Archives for posts with tag: Montezuma
originally published on facebook – June 17, 2009.

So I finished up with the yoga program on June 6th, so glad to be done and able to get back out on the road. I stayed in Montezuma until the 9th, relaxing and enjoying lazing around in the sunshine again, then caught a bus up to Liberia (close to the border of Nicaragua). I spent one night in Liberia and then the morning doing a quick wander through the town until it was time to catch my bus to the border. I love waiting for the bus, the cabbies are always right on you asking if you need a ride, when I tell them I am waiting for the bus they stay and just want to chat with me as much as possible and always make sure to let me know where the right bus is and when it is leaving (it’s kinda like having your brother looking out for you). It’s also a good chance to work on my Spanish which is really still quite abysmal, I have a lot of words now but don’t conjugate them properly at all, everything I say is in the wrong order and I don’t know the “in between” words, I think I might be getting a little bit better though and can understand more and more of what is said to me even if I can’t answer back. I however am getting the hang of answering the same questions, where am I from, how do I like (insert current countries name here,) isn’t it (this country) beautiful, do I like the local beer (or rum on my case), how old am I, do I have any kids, where is my husband/boyfriend (I’ve created an imaginary one who is at home) and why isn’t he traveling with me? Oh yes, and usually they are kind enough to tell me….you are beautiful. Smooth and not subtle at all,

Anyways made it across the border without incident, this flu thing is pretty bad I guess, all the border staff are wearing gloves and surgical masks, we have to fill out a form that states where we are coming from and going to and whether we have any of the following symptoms, I check “no” to all of them and I wonder at the one that asks about diarrhea, don’t almost all travelers have upset stomachs at some point, what if I checked “yes” in that box? Would I be denied entry to the country, quarantined somewhere? I don’t want to find out. Besides, I have been particularly lucky with my belly so far, touch wood…:)

From the border I took a “chicken” bus (still haven’t seen any actual chickens on these buses) to a border town called Rivas, got chatted up the whole way by a guy who works at the border checking peoples cars, basically the same sort of conversations I have with cabbies at bus stations but he was particularly persistent, even asked for a kiss, the cheeky bugger! But I laughed him off with a “no, no” and a wag of the finger and he took it all as fun and was respectful of that, was even kind enough to show me which bus I should get to transfer to to my next destination and shook my hand like a true gentleman when we parted ways ๐Ÿ™‚

Made it to next stop, San Juan del Sur. Is a beach town, very touristy but I choose it because I figured it would give me a little time to get used to the new currency/exchange rate (20 cordobas to the US dollar). Found a hotel with my own private room and bathroom with A/C for $13usd, saw a bit of the town etc. That night I woke up around 3:30 in the morning, I wasn’t sure why, I couldn’t get back to sleep so I thought I might sit out on the deck for a bit of fresh air, when I opened my door I noticed it was unlocked, I thought that was strange but I didn’t really register it that much as was half asleep. The next morning I realized that I had been robbed, while I was in the room asleep…creepy! My wallet was in my purse on the extra bed as well as my camera, passport and computer. The only thing missing was my cash, about $200 usd worth, credit cards were still there along with everything else even though this person could have taken everything they didn’t, and most importantly I was safe. I handled this incredibly well, I must say ๐Ÿ™‚ got a tiny bit angry at first and a bit creeped out but I soon realized that it was only money, could have been so much worse and I accepted it, is all good. Am quite proud of myself for that response! I visited a beach the next day, about 12kms up the coast, met a few people and came back to town. I decided to leave the next day, didn’t love it there, too touristy and perhaps a little jaded by the robbery.

Next morning I headed to Isla de Ometepe, an island with 2 volcanoes, one of which is active. On the ferry on the way over I met a lovely couple from France, we were both headed to the same part of the island (Santa Domingo) and I suggested we share a cab there. We ended up hanging out together the whole 4 days I was there. We were pretty lazy I must admit, none of us really felt like climbing a volcano or anything however I did teach them both their first (and second) yoga classes ever!, Good practice for me! My last day there we rented horses for a couple hours, by chance I got the good one, she was a runner! We rode along the beach for about an hour and then along a path to see some petroglyphs, not quite what I expected but it was somewhat interesting. Our bums were killing us already so we headed back. Saddles here are not western or English, kinda a hybrid of the two, is impossible to post while trotting so makes for a bumpy ride unless you are walking slowly or galloping along…seeing as I had the speedy horse, I choose to gallop….super fun! Once we were back at the stable I told our guide that my horse really was a fast girl, he agreed telling me I rode muy, muy rapido! He seemed quite pleased with me actually ๐Ÿ˜€

