S: Nicaragua & Costa Rica 2009
1: Nicaragua, December 15-19, 2009 In December, Brian and I had the chance to visit the Nehemiah Center in Managua, Nicaragua for 4 days. Brian spent his week helping Dave Stienstra with the server at the center, and I was shown around by Alicia Hamming so that I could learn more about the Dordt S.P.I.N. program.
2: (Top & Bottom Left, Centre) Alicia's favourite restaurant in Managua - we ate outside with a view of the (inactive) volcano. What a first day of "vacation"! (Right) View from Alicia's house on our first night in town. Managua is noisy, 24 hours a day! | (Above) Brian chills at the end of a very hot (mid-30's) day.
3: A highlight of the trip for Brian was riding one of Dave's motorcycles every day.
4: A Trip to Esteli On our last day in Nicaragua, Dave and Alicia took us to Esteli to visit a cigar factory. It was about a 2.5 hour drive through the mountainous counrtryside, and then it took us a half an hour to find the place when we got to Esteli. In Nicaragua, there are no street names, so directions are given out by landmarks. In some cases, landmarks that haven't existed for several years.
6: Nicaraguan Wildlife (living in captivity)
7: Costa Rica, December 19, 2009 - January 3, 2010 On December 19th, Brian and I took a very long bus ride from Managua, Nicaragua, to Liberia, Costa Rica. This is the view from the back porch at our villa - Brian and I had it to ourselves until Mark and Amanda van Oord joined us on December 24th.
8: Our Place | Located on the Papagayo Golf Course, our villa felt like a model home. Our bathroom there was bigger than our bedroom at home! Every night, we opened the curtains in our bedroom and every morning, we woke up with the sun. There is nothing quite like lounging by the pool in the quiet early morning watching the sun rise over the valley.
9: A view to the back yard from our bedroom in the early morning. | Our back yard even had a shower! | The landscaping in the back boasted of several beautiful Hibiscus flowers. | Another view of the yard from our bedroom.
10: Playa del Coco
11: Playa Tamarindo
12: Playa Panama | Brian discovered a mangrove at Playa Panama. We also came across many crabs - regular ones and hermit crabs!
14: We spent Christmas day lounging in the pool at the club house and eating delicious food in Playa del Coco. | Mark and Amanda arrived at the airport just in time for Christmas Eve. We fed them some well-deserved beverages after their 48 hour journey - the luggage didn't arrive for another 2 days.
15: For Christmas Dinner, Brian bbq'd some fabulous chicken breasts while Mark grilled the veggies. Rosie joined us for the celebration. | Merry Christmas!
17: We had two pools: 1 at our villa, the other at the club house. Many of our days were spent lounging in or by the pools. True relaxation!
18: We took a trip one day to Palo Verde National Park. The drive there was almost as exciting as our time spent there! Lesson learned: when the GPS tells you to take the main roads, even though it looks longer, do what the GPS says! It knows best!
19: While in Palo Verde National Park, Amanda and I arranged for a tour boat to meet up with us. We took a three hour boat ride through the park and saw (and heard!) many different animals. It took us a while to spot our first iguana, but once we found one, we saw them all over! Also spotted: about 50 different types of birds, a papa howler monkey, and three crocodiles (two alive and one dead).
22: While in Palo Verde National Park, we did a bit of a hike up to La Roca look-out point. It wasn't a long hike, which was good since Brian and I were still recovering from 2 days of sickness!
23: Las Cataratas
24: Happy New Year! | 2010
25: Rosie | Rosie is the neighbour's dog. We didn't know her name, and since she came to visit us so often we named her "Rosemary" after the rosemary chicken grease that she mopped up off of the porch.
26: Out on the town On our last night in the country, we treated ourselves to a very nice meal at the hotel in Playa Hermosa.
28: Guachipelin Adventure Day
30: Yee-Haw! My horse tried to kill me several times; Brian's horse had a drinking problem.
33: We ended our day of adventures with some time at the spa. Slather, bake, rinse, repeat. | Volcanic Mud
34: Team VOX scored the perfect vacation. Next VOX vacay: Florida? Europe? . Bring it.
35: Homeward Bound