Saturday, May 18, 2013

A visit from a friend and Visa renewal in Costa Rica

The morning after the Zone Visit we were of to Managua to wait for the arrival of our good friend Chizu Wasa. After traveling 48 hours to get here we were thrilled to see her walk through the secure area at the Managua airport. Chizu had timed her visit so that she could accompany us on our visa renewal to Costa Rica. Since her arrival was at noon our first stop was for some food and then we headed for a night in Granada. We spent the night at our favorite spot in Granada - Casa Silas. The rooms are a good size, have air conditioning and there is also a small plunge pool for cooling off. We were able to give Chizu a quick tour of the downtown area before we introduced her to some typical Nicaraguan food. Since she had been traveling so long and we had a bus to catch in the morning we made an early night of it.

Pat and Chizu at the Nicaragua border
The next morning we boarded the Tica Bus to Costa Rica. The line through Immigration wasn't very long and before we knew it we were in Liberia looking for our transportation to the Riu Guanacaste. This was our first time staying in an all-inclusive - and boy did we enjoy ourselves! After a year of living in Nicaragua with very few luxuries it was so nice to feel "pampered". Everywhere was nice and clean and the property was beautifully landscaped. We could eat or drink anything we wanted at almost anytime. The food choices were almost overwhelming and it was nice to have an alcoholic beverage without wondering what the neighbours will say (in Pearl Lagoon the drinking of alcohol is looked down upon by some of the churches). We took the Eco-Tour that was offered by the hotel and were thrilled to find a large troupe of Howler monkeys - some of the females had some very small babies with them. We enjoyed eating at two of the specialty restaurants - especially the Steakhouse which had a beautiful view of the ocean.

Decorations at one of the buffet tables
Of course, all good things must come to an end and before we knew it we were  back in Nicaragua looking forward to showing Chizu Pearl Lagoon. We had a small hiccup when we went to the Ivan Montenegro bus station to purchase our tickets for El Rama - the bus was sold out! We ended up staying two nights in Managua so that we could drive to Pearl Lagoon with Chad and Paula Pampu - the special pioneer couple that have been assigned to Pearl Lagoon (fellow Canadians from Alberta). It was good to be home and back in our own beds.

The weather has been particularly hot lately so service has been a challenge. For Chizu though, it was a thrill to be able to user her bible so freely in the ministry. She was amazed that people already knew so much about the bible and were willing to talk about it. Service here has convinced her that she needs to come back to visit next year. It was thrilling to see Nicaragua through her eyes - so foreign to her (she kept saying - that would never happen in Japan).

Chizu, Debbie, Camille, Annette and Honorio
After a two week visit it was time to take Chizu back to the airport. Since we came in by road it was decided that we would exit by boat. Early Sunday morning we took the 6:30 panga to Bluefields where we made a connecting panga to El Rama. We finally arrived in Managua at 5:30 pm - a long day but another "adventure" for Chizu - I guess it's all becoming familiar to us now. Chizu's flight was at noon on the 13th so we were able to enjoy a few more relaxing hours with her before she had to start the long journey home.

For us - we too had a long journey ahead of us. We spent Monday at Las GalerĂ­as Mall and caught the 9 pm bus to El Rama. The next morning we took the pangas back home to Pearl Lagoon rather than waiting until 4 pm for the bus to Pearl Lagoon. Our two week vacation with Chizu was wonderful - now back to work!

Here are a few more pictures from the week:

Howler monkey - Costa Rica

Chizu and Pancho

Chizu enjoying some coconut juice after a hot morning in service

The group after lunch with the Blake family

A well appreciated gift - Thanks Chizu!

Saying goodbye to Pearl Lagoon