I awoke to the sounds of monkeys playing in the tree branches high over the house. We wandered down to the beach and had breakfast smoothies at Party Wave. On the way out of Party Wave we bumped into a friend of some friends who was wanting to sell his house down the road. He invited us to go check out his house. Being eternally curious we all said let’s go! So then we all piled into his amazingly rusty Land Cruiser. I mean this thing had holes in the floor, and the bumper was really close to falling off. I’m pretty confident the thing is being held together by guitar strings and will power. We drove down the road with the rear door up so we had a great view of the road. There were pigs, and chickens, and holes, and every bump sent a thrill into my heart as the dust billowed up behind us.
    Magically we arrived at this very cool house with 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, a pool and an interior courtyard that was for sale for about 70k. He said he’d even throw in the Land Cruiser for the price. We wandered around, marveling at the masterful carpentry that carried dark wood elements throughout the house. Seeing another house in Nicaragua, where someone could live like a middle-class American for less than 100k was eye opening. Not for the first time, I began to fantasize about an alternative to my own life, seemingly ruled by the Monday through Friday 9-5 ish work week. I was struck by how life could be so easy and so difficult at the same time.
    While Playa Gigante is overflowing with natural beauty and friendly people, certain basic western conveniences just do not exist there. Things we take for granted the states.     Things like a functional postal service, or maybe running water. In the State’s when the mail gets miss delivered or the water gets shut off we get irritated. We’re so privileged we don’t typically have to even think about those kinds of things. In many countries what we consider to be basics, are true luxuries. But I would venture to say that the truest of luxuries is having a close-knit circle of friends who are happy to have you around, in a magical setting like Nicaragua. Which some how, helps to melt away the stress from lacking that other stuff. You find inventive ways to get what you need.
After the tour of the house, we clung to our rusty chariot back to the high street in Gigante. After waving good bye, we bumped into another friend who offered to give us a lift home. On the way home, we all discussed going out to a place called Mag Rock for happy hour that night.
     After a quiet day spent reading, relaxing, and drawing we all got dressed and headed out to Mag Rock. Mag is short for magnific, and at sunset during happy hour, it certainly is magnificent. Mag Rock is mainly known as a surfing hot spot, and on the way there you can see camps of surfers set up in the surrounding area adjacent to the beach.
Basically, it is a giant rock that juts out into the pacific. It also has stunning sunset views, which when complemented by cocktails is a pretty unbeatable combination. Mojito and mai tais were had along with some pretty delicious fish tacos. I noticed here, that coleslaw seemed to be the unexpectedly typical side dish for everything I had. It was everywhere. I’m not entirely sure why, but I found it surprising. I guess maybe because it’s a dish that I don’t particularly find exotic. Being from the southern united states, coleslaw is pretty much a food group of its own-, especially at family picnics. So, it was familiar enough to me. Perhaps it was the epic natural beauty of Mag Rock, or maybe those tacos were just really great, but that coleslaw seemed somehow significant. Maybe they make it just for tourist, as I just can’t imagine cabbage growing naturally in the wilds of Nicaragua.
     But, maybe it does. The slaw was certainly different from the mayo-laden side dish appearing on tables all over the south, accompanying things like bbq or fried chicken. Instead, it was zesty, bright, and citrusy. It felt unique to Nicaragua. A kind of cabbage based cousin of the table salsa that also appears in unique varieties all over Nicaragua. The fish was also well prepared- fried in a light batter that had a harmonious crunch that paired well with the light crispness of purple cabbage.
After indulging at happy hour we all headed back to Gigante, and ended the night back on the high street where it started that morning. We headed to the hostel bar, where we bought all of the beer. It was the beginning of the end of my trip, and I was determined to soak in as much fun as I possibly could.
     We hung out by a fire on the beach talking to some locals into the early hours of the morning. I went down to the water’s edge while having an impromptu Spanish lesson from a local. While looking at out at the ocean, I noticed little lights in the water. They weren’t just reflections of the brilliant stars over head. Instead, they were some kind of bioluminescent microorganism floating and reacting to each other. I pointed them out to my companion who was amazed. He had never seen anything like it before. It felt good to discover something new with a stranger in a foreign land. It was as if the creatures of the sea had looked to the stars for inspiration.

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