May 26 2009

Nicaragua day 2: Sunday, May 17 2009

cimg4287Very good morning to you all..
Few rosters woke me up early in the morning, it was only 5am for Pete’s sake. Did Zhou Bapi 周扒皮 live in Nica too 🙂
*in PJ*
Wow .. the view from the bedroom is spectacular.
I rubbed my eyes ..
rolled out of the bed
went downstairs
I wasn’t the first one who got up ..
unwashed face
unbrushed tooth
unkempt hair
Who cared?
We were all basking in the soft morning glow ..
the golden hue ..
the dews ..
the mango ..
the coconuts ..
p1030433 p1030432 p1030438

Couple of Ocean Sixers went to hunting .. .. and soon returned triumphantly, fully loaded with mango and coconuts ..

Coldwell Banker Real Estate as well as Century 21 have presence there..

Lou's busy at work cimg4298 cimg4324 05-17-mor-13

Her house is lovely, woody, Mahogany is everywhere.

My little dingy Casio camera wasn’t good enough, so Lou let me use his spare one. The pictures taken from now on are from his Panasonic Lumix with Leica lens.

The entrance to DQ

May 26 2009

Nicaragua day 1: Saturday, May 16 2009

Day One – May 16, 2009 Saturday
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.
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.

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

May 11 2009


Please double check all important data before your trip. The info here are reminders for myself, might be old and out of date ..

– Check your US bills to make sure that each is not worn out and have no marks on the bill. Otherwise we may not able to use them.

– Call your credit card company to find out which card does not charge a foreign exchange FX fee. After you have decided which card to bring over, you should call that credit card company to make a record that you are going on a vacation to somewhere from sometime. Alert them that you may make purchases in somewhere. This is to ensure that you can use that credit card when you need to. Credit card FX fee schedule:

Chase 3%
Citibank 3%
American Express 3%
HSBC no FX fee
Capital One no FX fee

May 11 2009

The budget

Rough estimate for each of us to Nica:

Van (rent for a 15-seater plus gasoline) $110
Food $200
San Juan del Sur Boat ride $50
Montelimar admission $45
Tourist Guide $16
Attraction Admission $29

Total $450, excl airfare

~ . ~ . ~ . ~

Actual expenses per person (total), in USD:
$0 – Visa
$18 – Taxi to airport: (La Guardia/JFK $27, shared by 3 travelers)
$406 – Round trip air on AA – NY (LGA) to Miami to Managua, back to JFK
$15 – Cab rides during the layover in Miami ($36 + $50)
$100 – Van & gas
$98 – Food/meals
$45 – Montelimar admission
$12 – Attraction Admission
$3 – Lake Nicaragua Boat Ride ($20)
$14 – San Juan del Sur boat ride ($86)
$20 – Tips for the professor
$20 – Guide for two days ($120)

Total: US$751 ($406 + $345)

May 7 2009

Beijing’s Moscow Restaurant 老莫, now and then

The Moscow Restaurant, we Beijingers dab it as Lao Mo 老莫, opened its door in 1954 in celebration of 5th anniversary of young China.

LaoMo in 2003..



Lao Mo in 1979

and Lao Mo in 1966

May 7 2009

Check list

Ticket – very funny
Map, tour book
Books to read
Shampoo, conditioner, lotion
Nail clipper
Toothbrush/paste, dental floss, Listerine
Summer clothes, water proof windbreaker. A foldable umbrella is useful.
A visor, a hat, sun block oil if you do not like to get a tan.
Old sneakers: some places are muddy and sandy.
Tennis racket, swimming gears.
Your favorite shampoo, soap.
Medicine. There are many pharmacies but .. ..
Mosquito repellent like

May 7 2009

Vancouver 2008

We took Cathay Pacific leaving JFK at 11pm. The upside it’s an Asia airline with better food/service but the down side is getting to Vancouver at 2am. No traffic 🙂






May 7 2009

Purple Bamboo Garden 紫竹园公园

Zizhuyuan Gongyuan 紫竹园公园 in Haidian, is next to the Beijing library or the National Library of China. In 2018.

May 7 2009

Maps of Nicaragua

3 maps


map of nica