. expansive, ferocious and infinite where the skies kiss the water
Just to think trying to swim across (although I have no idea where) makes me tired without even tried.
How could Irene swim across an ocean?
That’s silly. I know. (It’s never hurt to dream)
But that’s how my mind functions: whenever I see a poodle of water, I think of swimming across it.
Hence I favor lake and river over ocean.
You are more likely to find hidden nocks and interesting coroners in the river or lake.
Look at that rock, isn’t it a perfect picnic spot for the Berenstain family?
Eyeing the rock to the right, I just had to climb up to take this photo, even my pasture’s is not quite there as the little mermaid in Copenhagen …
I heard that the little knownCopenhagen mermaid will go to Shanghai, helping to celebrate the World Fair in 2010 …
Ok .. here is the close up of the well known big, fat, ugly mermaid 🙂
Oppps, forget old too
Sorry people, my gangs are calling me…
got to get going…
Stood in the water, I didn’t want to leave …
“Do we have to go?” I cried.
Ya right, we had a flight to catch, and families to return to.
Our plane from Managua back to Miami scheduled to depart at 2:00pm.
Sorry about the blurry picture. Lou refused to stop in the middle of the street, allowing me to take one more picture. The gangs explained to me that due to my prolong play in the water, we were actually kinda of late for the flight.
So we ran.
Sweating and panting like cows … we rushed into the airport, then found out the flight was delayed for an hour.
Too bad, I could have, would have and absolutely should have played in the water longer … …
“Too bad.” DQ said. “It cut into our connecting time by half.”
That’s pretty dicy: DQ booked the connecting flight 2 hours after the scheduled arrival; also the last flight to New York’s JFK. The next flight’s 8am next day.
Would … could … should we strain in Miami for the night … South Beach ???
They nixed my idea.
“Listen, we need to run as soon as we arrive at Miami because the terminal is really far away.” DQ instructed us.
I double-checked my shoes, making sure the laces were fastened.
Listen, we needed to go through custom. Meaning we needed to retrive our chech-in luggage and chech them in again.
Whatever for the delay, we arrived 1 hour late. After taxiing to the port, there was only 45 minutes left. We ran to American immigration.
Ran to collect our luggage.
Mine was ready.
“You go Irene … “ DQ told me.
So I left. Where were the custom officers?
I kept on going.
The AA counter.
“Oh, no, we can’t take your luggage.”
They told me to go elsewhere to drop off.
I normally travel light, just a carry on. But since DQ mules a few suitcases stuff to Nica, so I took a check in bag. We had to wait anyway.
Miracle, I found that #3 destination without trouble and handed over my luggage.
When I raced to the gate, I found it closed.
Waiting for the crewmembers.
Sounds better than maintenance problem.
Only hope that the captain would show up sober.
Call my gang, take your sweet time.
Where was my cell?
So was the hazard or joy of taking an indirect flight. Nica is only about 4 hours away from New York. Would a direct flight bring in more tourists? I think so.
When the plane’s door finally closed, we were ready to take off. I saw and heard commotion. Two young Brits were arguing in the front.
They insisted to be seated in the business class … ya da ya da ya da.
The crewmembers were unyielding. So the two blondies went to sit with the rest of us.
They reminded me of Ashley Alexandra Dupre. They won’t give up. The next thing I knew, they were seated in the business section.
My neighbors were a cute and black couple, very Cosmo. She made a face once the commotion died down.
Lou had circulated this joke few weeks ago. I just had to share it with her:
“A blond took a flight to LA and insisted that she should be seated in the first class.
‘No, you don’t have ticket for it.’ The flight attendant reminded her.
The blond won’t budge.
So the crew handed the problem to the captain.
He whispered something to the blond and she then quietly went back to the plebe section.
‘What did you tell her?’ The attendant asked the capt.
“Oh, I told her that this section doesn’t go to LA.’”
New York, sweet NY … finally we arrived in Noo Yawk. The AA terminal in JFK’s pretty neat and new. Good.
Then the wait for luggage began. I never lost a luggage in travel. No bring a check in is a good way to begin.
2am, we filed into AA office to file lost luggage – 6 in total.
Few guys were hanging around asking if we need ride. Not licensed. $40 to Flushing.
DQ shocked her head. She didn’t like to ride in the car that’s unlicensed.
She said no.
We ended up took a yellow cab that cost $23 for the 3 of us.
I stumbled into home, sweet home at 3am.
The following day 5 out of six luggage were delivered before dinner; and Simon’s came the next day.
Every one had something got stolen except me. Simon purchased a bottle of rum. When he opened his luggage, the bottle was empty. Is this rum the cousin of the Louis XIII (de Rémy Martin, the cognac, not the king)?