We were going to move the next day to the other side of the island but while in the bus on the way there I met someone who told me it was possible to fly to the Corn Islands in the Caribbean for as little as $150.00 usd. I gave it about 2minutes thought and then changed my plans. I had previously considered heading there and had thought it would take too much time by bus, I never thought about flying! So I said my good byes to Cecile and Mathieu (they are traveling the world for a year and there is a chance we will meet up in S.E. Asia sometime in early 2010) and got on a ferry to come to Granada.

I am still here in the big G. Staying in a super nice Hostel (Hostel Oasis). Spent the rest of my travel day wandering through this city and spent today doing so as well. Had an extensive tour of the city trying to find the post office. Lonely Planet is so easily outdated, the damn office has been moved sometime in the past year so I spent about 2 hours trying to locate it, but I did eventually find it and get my parcel sent home. Granada is a beautiful and rough place all at once, more people begging then I have seen anywhere, kids, even really little ones, older folks and families even. It’s hard not to feel guilty but I can’t help them all, I wish I could though. I seem to attract a lot of male attention here as welI, sometimes it’s flattering and I wonder if it’s me or is it just because I am another gringa, with lovely white skin? (I don’t have the heart or the language skills to explain that for me this is tanned!) Some of the streets are crazy, sidewalks are so narrow that you walk in the street and cars and horse-drawn buggies are honking at you just to let you know they are coming. There are horse-drawn buggy tours you can take of the city but some people are using them just like a car, bringing fruit and veg to sell at market, a handyman/carpenter, a furniture re upholsterer, etc. On the central road what sidewalks there are are crowded with vendors of all sorts of things, from running shoes to fruit to sunglasses and t-shirts, people with trays full of candies and cigarettes and gum, all sold by the piece. It’s like a market of sorts. So much to see and absorb all at once, almost overwhelming sometimes, but I somehow manage to stay relaxed. I surprise myself a bit with this ability, before I left home i would have thought that this kind of “chaos” would have totally stressed me out but I really do seems to take it all in stride. I do my best not to look like a tourist, I wear a bag slung across one shoulder, not a backpack, I use a wallet, not a money belt and I keep my wits about me at all times, so far, so good. Maybe these aren’t smart things to do, it’s definitely not what is recommended in all the travel literature but it’s worked well for me thus far so I will keep at it.

Just one of many churches….

And this was inside one…

And this is something I saw at the central market that I just couldn’t resist photographing, it brings new meaning to the term “horny toad”…

It’s raining tonight so think I will stay in until I have to grab a bite to eat (soon). I wanted to get to see the cemetery today as well as another church or 2 but didn’t happen due to the post office stuff, so I think I may have to spend an extra day here before I can get to Managua to fly out to the islands. I haven’t booked it, I hope to just show up at the airport an hour or 2 ahead of time and get on a flight (wish me luck) if I can make it all happen tomorrow I will. So there is a small chance that by this time tomorrow I could be dangling my toes in the Caribbean blue!

I booked my flight home a couple days ago, will be arriving back in Vancity on July 8th. Have somewhat mixed feelings about it, will be wonderful to see everyone again but is hard to not be disappointed about coming back to the same place I have lived for the past 37 years. Also, once I start moving I just want to keep going, it seems there is no end to the places I want to see in my life. There are some places I want to go back to and some more places that I wanted to see that I didn’t get too, guess I’ll just have to come back sometime.

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Originally published on facebook – May 20, 2009.
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You all want to know about the first week of yoga training so here goes…. Our first day was Sunday (a half day) we show up in the afternoon and meet our teachers. One of them I can tell right away is amazing, beautiful energy, very able, and open, the other I instantly have some reservations about but I think, maybe I’m being judgmental, give it time before forming an opinion, try to find out who she really is. Turns out a few of us ended up having difficulties with her, however we all seem to be working through them and trying to let go of any differences. The important thing is we are here to learn and part of that learning process is to deal with different personality types and to be accepting of them. She has a lot to teach us so we are trying to stay open so we can learn. Don’t want to write too much about this so I will tell you a little about what we have been up to.

