Summer in Redondo Beach is depressing. Crowds swarm the beaches, not that it matters since there is rarely any surf. I hunkered down, using an occasional desperate drive to Huntington Beach to keep the muscles limber and the mind as sane as possible, but it wasn’t easy. The only thing that got me through the August anxiety and surf-less September stress was the knowledge that at the end of October we would be returning to Nicaragua.
I actually started packing a month before the trip. I made huge piles of clothes, dishes, silverware, tools, and surf accessories that we would cram into four massive bags and carefully weigh to make sure they were just under the 50lb maximum.
By the time we hit the dirt road after months of waiting, a night of flying, and a morning of driving, the smell of a herd of cattle slowing the car to a stop was thrilling and relaxing all at once. Almost there…
Pulling up to our lot finally, I was giddy and a little nervous. We had seen photos of our house, but we were finally seeing it in person. Our caretakers were there. The lady that watches our caretaker’s kids while they work at the hotel nearby was making fresh tortillas on a wood stove they had built in a shady spot along the fence. Their laundry was hung out to dry on the barbed wire, and two pre-teenaged girls struggled to sit on one plastic chair, while the five year old named Panchito shyly looked up at us from his seat in the dirt. It felt like we were invading their space, their home. We were so shy we did a lap around the house, peering inside through the window, until we finally realized that it was our house afterall and opened the door to check out the inside.
Since there was no furniture yet in the house (our caretakers had been sleeping on the tile floor with only a blanket as padding) we checked into the hotel for a couple of nights.
Ryan was really stoked on day one of three weeks away from his air conditioned office!
We brought a couple friends from home to check out the place we have been raving about, “Butch” on the left and “Doooglas” on the right.
Butch quickly made himself at home by first making friends with the locals.
Butch in front of local style house.
Since Dooglas only had a week in Nicaragua, we made sure to show him a few sights. We went up to a friend’s house in the hills for appetizers.
We were served a delicious juice made from a fruit called grenadilla. The taste and texture reminded us of pear juice, but it comes from a giant, watermelon-looking fruit that grows on a vine that will climb a trellis. We were very impressed and decided we needed to plant some on our lot.
Our friend also had a litter of 3 week old puppies to play with.
I instantly fell in love with this little black one. “Please can we take him back and love him? He will make a good guard dog!” Ryan said, “no!”
Our friend took us on a boat ride the following afternoon and we pulled out the fishing poles.
Even with the “Butt Juice” we didn’t get any fish.
The view of the casita from the hotel.
A parade showing support for Daniel Ortega’s party.
It was the day before the US presidential elections and a few days before the Nicaraguan Mayor elections so political discussions were everwhere, even on the street corner where we bought a bed and mattress for the casita for less than $100 US.
With a soft place to sleep, we could finally move in!
The view from the front door.
This is the view looking out the front door, but it also happens to be the view from the toilet.
Looking out from the kitchen sink.
As you can see the sink is in place, but since we don’t have electricity or the water hooked up, we used buckets to bring water into the casita.
After surfing, porch chilling.
Butch points to the head-high Malinche tree that was only 6″ high 4 months ago.
The Almendra grew more than four feet in four months.
The Butchman, testing the well water.
The well actually became a gathering place.
This is what cross-training looks like.
Every morning we made coffee over the fire.
Sadly, at the end of the first week we had to say goodbye to Dooglas, but our lot improvements were just beginning. Check back soon for more updates!