A few pages from Leonardo Da Vinci's notebooks make a rare trip outside Italy, to Birmingham, AL, of all places. But the Birmingham Museum of Art is home to far more alarming works of art, works which depict the eventual, inevitable, bunny takeover, after which all the elements of our reality will be replaced by bunnies. Seriously. You heard it here first.
Pigeon Forge is Myrtle Beach in the mountains. Redneck weddings cascade straight out of the chapel and into the mini golf reception area. Pigeon Forge is everything that's wrong with America. But we aren't here for Pigeon Forge, it just happens to have a free condo we're staying in. We're here for the mountains. Smoky Mountain National Park is just a few miles up the road.
Two weekends ago we went up to the mountains, just outside of Dahlonega GA, and floated the Chestatee River using inner tubes, various pool toys and one super-cool inflatable seahorse. Unfortunately, proving one of my travel mottos -- you can never go back -- a return trip proved disastrous.
A short thought on the eve of our departure from Nicaragua: Everywhere I go I think, I should live here... I should be able to not just visit places, but in habit them. Of course that isn't possible, which is too bad.
The church bells of León have become a constant cacophony, not the rhythmic ringing out of the hours or tolling from Mass that the human mind seems to find pleasant, but the atonal banging that only appeals to the young and dumb. But Francisco is entirely unperturbed; He's too fascinated with the tattoo on Corrinne's shoulder to bother with what slowly just becomes yet another sound echoing through León.
The first time we came to Little Corn Island it was April, the tail end of the dry season. It rained once or twice, but never for more than five minutes and always followed by more sunshine. This time it's the end of June, just well into the wet season, and the island is an entirely different place.
Generally speaking, the world seems so huge and so full of amazing destinations that repeating one never struck me as a judicious use of my short allotment of time. But for Little Corn Island I'm willing to make an exception and of course, the universe being what it is, our second trip to Little Corn Island has been unpredictable and entirely new.
Why all the vitriol about a seemingly innocuous concept -- that traveling doesn't have to cost a lot of money, isn't all that difficult and hey, you can even go right now? People like us, who feel tied down by responsibility, find the suggestion that we actually aren't tied down patronizing and yes, elitist.
We arrived on Little Corn Island around sundown and met Ali, whom I at first took to be a tout, but he showed us the way to our guesthouse and, after settling in and getting a feel for the island, I realized that Ali, wasn't a tout, he was just a really nice guy who enjoyed doing favors for tourists, just beware the Yoni beverage he offers.
Southwestern Nicaragua is a very small strip of land with Lago Nicaragua to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The main town in the area, Juan Del Sur, is nestled around a well protected harbor with a mediocre strip of sand. For the nice beaches you have to head up or down the coast to one of the many small inlets.