Hot Pink Travel
July 10th, LAX
I met a guy with an NBA Championship ring. He sat down across from me at the communal table at some rock and roll restaurant. That ring caught me eye as it was a lot of bling. I mean A LOT of BLING. I just had to ask and thus started a 30 minute conversation.
Ends up it was a ring from the year the Miami Heat won when Shaq was on the team. Wikipedia tells me that was 2006 with The Heat winning in six games over the Dallas Mavericks, becoming the third team—after the 1969 Celtics and the 1977 Trail Blazers—to win a championship after trailing 0–2 in the series. Heat guard Dwyane Wade was named series MVP.
He worked on the business side of the team and really admired Shaq thus the ring meant a lot to him. We talked about D Wade and he was happy for him getting his payday by signing with Chicago. He told me he was a numbers guy and was so shocked when the Cavs recently won the NBA title. It wasn't the outcome the numbers had picked, but that's the beauty of sport. Heart is that intangible aspect that every now and again trumps the numbers.
#peopleyoumeetatairports, #hotpinktravel #Shaq
"We are all afraid to die. It's in our DNA, but we should't be afraid to live." Arnold Donald, President, Carnival Cruise Lines.
In a nutshell, that sums up my ticket Nicaragua. This trip was about getting outside of my comfort zone, embracing the unknown and hopefully reconnecting with my 17 year old daughter.
First, the comfort zone. When I told people I was going to Nicaragua alone, the typical reaction was, "Is it safe?" Now, I don't have a death wish or anything, but a "safe" life without adventure feels like more of a death sentence to me than traveling alone to a foreign country. That said, Nicaragua is one of the safest countries for solo travel and while I could have used a bit more Spanish under my belt, everyone was extremely kind and helpful everywhere we travelled.
But sure, I had a few moments of wondering if I was crazy. I mean watch the news, they make it seem like a scary f'ing world. But staying at home in fear just makes us feel worse. It's when we get out and realize that most of the world, and the people in it, are actually really sweet, that a little spark returns.
But let's be real, for some people to embrace the unknown it helps to have a person who says, "I was there and I loved it." Which is also why I'm here. I'm walking in my client's shoes, learning about a country so that I can help them experience it for themselves with the same mucho gusto.
My 17 year old daughter was a last-minute add on. Let’s just say that high school can be though on mother-daughter relationships and I thought this might do us a little good. At the very least, the vacation exploration yoga retreats for my travel business would be exciting, right? It definitely started off on the right foot at Aqua Wellness Resort.
Aqua Wellness Resort
Tola, Rivas, Nicaragua
Aqua Wellness Resort is in Rivas about 2 hours from Managua airport. The Aqua van was there waiting for us as we walked out of the airport and after loading our luggage, the driver deftly maneuvered between horse-drawn carriages, tuk-tuks, motorcycles and bicycles to get us to our destination.
I'm always amazed at what mode of transportation other countries embrace. When we were in the Dominican Republic, it was all about the moped. We saw a entire families and chickens on mopeds. There's even a whole taxi industry there that functions with mopeds. In Nicaragua, it's horses. I've never seen so many people getting around via horses, whether it was a horse-drawn carriage or riding horseback. We saw it all. But, back to the yoga...
Aqua did not disappoint. The treehouse was amazing. It was made it of their natural hardwoods, like mahogany and looked right out onto the bay where we could watch the Pelicans circle in hopes of spying their next meal. But what really left an impression was the constant sound of the waves crashing on the beach. It lulled us to sleep every night and became almost like a second heartbeat.
Our first day was spent mainly getting the lay of the land and sitting quietly and reading on the beach. Day two, however, got a bit more active as Montana and I woke up early for morning yoga.
Aqua has a beautiful yoga platform that overlooks the bay. Mats and blocks and crisp minty water are at the ready for all to enjoy. Really, all you need to bring is your mind and body. It was a challenging class for me, as I normally do Bikram-style yoga which repeats the same 24 postures every class. (Partly why I like it is that I don't have to think so much) The morning class introduced me to a few poses that my body found a bit confusing, but I got the hang of everything soon enough.
And then we sat on the beach and simply relaxed. Oh, and I had one of the most amazing massages of my life. It was in a beautiful air conditioned room with a shower.
It was great start to a beautiful day and was followed by a lovely breakfast on the deck overlooking the ocean.
The next morning I got one of the local guides to take me up to the top of the big hill that protects Aqua from winds. My guide deftly moved over rocks and tree roots in flip flops. He taught me the Spanish word for Monkey, "mono", and turtle, "tortuga."
We only stayed two days, but absolutely loved the resort. It even had air conditioning, which was nice when the breeze decided to die down. It was a great escape from the hustle and bustle of life and an opportunity to drink the local beer (Tona) and slow down, focus on exercise and just take in the beauty. Next, we'll introduce you to Morgan's Rock Resort, near San Juan Del Sur. Stay tuned.
Let's embrace new cultures, learn new things and see where we'd like to venture next.