Atlantic Coast Adventure...as an RPCV
Well, a RPCV(Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) that hasn't officially returned to the U.S. yet. I officially COS'd (closed out my service) on December 22, 2008. I'll quickly summarize some of the December events that marked the end of my service.
Dec. 14-I threw a despedida (goodbye party) for myself which consisted of making a whole bunch of pastries, refrescos (drinks) and popcorn for anyone who wanted to come and I showed a video with music that I made comprised of random pictures of people from the town. I wanted to make a pretty little sentimental, heartfelt speech in the beginning, but no one would be quiet long enough to listen, so I just started the video. Once the people heard the music and noticed that the pictures were of themselves they quickly quieted down and all 150 or so of them huttled around the television...which made for another problem, that the children or shorter people couldn't see. In the end, it seemed like everyone enjoyed it, and I ended up raffling off about 10 copies of it. I also got the privilege of watching the video several times during the week that followed in almost everyone house I visited because between the 10 copies distributed almost everyone in the town was able to borrow a copy.
Dec. 24-For the Nicaraguans this is their main day of Christmas celebration. It began with mass in the morning, followed by lots of food in the evening. My friend, Jess, from T.J./SoCal came out to visit so he had the pleasure of being invited to eat three dinners within the span of a little less than two hours. Needless to say, I was full for the next few days.
Dec. 31-This day also consisted of the same pattern of visiting people and eating til your sick combined with bull riding and dances in the night, which were interrupted both nights by three-eight hour power outages. I also got decked out in my cowgirl wear for the last time. At midnight, we burned the stuffed dummies (viejitos) filled with firecrackers that we had made earlier that day to simbolize the ending of the old year. Finally, we ended the night by going to a neighbor's house to eat torta borracha (drunk cake-cake filled with rum). What a great end to a super year!
Jan 4-Jess and I headed to Managua, Jess for a flight with a destination to L.A. and me with a destination to Puerto Cabezas, a port city located in the north of the North Atlantic Autonomous Region of Nicaragua's Carribean Coast. It turned out that the reservations clerk made a mistake and La Costena doesn't flight to that destination on Sundays. So, I had to make a snap decision to change my flight to the destination Corn Island.
Corn Island-just a few words to describe it...AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL, yes, rainbow blue/turquoise water, tropical paradise, bamboo huts, need I say more. I am still pinching myself expecting to wake up from this dream I am having right now. Just a quick recap of the past week: walking along the secluded beaches, exploring the palm tree filled island, drinking coconut milk and eating scrumpsous (sp.?) coconut bread, hanging out with locals and learning to make coconut bread, drinking flor de cana rum on the beach looking up at the moonlit, star-filled sky, listening to regaee music, trying to decipher the creole English spoken by the locals and eating fresh lobster and shrimp at about $10 a plate.
What's next?-Tomorrow I am hopping a 12-hour long boat ride to Puerto Cabezas in the north of the Atlantic Coast, maybe do some touring of the indigenous communities along the Coco River and explore the Mining Triangle. The possibilities are endless. To quote my friend Jess, "From Puerto Cabezas to the sky!"
Fly back to U.S.A.-Jan. 23, destination Orlando, FL to hang out with my niece for the weekend.