Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Black...Jungle?

Well. Our first visitor has arrived. Last week Heather and I went to Managua to pick up her sister. It was Heather´s 30th birthday! Happy birthday Heather! Whats fun is that we both got to spend our 30th birthdays in Managua, in the medical office. Not for anything major. I had my chest x-rayed on my birthday to see if I had bruised a rib. For Heather, well, we were in town for our mid-service medical checkups. That´s right. Mid-service. Anyway, we picked up Becky on Friday. Saturday we headed to Selva Negra (black jungle), in Matagalpa.

Selva Negra is a natural reserve and coffee production farm that was founded by Germans, thus being named after the Black Forest in Germany, which incidentally is also not black. The reserve is a touristy little collection of mountain cottages, Hansel and Grettle style. We stayed in a three person room for about 16 dollar U.S. per person. There are some really beautiful hikes through the jungle. We found ourselves on a trail that lead straight up the mountain and didn´t realize until halfway up that it was listed as a "difficult" level. We passed many fabulous moss-covered trees larger than our health center.
Throughout the hike the jungle was filled with the calls of the congos. For those who don´t know, congos are a medium sized monkey, halfway between a howler monkey and a chimpanzee in size. Their call sounds like a deep moaning dog bark, like a pitbul barking through a megaphone, underwater. It is a very haunting sound.
So if the trip up the mountain was hard, the trip down should be relatively easy, what with the assistance of gravity. If the preceeding sentence makes good sense to you, then you can count yourself among the non-jungle-savey. Has anybody ever seen the movie Romancing the Stone? Yes? If yes, skip to the bottom of this paragraph. If no, read on.

Note: Gravity plus mud plus 75 degree slopes plus being chased by leopards equals potential disaster. Fortunately we didn´t run into any leopards. However, the treck back down the mountain was nevertheless riddled with peril. I saved Becky´s life, by breaking her fall which might otherwise have continued to the bottom. Heather fell once, sliding only a short distance, but enough to thoroughly soil her pants (with mud). My elbow still hurts from an amaizingly graceful and acrobatic tumble which left my pants noticable unsoiled.

Near the bottom of the trail, we came accross the congos. They were everywhere above us. All throughout the canopy. We watched them for several minutes. Then, the males started getting a little protective. They were organized. One tried to urinate on us. Then they started screaming to eachother, a sound which, at that distance, makes your skin feel like it will shiver off of your body and crawl into a hopefully unoccupied hole. The screaming was aparently a signal to join in the attempted urinary bombardment. We ran to clear ground, escaping unscathed.
I know they´re hard to see, but they are pretty freaking high up.
Selva Negra was beautiful.
Now, we are here in La Dalia just chillin. Becky got some of the business. You know what I mean. We fixed her up and she got some rest, otherwise we would be at PeƱas Blancas right now, doing the same thing we did at Selva Negra. Tomorrow we leave for Matagalpa then to Granada to spend a few days before heading off to Costa Rica! Dang vacation is fun!

We should be able to update soon on this trip. Talk to you from GRANADA!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Years (2) and Mural

Here are the pictures that Heather was unable to upload last time.
Why yes, that is a bomb in my mouth.

Supporting the dynamite-stuffed borracho.
This is the exploding "viejo" surrounded my too-close kids. Also, we finished the mural. It is in a long narrow space so it is difficult to photograph, but you get it, right? When we get a chance we will make a complete picture from parts to post.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Years Dinamite!

>Sorry it took us soooo long to write about our new years experience. We have been super busy trying to get some projects done before the big vacation. But here it is. We spent new years eve.. working, but we also were invited to our neighbors house (the one with all the kids, that are pretty much our best friends) and we helped them make their “viejo”. Let me explain this tradition. They make an old man, who represents the old year, out of old clothes and stuff it with dry banana leaves, paper, fabric scraps and basically whatever they can possibly get their hands on. They also buy tons of fire crackers and stuff it full of those suckers. Now, these aren’t your sissy-crackers that you buy in the states.. even in Wyoming. These are nigh on dynamite sticks. They do not mess around here. This fire cracker thing has given us ulcers because all the kids in the street buy them and do all manner of stupid thing with them and there is absolutely no supervision. So.. though there was adult supervision, this night.. we were scared of dynamite. It turned out to be not as A-bombish as we had imagined (you know how anal retentive Americans can be because we are used to all manner of rules and laws). Anyway. Kory drew this wicked face for our Viejo! He was super creepy. Around 7 pm, the lights went out while we were watching a movie and we were soooooo tired, so we went to sleep and then woke up at 11:30 for the festivities. Everyone was out and it was super fun. We took a few traditional fake “passed out “ pics with him and set him ablaze. We really like this tradition and wish we could continue at home, but can you imagine burning ANYTHING in the states?!

Im sorry but Im out of time and cannot add any more photos because its painfully slow. Maybe later!

Also we have continued our work on the mural and have almost finished….. “Falta” a cow and a chicken and some logos. You can see here (never mind the saggy butt) that it is looking very nice. It should be done just in time for becky, or maybe she will help us finish it off.

In other news, nothing. Soooo, HAPPY 2009!