Mission Complete

The Mission:

May 29

American Airlines flight AA986 at 7:20 am - 11:44 am from Managua to Miami.

Collect baggage... at carousel 4... and clear American customs... line 4.

Find a cab that will take me to a post office in Miami to ship a large Nicaraguan purchase to Washington. Turn around when I see the meter go beyond the value of said purchase and realize it's saturday.

Find a suitable bar for a 5 hr layover.

Re-check bags and clear Miami security.

American Airlines flight AA56 at 5:00 pm - 6:35 am from Miami to London.

May 30

Collect baggage... carousel 4... and clear English customs* (see full story below).

Take a train to international departure terminal 4.

Find a suitable breakfast cafe for a 5 1/2 hr layover.

Check into Malaysia Airlines, re-check bags and clear Heathrow security.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH003 at 12:00 noon - 7:25 am from London to Kuala Lumpur.

May 31

Find the nearest train to take to collect baggage, clear Malaysian customs... line 44, which included but was not limited to my first ever thermal body scan (for fever and any signs of H1Mwhatever), and panic slightly when I realize how much there is to do in a 3 hr layover.

Malaysian's International Arrival Airport is completely separate from Malaysia's International Departure Airport. This was a first. Fuck the bus. Buy a ticket for an airport limo to take me to said airport, which turned out to be a half hour drive away in a Malaysian style racing limo. I am definitely back in Asia.

Get out and smell clove cigarettes in the air. Realize I'm getting really close now.

Check into Air Asia, re-check bags and clear Malaysian security.

Air Asia flight AK362 at 10:55 am - 1:55 pm from Kuala Lumpur to Denpasar.

Collect bags.

Clear Indonesian customs.

See Steffan waving and smiling.

Smile big back.

Re-adjust to Balinese driving style (this mostly means forgetting that those white lines actually mean anything.)

Get to Ubud.

Call Christoph.

Big dinner with everyone.

Go to the Alex Grey charity show.


Must find sleep.

Fall asleep to the sound of frogs in the rice terraces.

Wake to the sound of roosters and exotic birds.

I'm in Bali.



*Heathrow airport shattered for me, once again on this trip, that age old American girls' quixotic conjecture that men bearing an english accent are, assuredly, gentlemen.

Heathrow is now officially the first airport that has pulled me into a room for a full body search. It wasn't the fact that they did the search that swayed my full vote on this issue... it was the manner in which they did it.

The man that plucked me out of line was very pleasant about the entire procedure. Too pleasant.

While I was putting away my things he strutted up, looked me up and down with my sweater still off, smiled broadly and asked, "would you like to please come with me mum for a body search after you've packed your items?"

I said it hardly seemed it was a question of liking. He laughed and concurred. I picked up my bags and started walking with him. He asked if I had come far. I commented on how many hours I'd flown and how many there still were to go.

He said it shouldn't bother me, I looked gorgeous and none the worse for the ware. He then asked, "could I hold anything for you? Could even hold you if you like, throw you over me shoulder even and take you the rest of the way."

I declined his offer and was taken into a small room that, despite my having nothing to hide, still made my heart pound like I did.

After I passed the screening, I was escorted back out and my accompany commented that he hoped to see me again and would look for me on my way back through.

Note to self: Don't go out in England. It seems it'll be far too much of a hassle.


Jiquilillo, Nicaragua... Extended Edition

12° 44' 0" North, 87° 26' 0" West

Well to make a long story short, I'm very glad I stayed another week in Jiquilillo.

The Set:

The house.

The front yard.

The Cast of Characters:

(Pics removed by request.)



Jameson's temporary replacement.

These three characters were fairly prevalent for my first week in Jiquilillo. We were all supposed to go to the UK together on the 22nd, but due to some difficulties on the set, I decided to stay on by myself for another week and let them go.


Although my original travel companions left, I was hardly alone for the next chapter.

My most constant companions:

Danny Jose. 13 yr old guard / spanish tutor extraordinaire.
A very smart kid with a heart of gold. Danny spoke a tiny bit of english, so every night we swapped lessons with each other.

Jeferson Oniel. 10 yr old patrolman / portrait artist.
Jeferson didn't speak any english, so we communicated mostly through body language until I figured out that he's a really talented artist. We started drawing a lot of pictures for each other.

Dionel. 17 yr old bodyguard / card player.
Dionel was the fiercest of the boys, but still had a pretty big soft side. We spent a lot of time playing card games late into his night watch duties.

Although our language barriers came up a lot, by the end of the week we all understood each other pretty well. When my car was leaving this morning I had to actually fight back some tears. Especially when I was trying to explain to Danny what "I'll miss you" means.

Momma and Mutley. The ferocious house guard dogs.

This girl and I had an adventure together that I will never forget...
If you asked me before I went on this trip if I would ever ride two and a half hours alone, after dark, during a torrential down poor, through the pitch black, unmarked, foreign streets of an extremely impoverished fishing town, in a country where I hardly knew the language, to a beach lit only by vicious lightning striking the incoming tide's waves that I had to race home on a horse that was afraid of water before the beach was totally gone... would I do it? I probably, definitely would have said no.

