Two Missed Days – July 12 & 13th combined in Leon, Chicigalpa, & Guyana Nicaragua
Well yesterday we had a very slow day yesterday. My son Miller got a bit of a small stomach bug so we had the pediatrician stop by to check on him. Due to this, it prevented us from climbing Cerro Negro & swimming in the Laguna Asososca which means the lagoon asososca which is a freshwater lake located in the center of the crater of this volcano about an hour from Leon.
The pediatrician was recommended from Eron our driver & he is also a Medical Instructor at one of the Universities here. A house call is $25 USD. He prescribed some Zinc, some paste for his butt that was sore (LOL J ) and some anti-gas stuff which my wife said no to giving him as we are trying to keep him on a med-free life. Anyway the meds were all only $20 buck anyway. This shows you how ridiculous the health industry is in the US, right?
So yesterday I worked on my youtube video logs at www.youtube.com/nicaeco as well as some business for my towing company www.paradisetowingcompany.com. Miller of course really wasn’t sick and we could have went but ce la vie we had to find out.
I was able to meet again with the director of the Dariana Spanish school to get pricing worked out for our students. Can you believe we will only be charging students $15 USD per day for housing with a private bedroom at a local Leon family’s home with 3 meals a day? Anyone can see this is going to be a GREAT seller for US students wanting to study Spanish abroad and earn college credits.
A comment I keep hearing around Leon is “how did you get your program accredited so that your students get college credit?” Well, that’s just one of the competitive advantages we have, and why students should only use NicaEco for organizing their Spanish immersion to Nicaragua.
1.) We are a US – American based subsidiary of the multi-million dollar Inertia Tours Inc. That gives you piece of mind that we are accountable for your safety AND your experience
2.) We are also a Nicaraguan based public corporation Nica Eco Inertia Tours S.A. that is legal to do business in Nicaragua, and within 30 days we will be INTUR certified. We will be the ONLY INTUR certified study abroad company operating in Central America, which is a laundry list of criteria the government here requires for you to legally operate as a travel company
3.) Our ground handler Green Pathways is a certified member of the Rainforest Alliance, making our Spanish immersion program the only one in central America that is at arms-length a member. Soon, Green Pathways will also be using for all of its side trips and airport transfers for NicaEco students hybrid vehicles NicaEco is importing here to Leon via Bluefields to Managua to Leon from Houston, Texas.
4.) We are the only Eco-study abroad company in existence. We are members of the Sustainable Travel Association
5.) We are the ONLY travel option into Nicaragua with US American staff onsite
For dinner we went to the Manhattan which is this Sushi place across the street from the La Perla hotel & casino. A California roll was $2.50 USD and a spicy tuna roll was $4.00 USD. Ultra cheap & super fresh!
We woke up this morning at 8 a.m. to go to a couple of the foundations that are coordinating with NicaEco for volunteer opportunities we can “roll into” our Spanish immersion programs here in Nicaragua.
The first foundation was http://www.laislafoundation.org/La_Isla/Home.html or the Isla Foundation which focuses on fighting an epidemic of kidney disease in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua which is believed to be caused by the pesticides used on the sugar cane fields which is the staple job here in Nicaragua. The HUGE rum maker is Flor de Cana here.
If you come with NicaEco to study abroad here, you can volunteer with La Isla in a number of ways (very, very varied!) from going out into the community of La Isla / Chichigalpa and teaching English & computer skills to the local kids, to helping in their Leon office on a number of things from fundraising, office administration, to computer networking they need it all.
You would volunteer 3 to 4 hours per day for 2 or 3 days a week. Talk about a resume builder that makes you a 100% better person!!!
My wife outside the foundation isla offices:
I felt from our first meeting that the La Isla Foundation strengths are:
- VERY organized here in Leon
- Nice website with strong push for donors (a good thing)
- Good opportunities for individuals coming to Leon
- Office setting & staff very professional
I think their cause is a worthy one as about 80% of the men in Chicigalpa have died from chronic kidney failure.
The second foundation was called Viviendas Leon their website: http://www.viviendasleon.org/
This foundation really centers around not just providing aid, but providing sustenance in the communities they work with about 45 minutes outside of Leon in a small puebla called Guyana.
We toured a community center they were building there and sure enough – they require the locals to help & take ownership or they will not provide aid. One of their goals is to provide different types of cooperative ideas such as sewing & artesian goods this indigenous people can make a living off of besides just working in the cane fields.
They also get the locals to do vegetable gardens to not just help feed their families, but also to sell at market in Leon, as well as HUGE reforestation projects (in May of 2011 they replanted 500+ trees!).
The strengths of Viviendas Leon are:
- Their Director Indiana lived in Texas – easy fluency in English
- Their programs center around large university groups that they can input individuals or small 2’s & 4’s of students into existing projects
- Their current volunteers were very hard working & dedicated. We met the old mayor of Leon out working on the community center in Guyana as a matter of fact.
If you have NicaEco set up your Spanish study abroad program, we will integrate a volunteer opportunity with Viviendas Leon for you with a coordinator to make the work seemless and easy with no stress for you.
Volunteering with either of these organizations in my mind even a couple of hours a week seems like not just an incredible resume builder, it seems to me like a possible life-changing experience. Talk about making you feel thankful for what we have in the USA that we take so granted. Wow.
When we got back, we lounged around as it was raining and hung out with Miller. We also got Lasagna & a burger & fries at this little place called Pizza Roma which is one of the best restaurants in Leon, having been in business almost 30 years. The two items were $11 USD. Restaurant prices here have came up some since 2006 my first time here. I would now say restaurants are about 25 to 45% cheaper than the United States.