DQ lost her DVDs … Lou lost his cables …
We started the day early.
The Nica recycles the school buses fm the US, and they expand to include the usage of the roofs too. Pretty cool.
We first stopped at a gas station for fuels: coffee for humans and oil for the van. Unfortunately it’s too early. Then upon close inspection, even it opens, the coffee won’t be good …
Btw, I brought two kinds of coffees from the supermarket. Golfer tried Segovia
“Hmmm .. very good.”
So they’re good.
Haven’t tried the red one yet.
This bag of thing (above, to the right), King assured me is edible. So I’ve been drinking it. My face, so far, has no special growth or break out. So … I’m continuously drinking it. It’s delicioso.
Montelimar estate was the most attractive properties held by German-Nicaraguans. During WW I, Somoza declared war on Germany hence seize the occasion to confiscate the trophy estates. He purchased Montelimar in a fire sale and installed himself there. It now operates as a privately-owned luxury resort and casino. The main house below from different angles. The resort on the day we were there was scantily populated.
An over night stay there cost US$120, for a day time visit till 5pm, it cost US$45 that including buffet style breakfast and lunch. The two-hour drive was uneventful. Couple of times that we went to the wrong fork but Lou was too smart to go far. So no story about getting lost in the wild.
I was sold long before I even decided if to go to Nicaragua 🙂 .. the largest swimming pool alone is good enough to drew me in.
While in school in Beijing, we competed in the water to see who could lay there for the longest …
The pool’s good. I had good swimming.
Every other resort in Orlando has better and larger pools.
Oh the tennis.
We played, glided and slide. Luckily no injury.
The surface was very slippery. The tiled courts at the Jockey Club are far superior.
The little zoo is cute and the pool is neat.
We road on a huge wheeled tractor, was it necessary? The young driver dressed neatly.
At breakfast, there were few college students sat next to us. They are psychology major from GFU, George Fox University in Oregon, doing volunteer work in an orphanage for two weeks and spending the last couple of days at the resort. They had a female team leader and the male professor brought his middle school aged daughter.
The Tropical Montelimar cocktail tasted great. So I took this picture with receipt. But guess I was too drunk. Above pic is Celestial, contains Triple sec, Blue Curacao, lemon juice and soda. Tropical Montelimar contains white liquor, mint liqueur and orange juice. I’m sure you can figure out the % of each part.
Terry is the developer for the four houses at Casa Kitwan de Apoyo, on the cliff over looking the lake Apoyo. DQ’s house is a semi attached (Terry owns the other side) two-story house in the middle. To the left is the biggest house currently being rented and to the left is this white two-bedroom one story house that’s on the market for sale @ US$195,000. He lives in a house down by the lake with 7 vicious dogs.
The little white house is on the small side and the layout is simple: the large room in the middle serves as entrance/living room/kitchen flanks by two bedrooms on either side. All three rooms has door that opens to the patio/pool and the view of the lake.
Each room has a bathroom. The arches that facing the lake are lovely. Wooden frames and doors are just wonderful, adds elegance and warmth to the house.
The developer Terry is a Chicagoan fm The Windy City. I haven’t visit Chicago, except passing by the O’Hare airport few times. Golfer visits it often.
To me, Chicago rings up …
Chicago Symphony Orchestra The Cubs Da Bear Michael Jordan
CME, Chicago Mercantile Exchange
Ok … I know what you’re thinking, let’s not forget the red hot Michelle Obama
Over all, Chicago is a little sophisticate with depth.
He’s been living in Nica for the past 7 years. To build the house like this one, it took him six months with a crew of 25. The real estate tax for the house is about US$250 a year and monthly maintenance US$150. He maintained that the Nicaraguans are great workers.
“Don’t you feel a bit bored from time to time?” I ventured a little.
“Oh no. I have friends…”
He mentioned that he may take in a symphony in Colombia. I mistook that he’s going culture and starting an orchestra. The travel time between Managua and Bogotá is bit too long… Did I sense that he treats every interaction with people like an audition [that he’s going to fail]? DQ said he was previously involved in the gambling business in Nica. Hmmmmm…
A city tour was in order for the day.
San Juan de Oriente is a municipality in Masaya, a small town famous for making pottery.
The family we visited use the front of the house as store and show room (where our van’s) the side and back as the living quarter and workshop.
The owner’s son (in the video) is the pot maker. The girl is carving/designing the pot.
