Being away from family during the holidays has been the hardest part of being here. But for Thanksgiving we got a real treat. The Whiting’s visited us! They were here for 10 days and we all had a great time. Isabella loved seeing her aunts and uncles.

Our first day out we went to Masaya and met up with Elder Wiscombe. Elder Wiscombe’s dad and my dad played tennis together in high school. Actually, they didn’t just play, they dominated! They are the last “boys” from Springville High to take state, that was back in ’82. Anyway… We took Elder Wiscombe and his companions (He was in a three-some) out to pizza at Papa Johns.

Along the way we picked up a hitch-hiker. Actually it was just a nail. Actually it was just some weird looking piece of sharp metal as you can see above. Luckily just about every other building in town is a tire repair shop. They took out this piece of metal and found another nail and pulled it all for $C60. Which is like $2.50. They even let us all watch.

Masaya and Granada don’t allow the little moto taxi’s because they are too slow. But they allow horse and buggy which are even slower. I don’t see the logic behind that. Maybe it’s more fun for tourists?

Welcome to Masaya Volcano. This is the same volcano we went to with Angie’s mom and sister. It wasn’t quiet as special for my family as it was for Angie’s because my family has already been up lots of volcanos while living in Guatemala a couple years ago.

One of the coolest parts of our trip was going out to Ometepe Island. This is an island in Lake Nicaragua made out of two volcanos. One is active and the other isn’t. The inactive volcano is filled with water, which is pretty cool. And the active is supposedly the most perfect cone shaped volcano in the world, which is also pretty cool!

(Just in case you’re already bored by all of these pictures let’s play a game. 2 truths and a lie… I’ve hiked to a crater. I’ve slept in a crater. I’ve swam in a crater. Which one is the lie?)

We drove about 45 minutes south towards the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica to a pretty big city called Rivas. From there we headed out to the port San Jorge to catch a ferry. The ferry ride took us about an hour and was really fun. You can see both the volcanos behind Lauren in the picture below.

 

Pretty good cone shape right? Very pretty colors too. It was so green out on the island. And speaking of green, check out these green tobacco leaves. While looking for a good beach we ran into this place. They thread the tobacco and hang it to dry. Tobacco is pretty much the main plant grown on the island. We all thought it was pretty interesting!

We’re quite prejudice but we’re pretty sure it would be hard to find a cuter face than that! Even though this was just Lake Nicaragua we had a good time at the “beach” with the black sand. Fun fact, Lake Nicaragua is the only fresh water lake with sharks. It’s full of bull sharks. Anyone want to take a swim?

What do you get when you cross a chicken and the easter bunny? I’m not sure but I think you get pink chicks…

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Had to take advantage of an evening picture from the ferry. The whole island is just over 100 sq. miles and has just under 30,000 people living on it.

Remember how I was dissing those horse and buggies in Masaya? Well we took a tour through Granada on one of those. And it was fun. Actually, only Isabella, Heather, Lauren, and Ryan took the ride while we followed in the car making our way out to Lake Nicaragua again.

Along the way we stopped at our favorite restaurant, The Hotdog Connection. After lunch we hopped on our boat ride out to “Las Isletas”. These are the same islands we visited when the Scomas came to visit. You can read more about them in our blog post about their visit.

This is Mombacho Volcano, which is the volcano that blew it’s top to create the 365 small islands. I think this is my favorite excursion we’ve done while living here. It’s peaceful, we’ve never seen many other boats out at the same time, there is always a breeze, and we get to feed monkey. All around good fun!

Ryan even gave Isabella a flower. Or was it the other way around?… Our next trip was back down south to San Juan del Sur on Thanksgiving day. We headed down there later in the day to avoid the heat and to checkout the turtle beach. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the turtles but we did miss the sun! We had a couple hours to play at “Playa el Yankee” before it got too dark. Our Mitsubishi Montero has treated us very well. It took all 9 of us up and down the windy-slippery-pot holey roads just fine. This beach was quite off the beaten path and cost us $C100 ($4) to get to but it was well worth it. Even my world traveling family thought it was a nice beach. And since they’ve been to so many private-ish beaches in their lives that’s a pretty big deal!

Thanksgiving dress from Grandma Scoma

We finished off the night at “La Pizzaria San Juan”. The most authentic italian pizza I’ve ever had… outside Italy of course. One of the better Thanksgivings I’ve had outside of the States!

So our last big trip was to our very own Apoyo Lagoon. The lagoon is only about 10 minutes away from us but there isn’t a very good road to get down to it. There is a road that goes right down to it from Diria (the city right next to Diriomo) but it is really steep and very hard to go down with a car. I know because we tried it and we got stuck… almost for good. So when we went as a family we went the long way which takes about 45 minutes. It was a beautiful day and a fun time.

The branch president’s wife comes over to our house almost every Sunday while her husband finishes up his work at the church. We’ve become really good friends with them and thought it would be nice to take a picture with everyone together. We will miss them a lot when we end up leaving. Speaking of leaving, it was hard when my family left. Especially for Bella. But we will see them soon. We still have lots to do here before we can go back. Thanks for coming guys!

(If you made it this far, thank you.  You deserve to know that I’ve done all of those “crater” things. I hiked to a crater here in Nicaragua. I slept in a crater in Tanzania. And swam in a crater in Midway Utah. I’m sorry, I’m not a liar. Except when I lie about one of my truths being a lie…) Please comment if you have better truths and a lie!