Tomorrow, we get up at 6:30 a.m. to go see Cerro Negro and the Asososca Lagoon to go swimming in the mouth or crater of a volcano. I learned this week that it is believed that 90% of the population here in Nicaragua is within eye line of a volcano there are so many in this country.
Inertia Chad…(nica eco chad…) OUT!!!
Ok so last night we went out with Phillip Southan, the Owner of BigFoot Hostel & Green Pathways Tours. We went to Manhattan, a Sushi bar/early night drink spot across from the Hotel La Perla. Then, we went to another bar and they had loud, live music – what was funny is there had to be 200 people there, and at midnight they kicked everyone out & closed. So goes it in Nicaragua. I was exhausted so we came home and slept. We had a sitter for Miller our Son.
Today I got up at about 7:30 and put Miller in his “backpack” which is this apparatus that he rides in with an aluminum frame when we go hiking. We went to this little cafe and I had the “Americano” breakfast which was two fried eggs, potatoes, and bacon with coffee for $2 USD. The place is like 2 blocks off the central plaza/square in Leon.
When done, I came back to Julie downing a cup of ramen. I then met with Marginne my employee down here for http://www.nicaeco.com and went over our month long schedule. We book the Plaza Colon in Granada for two nights, the Casa Iquana on Little Corn Island in the Caribbean for when Julie’s mom Linda gets into town (2 beachfront “cabinas” I LOVE this eco-hotel) and also Pelican Eyes a private 2 bedroom home with a pool in San Juan Del Sur…I’m getting VERY excited for our trips!
Monday I meet with our first language school here in Leon to get all the pictures, photos, and videos of not just the school, but the teachers, classrooms, and a host family as we do home stays for our spanish study abroad program here in Leon.
Tuesday we meet with La Isla Foundation to set up some volunteer opportunities for our students while here doing a semester abroad.
TODAY….we went to Las Penitas Beach and the neighboring Poneloya beach area. Poneloya is a tad NORTH of Penitas (penitas & poneloya are more or less seperated by a huge rock outcropping that you can’t walk down the beach around)
The thing about both beaches is they are a bit eerie in that most of these homes are remnants of the old ruling class families and hierarchy Nicaragua had – more or less the Dictator Samosa gave his croonies some prime beachfront property in the 1960’s-1970’s (1979 was the revolution) as this beach is the CLOSEST to Managua, about 1.5 hours away only. They built about 100 homes between these two beaches all beachfront. Then the Sandinistas came to power, threw them all out as they were communists and you couldn’t own such a thing. So of course, about 50% I’d say are in too bad of disrepair to ever be used again.
As Nica’s economy is booming with tourism, some of these places are now converted into hostels and even hotels. The most “American style” hotel is the Suyapa…which our parent company http://www.InertiaTours.com uses for 2 nights on the alternative eco-spring break trip offered. It has air conditioned rooms, a gift shop, pool, and beachfront bar & restaurant on a spectacular beach setting.
What’s odd is, even though Samosa and his family were total assholes, you can’t help but a get a bit sentimental wondering what these beaches were like in their “heyday” in the middle 70’s – I envision a lively beach environment. The good news is…this place is coming back. Not big time, but coming. There are TRUE DEALS here…a beachfront home you COULD renovate goes for about $125,000 USD…that’s BEACHFRONT…not sorta beachfront on the Pacific ocean…now that’s a bargain! You have to start a public Nica corporation in order to buy land in Nicaragua if you are not a resident.
One cool thing about Inertia/Nicaeco is that we ARE a publicly held company here in Nicaragua. Nica Eco Inertia Tours S.A. means we do business correctly with the government.
Anyway, we had a great beach lunch at Suyapa for about $10 you get grilled fish, rice, veggies and some potatoes. Too much to eat. There are not really annoying beach vendors. There were two kids selling some sea shell necklaces they made and they chatted us up from outside the split rail wood fence of the restaurant. They made my wife Julie a palm leaf grasshopper and this little toy. I gave them a 10 Cord tip ($.50 cents) but they reluctantly took it. We then rented horses to ride for 30 minutes for $5 USD each. Mine REALLY wanted to gallop & run.
If you want to book a week long spring break trip to Nicaragua Inertia Tours is the place to do it. For $1099 per person, we get you a 6 day trip, with 3 nights in Leon at Las Balcones Hotel, 2 nights at Suyapa beach at Penitas; 2 meals per person per day, a suggested night time party schedule, you go volcano boarding, and you get a surfing lesson. INSANE deal and it’s in the high 80’s here in March/April.
It was nice to see some gringos there lying out – mostly college aged girls. I see way more college aged girls here than guys which is hilarious…The guys must still be all pussies thinking there is a revolution still or guerillas out shooting at you – cuz’ the girls sure don’t seem to give a shit. Phillip picked up a Dutch girl with my wife & I but I wouldn’t call it a pick up, she plopped down at the restaurant with us like she owned the place.
When done our driver Eron brought us back to Leon. We then went swimming in our pool with our son, and I snuck out and got 2 pizzas (like 10 inch onces) at Pizza Roma just down the street. The 2 pizzas and a diet coke were 167 cord or about 8 bucks. They do charge you $.50 cents USD for each carryout box there LOL 🙂
Then we watched some TV – julie is lovin’ the pictures we took over 150 today alone, I shot about 20 videos (check out my youtube at http://www.youtube.com/nicaeco for all the videos) and I promise I’ll post more here. Our wifi is fast but not that fast!
Tomorrow we are going to church at the old Cathedral built in 1740 at 10:30 and then Julie wants to do some shopping. I hired Eron’s sister to cook us breakfast every morning for $10/day she does lunch too so we can eat here at our house poolside with Miller. I’ll get some pics up of the food tomorrow.
Until then have a Happy Saturday!
When I walked into the formal study at our home here in Leon