There are many things to worry about back in the states, like hurricanes, blizzards, and tornadoes. But here there is another natural disaster waiting to happen…volcanoes. They call this the land of lakes (not the butter kind) and volcanoes. We went to see one today. When we got there they said it was closed because of the fires and was too dangerous, because it sometimes hurls small rocks (sort of like hurling cookies, but real far). Turns out the fires were from some careless people who started the fires from smoking. They need to have smokey the bear come down here and give some talks, if he speaks Spanish; I am really surprised they could teach that bear how to speak English anyway, so he must be really smart. But we did get to drive up to the crater and look down, but it was real smokey and stinky, so we could not see all the way down. They call it “la boca inferno” which means the mouth of hell, but even though we are Christian, we thought it would be ok to go anyway. It was interesting. There were some ladies selling fruits and things, so we got fresh coconuts, and they whacked off the tops with a machete, and put a straw in it and we drank fresh coconut milk. It looks really good in those Hawaiian commercials with a garland around your neck and girls dancing around, but in truth I did not like it very much. I guess my Irish genes don’t have many taste buds for some of this tropical stuff, like coconut milk, hot weather, and mouthy roosters. But I still like it here.

We then went shopping at the bazaar, or market, in Masaya. We got some good things for the family back home, but I can’t tell you what because it is a surprise. However, I learned my lesson after my experience in Mongolia last year, and I did not buy anything tricky, which is anything for a girl that has a size. No, no, no, just don’t do it. Get jewelry, cute pictures drawn on leather, trinkets, boston bruins stuff, or anything neutral like that. Nancy will like what I got her, and if she doesn’t, she is always gracious enough to pretend like she does. She is a good wife and mother, and Cait and Em and I really miss her. Hope you are feeling better honey.

After that we did something really really fun, we went zip lining. Through the forests of Nicaragua at like 100 mph, well that’s what it felt like anyway. We all went and zipped and spun and went upside down and pretended to be superman and Spider-Man and cool things like that. It was great. After that we went to an outdoor park in the city and sat in these really tall chairs and drank fruit juice smoothies, and then we went out to eat at an authentic Nicaraguan restaurant (as opposed to a fake one) and stuffed ourselves on beef and chicken and plantains and cheese and rice and beans, and after that we came back and played volleyball in the pool, but we almost had to call the game because the Smithers boys from Texas were getting a little rowdy, but the Oklahoma girls were able to calm them down a little and we finished the game without any major fights, although they were doing some wrestling after the game because they all could not win. Now in case you had not figured it out, today was an off day, but tomorrow we will be back to work, so don’t think we are slacking. We are just recharging, like our cordless surgery clippers, so we will be sharp and focused tomorrow.

The other thing I like here is the driving. When you see things like red lights and double lines and stop signs, they are “suggestions”, which of course means you can act like a Massachusettes driver and ignore them. And you can ride in the back of a pickup like a hunting dog. It feels like the Wild West. I have not learned much Spanish, but I can now say hello, shut up, and good bye.

Adios amigos from Catarina
Dr Miguel