They use the wood (piled high behind the pottery master in the video) to burn the pots in this oven, or kiln in the pottery terminology; hunting down the tree that are affected by the termites because those woods burn the best – juicy tonic? One stone for two birds: good for the forest and great for the art. Pretty neat.I’ve taken pottery lessons back in Hong Kong. It’s an enjoyable endeavor that I’ve love to do it again should I have time. When the kids were young, I’ve taken them to little me pottery lessons here in town, taught by Roberta, one of my earlier days’ tennis buddies. Geeeeee .. haven’t seen her nor played with her for a long time.
This vase is their water container for centuries. Now although it’s the refrigerator era, but many are still using it. Juan took a cupful and encouraged us to try it. None of us did – Lou has brought many kind of medical preventions (pills) like Imodium, etc.
I went to the shop next door with more wooden stuffs. And yes, I bought more … A hazard of bringing big suitcase on trips …
This was a working trip for DQ, she next took us to the Home Deport of Nica: Sinsa in Managua. Driving through the capital, I tried hard to picture what Beijing was like before the bells and whistles were added. Perhaps one thing stood out clearly: we didn’t have gunmen guarding and the petty crimes like theft was rare. No drug/gamble problems and no prostitutes. [Well, then everything are just mushroomed after Dear Chairman Mao gone to the west heaven, … even the syphilis made a vengeful comeback. 矫枉过正overcorrecting.]The merchandises at the store are Home Depot standard. This chair in the middle, left to the green folding ones bears a price tag of $74. Nica’s currency is Córdoba (NIO), is roughly C$20 equals US$1. My first thought was, wow, C$74 .. a great price. Than I looked closer, it’s in US dollar. Guess it’s the Newman Marcus rather than the Lowe’s.
The store is coolly air conditioned and comfortable. In the middle, there was a group of women dancing to the heart pounding Latin music.
Ten days later, May 30th is Nicaragan’s Mother’s Day, the TV station is recording the pre-celebration that’s sponsored by the store.
Come on, join the fun.
DQ = Dancing Queen.
So we all danced to the hot Latino beats.
DQ’s tall, 鹤立鸡群, like a crane standing among chickens-stand head and shoulders above others.
The lady in red was a great dancer.
Then they told me to lay down … taking turn to walk over poor little me …
I was shown … too bad no one wore the c-string 🙁 … ok, change of mind, thank lord they were fully covered!
I was taunted … by this lady for a long time. It’s pretty scary should she decided to actually drop down …
And … I was mauled … I think this lady is the center of affection from all. She walked over me once then came back for the second helping … double dipper !!
Four years prior to China’s devastating earthquake, on December 23, 1972, Managua experienced its own share of misfortune: the earthquake caused widespread damage and approximately 5,000 of the 400,000 population of Managua were killed, leaving 20,000 injured and over 250,000 homeless. The after shock is still plainly to be seen nowadays. The center of the town had become ghetto.
Juan said this is the house (white to the left) he grew up, now a hotel. The neighborhood has deteriorated over the years.
The Footprint museum, Ancient footprints of Acahualinca
The footprints were discovered accidentally by construction workers in 1874. The American medical doctor and archaeological collector, Earl Flint, brought the footprints to the attention of the international science community and media in 1884.
There’s high metal fence and the tiny museum charges a nominal fee for taking pictures and videos.
This is pretty odd …
Juan gave a very good presentation. I enjoyed it.
We paid C$40 (US$2) for taking pictures and videos and C$480 (US$24) for admission of 6.
The city center. The national museum, the old church and the old presidential palace that’s built or donated by Taiwan government but now no longer in service. The president moved to another house.
Hey, here is an idea: Mr. Chen Shui-bian 阿扁仔 could come and live here with his truck load of dirty money? It’ll last him few more life times ..
No good? Then let me think something else …
Meanwhile, let’s head to lunch first.
The water seller and the little kid who follows us, gently but determinedly putting his little creation into our arms ..
I asked for a local fare. Juan said he’d take us to a local restaurant that’s frequent by lawyers and bankers. Ok ..
While the staff was harvesting the food, Larry decided to take on the crocodile. Round One of The Old Man and the Sea … 精神可嘉可奖 … Go Larry Go …
I was a chicken, didn’t do this … wasn’t dressed for it … Juan said they could fix that …
When it first opened, there was only one cable. For the safety, they added the second cable.
No do. Can not lah 🙂
To walk off the meal, we went to People’s Market. I bought a Crocodile handbag. Why did I buy it? Because I like handbag, and I have space in the suitcase … when I consider to buy a second, Lou walked by and he turned his head away so fast that I worried he might snap his own head. It was that bad taste. So I only waste $$ on one ugly handbag. I was thinking of buying more wooden stuff, but the gangs were filing out.