During this first class we sat in a circle and introduced ourselves, our names, where we are from etc. We did our first Asana practice together and we did three “communication” exercises. In the first one we had to choose a partner, someone we had never met before, and then we had to sit in front of each other with our eyes closed and meditate on the other person, trying to feel their energy, for 5 minutes. This was pretty easy to do except most of us found that instead of trying to connect into the other person’s energy we ended up just going into ourselves. The second time we had to partner with a different person and do the same thing except this time we had to keep our eyes open, looking into the other person eyes, harder for sure. A lot of people ended up laughing, my partner and I had a small chuckle at first and then we got into it. I tried to think about sending her heart energy, I visualized it as if our two hearts were connected by a loop of firey energy and we were opening to each other. I was thinking about the idea that what you put out is what you get back , energetically, and I was trying to send out pure love. It worked, but after a while I began to feel anxious, uneasy (maybe too open to a woman who was, after all, a stranger) and started breathing quite shallowly. Involuntarily I had to break the eye connection and inhale a deep breath, my hands moved as if to pull more oxygen into my lungs. She noticed this obviously and right away I sensed her sending me calming energy. I noticed her make her eyes smaller and I thought about how I had read that to calm an aggressive or scared cat you can half close your eyes and it soothes them. It worked (I’ve always thought I was part cat) and I felt calmer and started trying to allow the connection to happen again, unfortunately our 5 minutes were up a very short time later. We talked about it a little afterwards and she told me she had felt the heart connection initially as well, and had tried to send calming energy to me when she realized that I felt anxious. Was quite beautiful really and brought me near to tears. For our last exercise we had 3 minutes with a new partner and this time one of us was to try to stay in meditation while the other did anything they could (except touch) to make the other break concentration. Being the person staying in meditation wasn’t so hard at all, it was being the other person, the person who had to be silly, that most of us found challenging (myself included for sure). We talked about our experiences at the end and then finished for the day.

Day 2, really our first full day. We started our day at 7am with a 1-1/2 hour Asana practice. Afterwards we did a little talking about what we would be covering that afternoon and our teachers told us a little about themselves and their experiences both with their personal yoga practice and with teaching. we break around 9:15am and then come back at noon for 5 more hours (this is the typical times we are in class). In the afternoon we cover various things, sometimes we break down poses to learn how to make corrections or increase sensations for our students, sometimes we cover theory like, the 8 limbs of yoga, or philosophy or anatomy (both physical and energetic, eg: chakras) as well we are expected to learn all the Sanskrit and English names of poses (tricky!).We also have to start to learn and memorize sequences of poses like the Sun Salutations.There is so much to learn it is sometimes a little scary. I am struggling with the Sanskrit, my brain just does not seem able to retain this stuff very easily, it appears that it really is harder to learn and memorize once you get older! Old dog, new tricks….. We have started trying to design our own sequences of poses, eventually this will lead to designing full classes, sometime soon we are going to actually teach parts of our sequences to the entire class, good practice for the real world. We are breaking each exercise down and learning how to make adjustments in the poses as well as moves that will help students feel the poses more deeply and bring them into better alignment. We have to learn variations and modifications on all the poses as well as which chakras are associated with them and, as well, what the benefits (physical, mental and spiritual) of each pose are. There is more, much more but I’m kinda done writing about it…lol.

I wanted to share with you about my first meditation experience, because really it was pretty darn cool! We were on a beach in the early part of our day, I made sure to separate myself from the others walking about 30 or 40 meters down the beach so I could feel space around me. We had 30 minutes. This is what I wrote in my journal immediately afterwards….

