Monday, January 30, 2017


Ma Petite

"What will happen to Ma Petite and Le Puff when we leave? What will happen to me?" Those are the questions I found myself asking at Villas de Palermo this January. We always make friends with the locals when we travel. And by locals, I mean the local critters. 

At Flor de Sarta in Leon, Nicaragua, we met Bruno. Bruno would race, claws clicking, ears flapping, up to our balcony at night and lie down at our feet. He was simply devoted to me after I accidentally dropped a pat of butter on the floor. Bruno the dog. Of course, there was also Coq a Vin and Barbecue. The French owners of Flor de Sarta were unhappy with the taste of the local chicken. (I, on the other hand, think chicken in Central America is far superior to America's bland, tough and antibiotic riddled jail birds) So they decided to butcher their own. Instead, they fell in love with them. Now, Coq a Vin and Barbecue roam the courtyard, picking and pecking, along with a flock of pigeons and doves. 

Le Puff. A.K.A Puffy.

So when we met our new orange vacation pets, shown above, I gave them french names. In honor of our stay in Colonial, vibrant, gritty Leon. But of course, it had more to do with the french owners of Flor de Sarta. Mais oui. 

We also called them Little Orange and Puffy Orange. Eventually, it became puffy and petite. When the mood struck.  As you can see, they made themselves right at home. After we fed them, they were ours. They never left. Whenever we came home, their two little faces were staring back at us from outside our patio door. When we woke up, they were waiting for breakfast. After they ate, they made themselves right at home inside. Who ever stays there next will have two cats whether they want them or not. At one point, puffy brought in a dead dove and hid it under the sofa. But hunting wasn't puff's only joy, he also loved to curl up by my side while I was clacking the keys.

The ladies that cleaned the casa and the dude that walked by every morning watering, would point and say, "Gato." What ya gonna do? 

The first time we went to the restaurant at Villas de Palermo, we found an orange kitten mewling at our feet. Good grief! Our hearts can't take anymore!!! Orange is a theme at Villas de Palermo. There were orange cats here the first time we stayed three years ago, and they'll be orange cats long after we leave. 

I still think fondly of Caracol. Our beach companion in Panama last year. Caracol the dog. He followed us everywhere.


"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." 

-Winnie the Pooh

Friday, January 20, 2017

Two Tears in a Bucket

Akua in a bucket.

We're planning a trip to Savannah next Summer,  and being an aspiring writer, the first thing I did was pick up a copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I'd never read it. Even so, I knew it would be the perfect literary guide to the city - and a great beach side page turner to bring along on our travels to Nicaragua this winter. I wasn't disappointed! Needless to say I'm sick of Flor de Cana rum. (not really) It's Nicaragua's holy water and I can't get enough. Nevertheless, I can't wait to sip a martini in Savannah while sitting on the bench and grave marker of the poet Conrad Aiken. Meanwhile, I'll watch a few ships pass by - their destinations mysteriously unknown. I won't mind making a toast to him and his ill fated parents, but I draw the line at giving his parents a suspicion. Anyone fool hardy enough to commit murder, then suicide, doesn't deserve a sip of my tasty beverage. 

The real life characters in the book were humorous and enchanting. Especially the drag queen nicknamed the Grand Empress of Savannah. She had a motto that I found irresistible. I told my husband about it and now it has entered into our language lexicon. Especially while on vacation in Nicaragua - life is slower there. Sometimes, the gringo faces certain challenges. First world problems to be exact. It's good to have a phrase to spout when times are tough - like when happy hour isn't observed as it should be. Or, when the breakfast that is supposed to start at 7, suddenly and unpredictably, starts at 8. Can you imagine? The worst thing possible happened on a Monday. We were on a gelato streak. We got dreamy, creamy gelato - the best in the world - every darn day...until Monday rolled around. Ever have a case of the Mondays? Well, I did. They were closed!  AAARRRGGGHHH!!! But I need my medium sized, half chocolate, half passion-fruit gelato. Finally, after much frumping and grumping, I decided that it wasn't the end of the world to wait for a pina colada later that day. For heaven's sake. Of course, times really are tough for most of the country. Many people still travel by horse; most people need to collect wood just to cook or heat water. Chicken dinner...where's the ax? Need milk? Hitch up old yellow. 

When the going gets rough, just think of Chablis. Drinking wine is a well known cure for the Mondays, but I mean the drag queen from Midnight in the garden of Good and Evil...

"Mama's different though. She has a big ol' photograph of me bein' crowned Miss World, and it's hangin' in her living room. She taught me not to worry about things that don't matter. She has a motto that I love: 'Two tears in a bucket. Motherfuck it.' That's  Mamma. She's a okay girl." 

The lady Chablis and John Berendt from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Words to live by!