Juan showed me his favored type of girls: Asian eyes, dark skinned, short and robust, bit on the chubby side, with smallish boobs.
Ok .. girls ..
The Hilton Princess in Managua is where the action is in the night. Four of us asked Juan take us to the stripe club. The other two volunteered to stay home manning the fort.
On the way to the city center, we started seeing the window washers. There were mostly young kids, girls and boys. One of them had to step on the rim to reach. These hardened kids, everywhere in the third world, are the mostly difficulty to deal with. They are precocity, crafty, some are even sarcastic while trapped in a kid’s body. Not sure to kick their parents or blame the country .. ..
We ended up at Obsesion, a trendy stripe club with huge billboard. It was empty. The club itself was nothing to write home about. A bar at one corner by the door, a low stage in the center with a pole. Seats/sofas with coffee tables scattered around the stage and lined the walls. As soon as we entered, there was a lady dancing with the pole completely naked – the routine for every dancer was the same: come out with little cloth then striped down to nothing for the last few seconds. One of our comrades who acted like a kid who loved candy was letting out into a candy store. He sat down on the table as if was ready to dive onto the stage. The girl came down and gave him a huge.
The next girl was very easy on the eye: pretty face with a slender young body. She’s the best looking one that night.
The Kid decided to have a Close Encounters of the Third Kind. A girl dressed in school girl’s outfit came out. The Kid and she promptly left us.
DQ later asked what had happened.
The Kid: well, we went to the back.
DQ: then what?
The Kid: she took off her bra ..
DQ: and ..?
The Kid: she took off her panty .. and my hands start to move freely.
The Kid: do you need me to describe more?
The Kid: “She told me the room cost US$70 .. so we stayed in the back only.
The kid said he wasn’t sure if it included the happen ending. After a little make out in the back, then came back joined us again, but sat on another sofa.
The drinks in the club weren’t astronomical: US$10 for five of us, I think 3 were no alcoholic.
We then drove to a gay bar but didn’t stay. There were few gays and a couple of lesbians who were deep into their kissing.
Juan said when he first started 6 years ago as a tour guide, when the tourists asked to meet girls, he claimed he didn’t know what did they mean. So he took him to regular bars. Five nights in a row.
When the hunting yielded no result, the tourist got mad.
I found that was bit obscured. For Juan is 34 years old and pretty worldly, he spent lengthy time in Florida when his father, a medical doctor was doing his AID research in the USA.
Juan is a knowledgeable chatty guide. It’s a joy to have few conversations between none stop BSes.
Nicaragua is the largest country among 7 Central America nations. The Panama Canal was to be built in Nica after the failed attempt by the French.
According to Stephen Kinzer’s 2006 book Overthrow, in 1898 the chief of the French Canal Syndicate (a group that owned large swathes of land across Panama), Philippe Bunau-Varilla, hired William Nelson Cromwell (of the US law firm Sullivan & Cromwell) to lobby the US Congress to build a canal across Panama, and not across Nicaragua.
In 1902, Cromwell noticed a 10-cent Nicaraguan postal stamp, produced by the United States’ American Bank Note Company, which erroneously depicted a fuming Momotombo volcano. Momotombo was nearly dormant and stands more than 160 km (100 miles) from the proposed Nicaraguan canal path; yet the stamp had taken advantage of a particularly volcanic year in the Caribbean. Cromwell planted a story in the New York Sun reporting that the Momotombo volcano had erupted and caused a series of seismic shocks. Thereafter he sent leaflets with the above stamps pasted on them to all U.S. Senators as witness to the volcanic activity in Nicaragua. On June 19, 1902, three days after senators received the stamps, they voted for the Panama route for the canal. For his lobbying efforts, Cromwell received the sum of $800,000.
I asked if the Nicaraguans are regretful [of the canal not being built in Nica]. Juan replied, no.
“The government is very corrupted. The profits would have been lined the politicians’ pockets anyway. The Nicaraguan men love to drink, gamble, and watch cockfight.”
On Paraguay president, Fernando Lugo the former priest turned president, his secrete kids came out in doves.
Well, it wasn’t a shock at all. An open secrete.
Only the puritanical Americans made it big deal, headliner, front page.
Ha ha ha, very funny.
We talked about Alberto Cutie, the popular Miami priest who eventually opted for his girl friend over the god whom he suppose to devote his entire life to. Nica is predominantly catholic. But Juan said they’re losing business to other fancier religions.
On the way back from San Juan del Sur, we passed by a rather serene area which locals called Baby Factory. The hourly hotels or love hotels lined the road.
Making change to adapt, to keep up with the demand.
Juan was baptized at very young age.
And having a free election does not mean democracy.