Nicaragua day 1: Saturday, May 16 2009

Day One – May 16, 2009 Saturday
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I didn’t have much sleep that night – given the fact that I rarely missed a night of sleep in my life – because DQ requested us to report for duty at 4:05 for the 6am flight. Simon and I picked Lou up then met her at her house in Flushing. Parked at her house and headed to LGA. Our flight (which was packed) from La Guardia airport in New York left prompto and dropped us off at Miami 20 minutes earlier than the scheduled arrival.
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We rushed out of the gate and got into a cab, telling the driver head over to Tropical Parks Tennis Courts.
The nice driver with heavy Hispanic accent looked lost.
“It’s not safe .. lots of blacks.. ”
After learning that we were bunch of tennis nuts trying to get a game during a layover, he suggested Flamingo Park instead.
So there we went.
A swimming pool that was free to the locals but $6 for us on one side, with a 25 yard lap area and $8 per person on the Har-Tru, “North-American” clay court on the other side. It hosts (or hosted? The last year on the wall was 1996) Orange Bowl International.Ocean Six's first group photo
20 minutes into our play, the rain drops began to pound the little earth beneath us. The sky elsewhere looked pretty clear and bluey. The pro at the shop was nice enough to refund us half of the fees we paid. After shower, the sun came out blasting.
La la la la la ..
Waiting at the curb side for our cab, we began to take pictures.
Seven cameras in total.
Birds on the tree. Shoot.
Trees on the ground. Shoot.
People walking. Shoot.
Group pic .. shooooot. wait .. we need a photographer.
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An elder man with a tennis bag was walking by.
“Excuse me .. would you mind taking pic for us?” Louis asked him.
The gentle turned around, reached into his pocket, and pulled out wade of cash. Took one dollar bill and handed to Lou .. while kept a poker face.
Was pretty funny. After few pics, the gentle went one step further, telling us how should we post for him .. .. 05-16-4
That’s the last hearty laugh I had of the day.

The cab arrived, with a younger driver. As we were about to speed off, the older gentle knocked on the window. .. Lou left his precious bag behind that contained fancy camera (Irene knows her math, Lou brought two) that could capture the pores on my face and movement on the moon, and his two laptops.

the past champs cimg4162
cimg4145 the pool ..

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It’s bit early for the airport so we asked the bubbly driver take us to the South Beach’s Ocean Drive. The Pow Wow travel show was going on. Too bad it’s way too early for the topless crowds – still sleeping from the night before. Ocean Drive is very much alive at night. a hostess’ longing for customers
Not sure the cab driver makes better living or he has other business (the way he talks makes one think that he has other income ..) as we were driving on Washington Avenue, China Grill’s tower came into view. He mentioned that he ate there couple of times. Ok, it’s no Masa or Le Bernardin that you have to break your piggy bank to dine there, but it isn’t cheap. What’s interesting is the New York (on 53rd Street) one is obscure while the one in Miami Beach is in your face. the cute little red riding hood
Aleksandr Ishchenko the driver came to US at age of 15 from Ukraine. He’s worldly 世界仔 in Hong Kong lingo, or simply articulate. He was ready to provide the purchasing/selling prices of Gianni Versace’s mansion (at a profit) where he was gunned down execution-style, and many other condos and hotels. Overall, he was a great guide.
Back to the airport, we were ready to fly. Only to be told that the flight was delayed.
Delayed.
Delayed again.
There used to be a direct flight between New York and Managua because Astoria (New York) houses the third largest Nicaraguans after its country and Miami. The connecting flight killed all the fun. This goes with any no none-stop fly.
The reason for the delay was maintenance. That, really, shut us, up [from asking].

The flight between Miami and Managua is only a little over 2 hours. Both ways to and from Managua were delayed and were about 70% full.
The small bottle of wine would have cost US$6 but they provided for free due to the delay. Oddly, one of the flight attendants looked me in the eye, demanding $6.
What an airhead.
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The capital airport has a staple of rental car companies.

The one DQ selected (I suspected others too) is one man operation: he fronts the desk and then goes to retrieve the van for us. It took forever.cimg4241
The first word I learned is .. mañana.
Tomorrow.
..
Well, others might say that we’re losing the fun of
.. slow dance ..
.. slow meal ..
and
… slow seduction … 🙂

Simon was designated driver but Lou insisted on being behind the wheels, and he did most of it. Thanks a lot! .. with five of us, at one time, he had to remind us graciously ..
“Stop being backseat driver .. ” 🙂 Sorry Lou. Can’t take New York out of New Yorker.
As soon as we got on the road, there was an accident. So we had to turn around ..

First few glimpses of the capital. DQ warned me that it’s like China 30 years ago. Hmmmmm .. she’s right mostly .. but Beijing was far more grandeur – you can’t take Beijing out of me either.
Let’s the fun begin.
What’s the heck.
Just experience it, live it, enjoy it.
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Nica gets dark by 6pm. So there wasn’t any touring. Beside we were all very worn out after a long day. We just hit the supermarket Pali first before going up the mountain.

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We bought a lots of papaya, a chunk of Filet mignon .. the local business accepts US$ without hesitation. The winding road leading up to her house was narrow but nicely paved with hexagonal Presidential bricks: after the earthquake of 1972, Somoza ordered all the roads to be rebuilt, using only Presidential bricks, the Somoza bricks. wood, mahogany wood is everywhereMany shacks were dim or even dark, not that they don’t have electricity but to conserve it. Wrestling with a sticker shift, Lou got us there safe and sound, and in time for a delicious curry chicken dinner, cooked by DQ’s housekeeper Kamijo’s wife. The rice was really delicious. You can’t take Chinese out of Irene. Alright, it gets corny. I will stop here.

It’s late and dark and I’m tired. Lets get to her house tomorrow, mañana .. remember what I learnt?
Good night and sleep tight 🙂

Day 2


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