Meditation #1 – Difficult. Started cross-legged (Perfect Pose). After about 5 minutes my right hip started to really ache. I tried to bear it but only lasted another couple of minutes, then allowed myself to straighten my legs forward. Initially i tried to focus on my breath and count without thinking. (The idea is to count to 10 breaths without thinking, if you have a thought that you chase you return back to 1). I never made it past one. Sometimes I barely made it to one at all. After 5 or 10 minutes with legs extended I brought them back to perfect pose. My right hip started to ache again within minutes. I was still trying to count. I felt it wasn’t working for me, I felt myself beginning to get frustrated so I thought about trying to look at my third eye instead. Very quickly I noticed that everything was yellow. I kept focused on trying to look where my third eye would be behind my forehead and I noticed that there was a more concentrated light there, kind of like a ball. I remember thinking about the fact that the light was yellow and how that related to my golden tree of light (I won’t get into this but some of you know about it already). At some point I became aware that my hip no longer hurt and of course because I became aware of that it started to hurt again. I realized that I had the power to ignore that discomfort, so I did. I returned to the light. At some point a wave of pinkish red rose up and I immediately thought of the root chakra. Then I had a conscious thought, I wanted to work my way through the colours and up through the chakras in my body so I started to trying to see orange and pretty much failed. I guess when I started trying to control the experience I lost the connection. As I was realizing thiswhen my teacher walked by and whispered “It’s time”. So time was up. The first 15-20 minutes seemed to drag on but the last 10 went so quickly. I actually felt like I was doing something even though there was still thought. At a certain point I felt like an observer, being taken on a very cool ride.

So to add to that I’m pleased that at points I was noticing things and thinking them but wasn’t following my thoughts, I was allowing them to happen and then letting them go, this is what I have been told is “proper” meditation (and I was doing it!) thrilling! We are apparently going to do this every day, working up to 2 hours by the end of the program! I am not sure how many of these I will share, it kinda depends what comes up but I thought you might find this first one exciting, I know I did!

The other students are lovely, I relate to some more then others of course but I look forward to getting to know all of them better as this month goes by. I am glad that I have rented my own place away from everybody, it is good for me to have a place where I can be away from them sometimes as we do spend so much intense time together.

We have a lot to cover this next month (written portion – 8 quizzes, 1 midterm and a final exam, practical testing – I don’t even know), it is intimidating and I am worried about how I am going to learn it all and how this teacher is going to be. But I also know that I am going to do my very best to ace this program and to get along with this difficult person. Wish me luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

Namaste….

P.S. It’s now our second Tuesday and the teachers are starting to split up the days a bit more, one will teach the morning and the other the afternoon. It seems to be working out quite nicely for both them and us. The “difficult” teacher is doing better this week, I think she realized that a lot of us were struggling with her personality and she seems to have toned it down in some ways. You can tell she is making an effort to be more accessible and light, so things are looking up! After my first awesome meditation I haven’t been able to get back there, kinda disappointing, I suspect I may be having problems because I now have expectations about what meditation will be like, having had such a great first time. So I’m thinking I have to learn to be more in the moment and not to expect or anticipate what might happen, I just have to let whatever will happen, happen. We are working our asses off, my wrists are in rough shape from all the poses we do. Yesterday we did an hour and a half asana practice, then we did a abs and headstand workshop and then we did 7 sun salutations A and 7 sun salutations B. Today same thing except this workshop was on arm balances. Tomorrow we have TWO, one and a half hour asana practices, an hour or so of breathing exercises another ab workshop and god knows whatever else they throw at us! I think I will be either made of steel or broken by the time this month is over!

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Originally posted on facebook –ย  March 15, 2009. ยท

That dress I bought didn’t work out so well, too big and it was strapless so kept slipping down, not dangerously so but enough to be annoying. also I didn’t notice when i bought it but it was polyester on the inside, yuck! I will try to find someone who wants it, maybe a trade so I don’t have to cart it around with me. I should have known better then to buy it without trying it on, live and learn….

I certainly wouldn’t call myself a seasoned traveler yet but I am learning to sit back and let things happen more easily, not forcing. also to take the time to observe a situation before I jump (eg: finding a cab at the airport when surrounded by pushy drivers all trying to get me to take a ride with them) trying to stay calm allows me to be able to think in Spanish (what little I remember from my one year of it in high school) a little better and I am trying to be more patient and remember to be accepting of “Costa Rica time” I do well unless I’m really hungry, then I want my food NOW!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

I must share my idea for a palm salad recipe, it is so good and so easy, just lettuce, avocado, tomato and heart of palm which you buy ready made in a jar, the key will be to making a good salad dressing, I think a pesto based one would be amazing, but salad dressing are not my strong suit, still I will try once I am home.