I blame these two.
William and Xavier. The two french chefs. They had tempted me earlier in the day by inviting me up to their place, which by car takes about 45 minutes to get to on the dirt roads. On the phone I misunderstood exactly how long it would take by horse and beach, then through a fishing village and up the hill on a route I had never taken. Lost in translation (common theme of the trip.) The assumed 30 minute trek was actually two hours at a fast pace (I was really determined to get there and since all the locals kept agreeing I was going the right direction I knew I wasn't lost... just not there yet.)
By the time I finally made it up their driveway I found William and Xavier in their newly opened pool. They were literally having the very first swim and asked if I would like to join them and some margaritas in said pool. After two hours of riding in the sun it sure seemed like a good idea. Such a good idea in fact, that I didn't even really notice the sun starting to set before the incoming clouds.
When they invited me to stay the night I said that would probably be best, mostly because I didn't bring a saddle on the way up because of the ride's imagined distance and Becky's backbone wasn't exactly comfortable anymore. I called my place to tell the boys I wouldn't be home that night and Danny handed the phone over. I had guests at my house. Lots of them. I had completely forgotten that a couple had intended on making me dinner that night. Two canadians, three americans, and four locals were drinking on my porch and making dinner. When would I be home? Blar.
Xavier reluctantly lent me his saddle and off I went into the night. As soon as I took that first left from their driveway and started down the hill into the village it started to rain. I immediately figured out that the headlamp wasn't a good idea. (Thanks anyways T.) None of the locals riding around had one. It wasn't long after that that the monsoon, thunder and lightning started.
The image that sticks out most to me now are all of the dimly lit huts on the side of the road, all full of people and dogs watching me slip past in the darkness... some yelling out and barking... some not. All wondering why on earth I was riding at that hour... most asking questions that involved vocabulary Danny and I hadn't quite covered in our short time together.
Despite my intimidation, I felt committed. After resolving to not turn around I did some deep breathing exercises and reminded myself that the world is a good place.
I felt resolute peace despite my environment. I'm really glad we did it.

Anyways... sorry that was a big side note... back to the cast:

Bodhi. SoHum big surf bro-bra. He owns the house we rented and knows just about everybody I know in NorCal. It was really nice to have somebody that understood my situation and so graciously extend an offer to stay longer. Thanks Bodhi.

Mini Bodhi... who I only met briefly.

The boat.

The rods.

The boards.

The locals...
Who learn very quickly might I add...

They thought I was crazy at first. Ha.

The Plotline:

If something's broke... get creative.

(Yes that's a Pam spray oil can extending that exhaust pipe that just fell off our truck. No worries, a nylon belt did the trick for the rest of the way.)

(Yes that's a bungee chord we used to fix the door that suddenly stopped closing. Could've had something to do with the door handle that was now a shoestring tied to a bent coat-hanger.)

The Main Point:

Over and Out.


Jiquilillo, Nicaragua

This sketch explains everything best.

My travel plans have shifted slightly... I was supposed to be on an airplane right now going to the UK. I've decided to stay in Nicaragua on my own instead. On May 29th I will commence a three day journey in and out of airports "straight" to Bali, Indonesia. (Managua, to Miami, to London, to Kuala Lumpur, to Denpasar.)

I'm staying in a small fishing village in northern Nicaragua on the west coast...

A few quick notes of interest on where I'm at:

1. This has been a seldom visited region because it is was the grounds of the revolution about twenty years ago.

2. There is still no law here... but that doesn't mean people aren't punished for crimes. Quite the opposite in fact... lawless areas tend to lead to harsher punishment. If you want to hear some interesting stories when I get back, ask me about this one later.

3. Not to worry, because I have teenage boys armed and supposedly quite skilled with machetes (that are also my incredibly sweet spanish teachers now) guarding my house day and night for two dollars a day. The older one also walks with me if I need to leave the house for any reason after dark.

4. They have the highest paying job in town by far.

5. The house also came with three guard dogs that I may try to smuggle home.

6. A horse is being delivered tomorrow that will be mine for the week and tied to a tree out front for easy access thanks to Bodhi, my new hero.

7. Surf's up. WAY too up. I can't hang, but luckily my new hero has managed to get a tow rope here and I've managed to surf with a line behind a village fishing boat. Getting on the boat again tuesday with the two French chefs that I have grown to genuinely adore over the last three days. (I think they may have gotten it wrong when they said food is the way to a man's heart.) Even though they are about forty five minutes away on dirt roads by car, I've gone to eat at their place for the last three days in a row. Magnificent food and great company was had by all... and will probably be had again.

I'm going to write more and explain myself soon... but not today because it's partly cloudy and if a cloud passes over here this place will loose power and their satellite functions... which looks like it may happen soon. It's also a bit of a hike to this place, and I'm really burnt out on email journeys, so I may not return here until the end of the week.

Since I have three days in airports after that, I may just wait until then! Sure to be a bit better as far as the connection goes.

Love to you all.


Granada, Nicaragua

Becky - Remember that shot from Seattle before our last trip? Hmmmmmmmmm... this time it happened from a horse carriage.

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