The difference between a rainforest and a cloudforest is that it’s usually raining in a rain forest, and flat – like the Amazon. A cloud forest is usually on a mountain so high up it’s sits mostly in clouds all day, and gathers moisture from the air without it having to rain. This is Maderas Volcano on the island of Ometepe in Nicaragua. One of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done – hot and humid and 5,000 ft of slippery,  muddy, am I in the Lord of the Rings sequel? fun.  But it was mysterious and beautiful and I couldn’t help but to stop and gawk at all the little things.

Climbing the volcano high into the clouds (and thus into a microclimate) we walked under chandeliers made of dripping moss and ferns.

my $5 lunch – that fish was fresh and delicious

 

The circus was so bad – it was good. And it only cost 85 cents to get in. The circus consisted of a creepy dude on a trapeze, 2 scary clowns, a girl in a skating outfit hanging from a triangle, and a girl in a bikini (with fringe) twirking with what we could gather was her young daughter. Apparently twirking was not invented by Miley Cirus, but has been going on in these parts for centuries.

the trapeze guy (more swinging on a rope than a trapeze) was hitting the roof of the tent on his upswing

I never did see any chickens on the ‘chicken bus’, except for the pollo taco the woman was trying to sell me from the basket on her head.

Here’s a great idea……..

Plastic bottles get stuffed with non-burnable, non-compostable trash, and then used as building materials for a bilingual school.

Benches and tables are made, as well as the foundations for walkways. Realistically it’s too expensive to ship all the garbage off the island to recycle, so why not disperse the landfill mass and use it for building materials? Seriously, why don’t we all do this?!

Lots of difference transportation options. There’s the taxi/minivan, or the chicken bus. On this particular morning, I caught a ride with two Dutch families that had bought a suburban in Guatemala, and a Canadian surfer dude with his lovely German lover – heading back to Costa Rica after getting his passport stamped. The parents were very cool, spoke multitple languages with the kids, and were hip to the world music scene.  When the 9 year old asked me if I knew : ” 50 cent change in your pocket” I didn’t think he was talking about 50 Cent – until the song came on via mom’s ipod over the speakers. Blasting. As I rap dance with the kids in the back seat with our hats all thugged out past palm trees and horse drawn carts at the foot of volcanoes, I relish in the clash of cultures.

bonus transportation slide…….. on the chicken bus to Masaya – getting fancy with a video monitor!! nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could catch a ride to the airport from surf camp, and wanted to minimize my time in Managua,  so I thought it was a good time to then fly to Little Corn Island – a sleepy little Caribbean island off the other coast of Nicaragua. No cars, (so no roads), not even any motorbikes. A couple people had bikes, but mostly we just walked.

 

this is a traffic jam on Little Corn Island…….and this is the MAIN ROAD!

I met up with Alison for a few days before she headed back to surf camp, and had a glorious day renting SUP boards -

exploring all the deserted white sand beaches. We would roll around in the sand and become ‘sand monsters’, then

wash off by snorkeling, where we could see (and touch!) sharks. Don’t worry – just harmless nurse sharks.

“Here, sharky, sharky”. We made it to Yamaya (the fancy $300/nt hotel) on the north side of the island for the best fish tacos

I’ve ever had in my entire life. I made it a habit to find myself on that side of the island for lunch the rest of my time there.

 

After Alison left I found myself a little $15/night brightly painted tool shed (I affectionately called it) on stilts.

You can’t get much closer to the beach, and a nice cool ocean breeze blew through my windows day and night.

 

My million dollar view from my $15 tool shed. I got amazing sunrises (5am!) and full moon rises in the evening.

What timing!

my beach 20 ft from my shed on stilts….

 

Nicaragua is crazy about baseball! I took the wrong path back from my fish taco journey, and ended up at the baseball diamond.

The first storm of the rainy season rolled through, so then joined the kids in the bleachers to eat mangos. Because we can!

 

On my last day I was invited to join in on a Rondon feast with the locals. A Creole stew with breadfruit, fish, (and whatever else you got)

cooked in coconut milk with spices. You can’t be in a hurry. Why, yes, I’d love a cold beer while I wait!

Here’s a recipe……http://food52.com/recipes/22213-rondon-caribbean-coconut-stew

If you’re staying at a fancy hotel (not me, but the folks next door), then you get your bags carried to the dock for the panga

to Big Corn Island, where the airport is. But everybody still has to walk.

 

Instead of cobblestones, those are coconut husks! Awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My adventure in Nicaragua begins on my birthday at http://surftoursnicaragua.com.

I will stay for a week, dabble with learning to surf (but I really like boogie boarding!) and shoot

some lifestyle imagery for their website. I’m not going to set a bunch of fake scenarios up, but instead

wait for life to happen, and always have my camera with me. Luckily I just got a new travel camera,

the new SonyA7 – WOW- the files are larger than my big Nikon that I use for weddings and commercial clients

back home!  And its so much LIGHTER, I can actually carry it around all day long. I even slept with it

in my hammock on the deck in case there was a beautiful sunrise to catch.

Finally – a small light full frame professional camera for travel! Thank you Sony! Halleluya!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite commercial clients – making addictive solar lanterns that I just LOVE……..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, maptia for featuring my stories! Click on my pic to see my maptia profile and to see all my stories (so far…)

 

 

click on each image to see that story

I’m billing them as ‘somewhat funny’……..

 

 

 

 

It always looks good when you design it, Britt!

I shot these pics for Heal Goods’ website and launch as an ode to Rodney Smith, just with colorful socks…

 

 

 

 

Bikini Madness!!

 

 

Bikini madness! Yes, on Sunday it was 24 degrees on top and here are the brave, uh I mean crazy, ones!

Alex Kuczynski donated $100 for each person who showed up to the SVSEF! Way to go!

Gotta love the guy in the bikini top, right? Nice attention to detail…