May 21, 2008
Butler assistant coach Becky Olson documents the Bulldog volleyball team's 11th day in Nicaragua.
As our days in Nicaragua come to a close, we seem to look back on each day and the amazing experiences we have had and ask ourselves, "How can we top that?" Today was no different, except for the fact that for me it topped all days so far. Today was full of both adventure and cultural experiences.
We met outside the hotel at 7:00 a.m. to walk to the local food market, that is somewhat hidden to the regular tourist, for a traditional "Nica" breakfast. This market is a usual hotspot for the locals, and it was quite an experience getting to integrate into their culture.
After breakfast we returned to our hotel to get picked up by Da Flying Frog Canopy Tour for our zip-line adventure. We loaded up on the back of the truck "Nica style" for our trip up into the hills above San Juan del Sur. After getting outfitted with the proper safety gear we started our journey on 17 different platforms across the hills of San Juan del Sur. It was an amazing experience getting to fly from tree to tree above the beautiful countryside with incredible views of the Pacific Ocean. There were a couple of cables that were up to 400 meters long!!!
After getting back on to solid ground, we loaded back into the trucks, with all of our guides and their families to enjoy an afternoon at the beach. The beach we went to was a private beach owned by the Mayor of San Juan del Sur, and it stretched for five kilometers. It was a completely untouched, pristine, white sand beach! One of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
As soon as we got off the truck we all headed straight for the water. We were enjoying playing in the refreshing waves when we noticed that Jo, our amazing tour guide, had arranged for about 15 of the kids from our camp to come out to the beach with their families as well. I can't tell you how excited our girls were to see the kids again, and the smiles on the kids' faces said it all. They ran up to the girls and were giving them hugs and kisses. We spent hours in the water playing with the kids! I think Brittany had about four kids hanging on here at all times. She was in heaven!!!
Jessie, Gurk, Chloe, Peek and I all decided that we were going to give surfing a shot. Let me tell you, it really is harder than it looks. I have to say that we were all pretty surprised though that we all managed to get up on the board and ride a few waves.
The best part of the surfing though was when we taught a couple of the kids to surf. They were so excited when they got up that they were pumping their fists and turning around to give us a thumbs-up. So cute. My favorite was Greybis, he stood on his board and started blowing kisses to everyone on the beach like the whole world was watching him. He made my heart melt!
At 1:00 p.m. we enjoyed a traditional Nica lunch that was cooked by one of the families that lived out at the beach taking care of the property. Getting to go in her kitchen and help out with the food was one of the best cultural experiences of my life. Everything was cooked on a wood-burning stove in a two-room hut with a dirt floor. There was no running water so she had different buckets of water that were used to wash the stove, wash your hands, rinse the food and so on. Nothing was ever wasted.
After lunch, we enjoyed a few more hours with the kids, playing in the waves before we had to say goodbye. It was definitely hard to see them go. I think we all have a spot in our hearts for those kids!!
At 4:00 p.m. we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our last big night in San Juan del Sur. Each place we go it just gets harder and harder to leave!!
The Nica people and culture are truly amazing and something that everyone should experience!