Monday, October 26, 2009

Trip to La Playa

This weekend we went to Morgan's Rock, an ecolodge north of San Juan del Sur. It is situated on a 4,500 acre property owned by a French family that is involved in many agricultural and reforestation efforts in the country. The resort is very committed to sustainability and is beautifully designed so that it leaves a minimal visual/physical footprint. It employs about 100 people, around 40 at the hotel and 60 at the farm. It was an incredible place and I learned a lot from being there.

The view of Morgan's Rock (the big one on the right), named after Senator John Tyler Morgan who was the biggest advocate of building a canal in Nicaragua, not Panama.

Relaxing at the beach. I was so happy to be in the ocean! The waves were excellent for body surfing and we had the bay all to ourselves.

Suspension bridge connecting the hotel lobby/restaurant/pool area to the guest bungalows. This bridge, unlike most I have seen in Nicaragua, was not a gift of Japan.

View from our bungalow.

Now I will tell you a little bit about my first baseball, er, I mean beisbol experience, here. Baseball is the most popular sport in the country. The staff arranged a pick up game between the hotel vs. the farm workers and we were invited to play/watch. I decided to sit this one out but Josh was starting pitcher for the hotel team. A number of things happened last minute to make the field playable that were slightly unusual. A large man and his tiny daughter on a tractor came out of nowhere to mow the field and deposit sand on home plate, which was somewhat of a lagoon when we first arrived at the pasture. Other than the human spectators that kept coming out of the woodworks were also two cows bellowing every so often from right field and howler monkeys occasionally chiming in. Some images:

Before the game, Josh and I went to the farm to have breakfast. The farm produces most of the food that the hotel restaurant serves. They have dairy cows, sheep, horses, chickens, a rooster and ducks. We first learned how to milk a cow, then went to the chicken coop to play with some 2 day old chicks and select freshly-laid eggs for breakfast and then proceeded to the kitchen where we made tortillas (mine was super gordo...I have some room for improvement in my technique). We had some amazing cafe con leche with Matagalpan coffee and fresh milk, scrambled eggs, tortillas, homemade cheese and gallo pinto (of course). YUM!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bienvenidos a Granada!

I arrived in Managua on Sunday night and have spent the last 1.5 days in Granada, where Josh and I have set up base camp. Base camp is very wonderful. The house is located on Calle de Caimito about a block and a half from the central park.

Here's a view from the front hall:

The main bedroom:

The courtyard (my favorite spot):


Guest Bedroom:

Yesterday, we went out on Lake Nicaragua, which is a quick drive from our house. The lake is MASSIVE - it is the largest lake in Central America and the 10th largest fresh water lake in the world. We took a boat around the isletas - there are about 370 little islands that were created by a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago. Some are inhabited by fishermen but most seemed to be fancy second homes.

Another highlight of yesterday was going to El Zaquin, a great steakhouse just around the corner. Here I tried an amazing kind of juice that I am now obsessed with called Pitaya. It is bright purple and unbelievably yummy! I think I might have to get some now...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Amor y Chocolate

Phenylethylamine (PEA) is found in chocolate.
PEA is a chemical associated with adrenal health. It is created within the brain and released when we are in love. Supposedly, chocolate has the ability to create a mild version of the "warm fuzzies" you experience when you are in love. It's so true that this food is a love potion! And you thought it was all Godiva hype. PEA is one of the reasons why love and chocolate have a deep correlation. PEA also plays a role in increasing focus and alertness, which can certainly help if you're in love.

Great website for chocolate lovers. Lily visited Sweetriot in NYC... hopefully they will become a dependable purveyor of Xoco cacao