For the first time in the long history of the Long and Winding Road (well, 3 years isn't that long), we did not have to begin our journey at the butt-crack of dawn (Polly's expression, not mine.) For the past 2 years, we hit the road at 6 a.m., which is kinda dumb if you consider we were going on a month-long trip and no one was anticipating our arrival. Well, the CEO of Disney WAS looking forward to the ridiculous amount of money we spent at Disney World last year. 

Delta was ready when we were at 11:05  this morning and we had no problems at the beautiful Bloomington, IL International Airport (BMI to all my former fellow State Farm road warriors! Hi, Todd!)  

ATL brought a 3.5 hour layover during which time, we ate while Grady looked out the window and pointed out every airplane and luggage trailer that passed by. His obsession with wheels and mechanical things is both scary and cool at the same time. It's great that there is something he loves so much that he gets excited about. It gives me hope that he has a future career plan. The scary part is that his future career plan might involve doing tire rotations and re-balancing at Wal-Mart.  But, a buck's a buck and if he's happy, I guess I should be OK with it. I can use his college money to buy a boat! But probably not a really nice boat because we were pretty much just planning on Jr. College for him anyway! Annie will want to be the one to go to Harvard, so we have to find some Native American somewhere in my ancestry so she can get a scholarship. MAN, I have digressed! 

So why Nicaragua and Costa Rica in the first place. Several reasons in no particular order.

 1) It's pretty inexpensive. When you go for a month, you can't stay at the Ritz. We rent places through a website, VRBO.com, where you can rent houses and condos from the owners. We recommend it. 

2) It's a good place for Polly to practice Spanish, since ya' know, they speak Spanish there. She's pretty good at it, but wants to brush up. Now's her chance! 

3) We want to do some volunteer work at a local school. We're spending some time at a school where Scott (more about him later!) is going to language school. We want to spend time helping with the kids because we will enjoy it, hopefully the students will enjoy it and we want Grady and Annie to experience some things totally out of their comfort zone. Us, too! 

4) The countries look beautiful. Jungles (yes, JUNGLE. Not "rainforest." When I lived in one in Panama, it was called a "jungle" so by gosh, that's what I'm calling it!) have lots of things to see and do. There are volcanoes all over the place...kinda like corn in Central Illinois. Costa Rica has dedicated much of its land to preserve areas and we want to check it out. 

5) Zip-lining and horse. Grady for zip-lining. Annie for horses. 'Nuff said. 

I'm on the plane writing this. iPad and nifty little keyboard hard at work. I will never buy another PC and/or MS-based product. As my buddy David says about Apple products, "They just work." Amen. 

Hopefully, Rodolfo, our driver and tour guide for much of our trip will meet us at the Managua airport. If not, it's Managua Hilton and peanut butter for everyone! Have I mentioned we brought lots of peanut butter? And yes, Greg, TSA did take note of it in our luggage and they took apart our entire bag! We will not be known as the infamous "Peanut Butter Bombers!" 

Food. A topic of much concern for me. Polly will eat anything. She's looking forward to all the fruits and veggies. Her brother, Scott, will be joining us for a few weeks and he's a...wait for it...vegetarian. Bleeech. Fortunately, not a neo-Nazi "vegan" who wants to arrest people who eat egg omelets. Just your garden-variety, veggie-only, unless the fish looks really good, type of vegetarian. He'll be fine for food. I'll eat almost anything, but I'm kinda picky. Annie will be challenge, but she'll be OK. That brings us to... 


I have honestly laid in bed worrying about what he'll eat (Polly's not worried, as evidenced by her snoring while I fret.) He's very picky at home. I can't imagine how he'll do down here. He says he'll be OK, but I'm not sure if he quite understands the differences in foods. We have brought a goodly supply of peanut butter, so if we ration well, we're FAIRLY sure he'll live for 30 days. He likes rice and tortillas and cheese quesadillas, so we have a work-around that should be readily available. More...MUCH MORE...on this as the trip progresses. 

28 minutes to landing says Capt. Kirk, our pilot. I don't think his name really is Capt. Kirk, but we'll go with it. Customs and trip to our home for 2 weeks awaits. Let the journey begin! 


6/15/2012 09:42:05 am

So glad to see that you made it and that the pool is a success! It is hot and muggy here too and we don't have a pool in our abode. Hope Scott made it and that he has begun his chef duties:). How is the place? When do you start at the school? I think it will be a grand adventure. Enjoy! Love you.

11/27/2012 06:14:17 pm

Hi Thomas! Thank you so much for this blog! Love the photos and posts. My husband and I and 3 daughters are going to Nicaragua for a week in January and considering hiring Rodolfo. He sounds great - but very expensive and am wondering if I can ask you a few questions. Is there an email address or some other way to reach you?
Thank you!


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