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Day 3 – Leon, Nicaragua

Today woke up at about 8:30 a.m. and went to breakfast with my Assistant Marginne. By the way I make videos of almost everywhere we go. Check out http://www.youtube.com/nicaeco to see vidoes.

We covered the upcoming schedule which includes visits for contracts, pictures & videos at a couple of language schools to study spanish abroad at that http://www.NicaEco.com got approved for college credit in the US.

Julie & I will be visiting La Isla and Juntos Contigo foundations as if you do our spanish immersion you can volunteer as part of the program for 3 days a week / 3 hours each time.

We will be seeing Ometepe, Cerro Negro, Cerro Madera, Lake Nicaragua, Granada, San Juan del Sur, Big & Little Corn Islands, Managua, Chinandega, Miraflor & more over this next month.

We are very settled in at Casa Leones and feel that this will be our college spring break headquaters in terms of a hotel property for http://www.inertiatours.com for our college spring break party trips

By the way if you want to do an alternative spring break trip to Nicaragua, or spring break in central america – skip Costa Rica & come here. I have a trip here for $1099 per person with airfare, transfer, 3 nights hotel in Leon, 2 nights at Penitas Beach, 2 meals a day, an onsite party itinerary, Volcano Boarding, and surfing lessons all wrapped into one including our great onsite english speaking staff.

We had dinner tonight at CocinaArte. Julie’s Pesto pasta was superb, my fried chicken sucked. Our baby Miller ate & ate. He’s already in bed. We have a sitter for tonight & are going out with Phillip from Bigfoot Hostel and the owner of GreenPathways tours. He’s a sick surfer and a great guy. We are going to go “clubbing” and see the nightlife. I’ll do videos & post up to my youtube as well.

Tomorrow we are going to Penitas Beach & Poneloya beaches to surf, tan, swim, and ride horseback. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Chad…OUT!

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Day 1 and 2 in Leon, Nicaragua

We had ALOT of major problems with Continental Airlines yesterday. It made me very sad that their service levels were that subpar.

In Austin, we had a counter agent named Tara. She was agitated like customers usually are – I was not. We had a 730 am flight but got there 2 hours in advance. Good thing.

To start, they had no skycabs to help with our luggage. We had 4 bags to check, two “exempt items” (ie baby stroller and play pen thingy) and 2 carry on’s. I had to do this all alone with my wife with our baby.

I paid for all upgrades (not first class we aren’t rich) like “more legroom” seats etc. I am also a Presidential Club member. The problem came with our luggage. I had one piece at 34 lbs. 1 right at 50. 2 at about 55. This rude agent literally barked at me “REPACK YOUR BAGS OR PAY” I said ma’am, what’s the fee? our bags are full, I have a crying baby, an agitated wife, we are very tired. She said “$200.00” That’s 200 for 10 lbs over weight.

Hold on. It wasn’t $200. It was $200 per bag. Yeah, 1 one way. This fraud. $400 when (actually) I was (net) 5 lbs underlimit as one bag was only 34 lbs filled with baby stuff).

I wouldn’t fly Continental if you have a family. They don’t care. Who has that kind of money. This lady was rude to me to the point of almost bringing tears to my eyes as I was so tired. Manny the “Manager” was like “there’s nothing I can do, sorry.”

The fact is many people consider airlines commodity purchases. I do not. I like continental (1) and southwest (2). Now, I would switch these two. These guys owe me $400. Will I chargeback my credit card? Nope. I am going to sue them in Travis County when I return in small claims court. I bet I get my money back. I did not, do I agree with this fee.

The flight then was 2 hours late with no AC on board and they kept us on the plane an hour before telling us why. Just rude service all the way around.

Enough whining about continental – but if you have “over bag weight” get ready to pay. I mean…who keeps a scale in their home ? That’s where the scam comes into play. They know this.

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When we arrived in Managua – we were greeted by http://www.Greenpathways.com staff – NicaEco’s grou handler. It was awesome – Marginne was there the new Nica Eco full time employee and Erlon, our driver for the month.

We stopped & got 3 frozen coffees, a gatorade and a bottle of water for $10. Nica is really inexpensive – but I have noticed since 2006 my first time here it is going up to be just about 25% lower than the US. Used to be about 50%.

We met up with Aurora Real Estate’s agent (Jordan Clark) an American Ex-Pat that lined up the house Casa Leones (an old hotel we rented the entire place out for the month with a private pool about 4 blocks to the Center Sqare (plaza) in town.

They have two helpful staff for us. Karen (our nanny here) is $5 usd per day.

On the first day we didn’t do much. We went to eat at Jack’s, this cool upstairs bar across from the plaza and the autonomo university. It is owned by a Canadien Ex-Pat that got out of Canada after 9/11 – feeling it was too friendly with the US. Julie had pasta – something with basil he made fresh and it was delicious. The chicken cesar salad I had was just alright. I had a Tona Beer ( big one like 4 eight ounce glasses worth) and she had a rum and coke and a water for $12 USD.

Then, we walked back to the hotel and Julie went for a swim and surfed the web letting our families know we are safe in nicaragua. I passed out I was exhausted! I’m an old man compared to my wife, she’s 11 years my junior. Miller our son is of course acclimated already loving life. He’s just SO ACTIVE right now my julie needs a break sometimes. A 14 month year old is a handful!

Today we woke up to be greeted by the owner of Green Pathways Tours and he also owns Big Foot Hostel. His name is Phillip Southan, and I met him in 2006 here on my first visit I think. He’s from Barbados originally and just a cool surfer dude but very hard working. His firm is our onsite tour company for all of our side trip activities you will take when you arrive to study abroad in Nicaragua with us.

I ONLY USE HIM as a.) he’s cool b.) he CARES about quality and service like I do c.) he knows I am a tree hugger and he must conserve and be eco friendly with his tours (we use only diesel vehicles – FULL hybrids I will import to Nica in 2012 so we are fully greened out and last he speaks fluent english and his staff must too.

We woke up and went to breakfast at Mediterrano. Mine (eggs sunny side up with bacon) was almost inedible. My wife had Pinto Gallo which is beans and rice a Nica staple food, and some sort of odd chicken wrap that was really good. The thing is – Leon has EXCELLENT food so I don’t know what their problem was (LOL!!)

Today we went to the plaza and had lunch at this Chinese place. We shared a gigantic chicken fried rice, fried wontons, and a chicken and corn soup. All was awesome and $12 with waters included. Then my wife did some shopping. She got two cool tops for $12 for the 2, and wanted a cheap wedding band to not wear hers. She bought a $2 silver ring 🙂 that says “love on it” ahhhh! 🙂

Then we came back and I went to sleep. I was so tired! It’s only about 90 degrees but it rains at night so during the sunny day it’s super duper humid with very little wind. The big “hills” and volcanoes around Leon prevent the pacific ocean trade winds (Penitas Beach is just 10 miles away) from reaching Leon which is a shame.

I woke up and relieved the nanny and am writing this post. Tonight we are going to El Jardin this outdoor italian place with a wood pizza oven I guess on Calle Real by some school over there. I’;m starving! We are waiting on our nanny that is going to take over for an hour but Miller is already going to sleep. The new environment has him overwhelmed and tired.

Well, I’ll keep posting daily. Next up tomorrow we are going to go see Viejo Leon (old Leon) and her ruins . Tomorrow night out with drinks with Phillip and his gang and on Saturday we are off to beaches of Las Penitas for some fun in the sun!

Inertia Chadillac…OUT!