Today I went with an American nurse from San Diego named Mandi to a wildlife reserve in Cutu, (about an hour and 25mins by bus) we saw white faced and howler monkeys free in the wild and I got some good pics (quite proud of this one actually). Howler monkeys make a sound like a dog barking and a loud growl, pretty cool, there are a lot of them (and the white faced) here in Montezuma as well but they are harder to see (at least so far).

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We also saw some spider monkeys that are being rehabbed to be released back to the wild, they were in a pen but it was pretty nice and large as far as pens go. One of them (a female) came right up to us at the face and put her hand through the fencing, she wanted us to hold her hand and we did, it was so incredible, I almost broke down in tears. she and I looked into each others eyes for a time and she was so wise looking, her eyes were a beautiful deep shade of brown and you could see her intelligence, it broke my heart. I thought she seemed sad, but I don’t know if she was really, how can you know what is going on in a monkeys head? Her hands were so soft (much more then I imagined they would be) with longish black fingernails and on the underside of her tail there was the same sort of skin as her hands. She turned her back against the wire and let us rub and scratch her. Her fur was coarser and thicker then I thought it would be. It was an amazing moment I know I will never ever forget. And yes I have a picture of this as well.

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Some people that I had met left today, some new ones arrived. I’m beginning to see that saying goodbye will be something I have to get used to. When Mandi and I got back to town from Cutu I ran into the 2 girls from Sweden that I had met at the airport when I arrived. In the moment I was desperate for a pee and a shower so I said a quick hello, We know where each other are staying so I will try to find them again tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I finally start school, my first Spanish class (beginners level 1) is at 12-2pm and the Spanish lab (all levels, where we practice speaking what we have learned) is from 4-6. from 6:30-8pm I have yoga, so the 4 extra days I gave myself before starting everything, “my vacation” is kinda over, lol.

I found a woman who does shiatsu down here. I got my first one yesterday and she is amazing, she doesn’t really speak much English at all but she is very intuitive and did an amazing job, I would put her up there with Kat! (sorry Kat!, forgive me?) later int he day a few of us went up to the closest waterfall for a refreshing dip. so nice!

I feel like I am settling in here, for the first few days I felt antsy and like I wanted to move on, now I feel quite content and excited about the learning I get to do over the next couple of weeks.

Originally posted on facebook – March 13, 2009.

After years of delaying I have finally set out on this adventure. I’m heading to Costa Rica for 5 weeks. I haven’t backpacked since I was 19 years old and am now 36 and scared witless. I have ended my relationship, sold my condo, put everything in storage and taken a leave of absence from work, I’m ready to go. I’ve planned it out and will spend the first half of my time in Montezuma, studying Spanish and practicing yoga. From there I’ll probably head over to the east coast to explore a little before I head back home to real life.

These will be quick random things that happen in my days, maybe will get to longer posts but not sure…

I went into a small local town today called Cobano, I took the bus and spent and hour in the bank. my debit card wouldn’t work in the machine so I had to do a visa transfer, the teller at the bank told me that my debit card will probably work in another little town about a half hour away called Santa Teresa, I will try going there next week sometime. I forgot how high security banks are down here, the security guys were all holding shotguns and I had to pass through a metal detector on the way in, sunglasses off and they looked inside my bag. friendly enough though. I’d forgotten how you are supposed to take a number and sit in the chairs waiting, so glad my mom and I had visited a bank in La Paz, Mexico when we went there so I had at least done it once before! I wandered around the town a little bit and bought a nice aqua coloured sundress, am wishing I brought less shorts/shirts and more dresses/skirts as they are soooo much cooler, so I am stocking up, hope everything fits in my backpack when I’m ready to move on! I shared a cab back to Montezuma with some people I met so it only cost 4 bucks….yes the bus is only 60 cents but wasn’t due to arrive for another hour so I splurged. Funny thing….on the bus on the way to Cobano there is a very big hill with hairpin turns, the road is very dry and sandy/dusty. we couldn’t make it up the hill so the driver shouted out something and everybody stood up, I thought we were going to get off the bus and have to climb up the hill but he had us all move to the back seats and then we made it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I tried heart of palm today in a salad with avocado, tomato and green olives, so yummy, I think it may be favorite new food!

fyi, i have been lucky enough to meet people who have their own computers so I have been able to use them thus far, not sure how long this will continue so I may not be able to post so easily (or cheaply) once they leave. I will have to use the internet cafe $$$!!!