Hinkens checking in again

Hello All,

I am sure that as my experiences become less new, I will be updating less, BUT, if you are tiring of my updates, please notify me. Also, I apologize if I do not respond, the list of people who are interested in my travels is near 80…wow, i feel loved! The point is, I cannot really respond. I do value your hellos and such though!

With that being said, I have a new adventure to share… (please see the attached pictures!)

This past weekend, I took a short trip to the Pacific Ocean. It did take us three hours to get there, but thats because we took back roads into the jungle and then explored to find a secluded beach. We were on roads passing places that you only see in movies… the poverty that exists here, makes the poorest of americans, literally, look like millionaires. Only the homeless compare. The people we saw lived in sheds or in what appeared to be open sheds made of logs and tin. The picture I attached is one of the nicest ones I saw. All were dirt floored, many were 2 or 3 walled only, and most had farm animals in them as well. They reminded me of the shelters over feeders in livestock fields…The contrast between them and us, both Americans and Nicas in SUV’s, was stark and disturbing. The one thing that amazed me though, was that they all seemed to be smiling. And generally, enjoying whatever they had. I think I will learn something from that and hopefully be able to share with some of the people I meet here.

We did finally make it to the beach. Most of the trip through the jungle should have been in a advertisement for SUV’s or something. We really used those things! When we finally turned the right way and the jungle opened up to reveal the beach, I was speechless. This beach was of the photos you see in travel books. No people, no structures, no ANYTHING. We were in the thick volcanic black sands of the west coast of Nicaragua. The ocean was wide and warm, the sand was hot and soft, and the atmosphere was peaceful and overwhelming at the same time.

The day and a half I spent there, and the night on the edge of the jungle, was the most peaceful and intense time of my life so far. I must have sat and stared at the ocean for 6 hours and walked a few miles both ways while barefoot. Around every bend I expected to see something, a house, or a road, but never…we were really out there. Finally, we did see people. Local villagers who directed us to the sea turtles. The sea turtles whom happen to be struggling to lay their eggs. The saddest part of this whole tale is that, as the sea turtles, endangered and protected, struggled to find the ocean again after laying their eggs, the villagers dug them up and absconded with them. Bags full of 50-100 eggs passed by us that day. Yet, what can you do…those eggs fetch a good price at a delicacy market…a good price that can feed that father and his three children whom we met. Such a tricky situation…

Finally, though we returned safely the next day via a beach drive and some rock traversing, we did have a hang up as the sun was setting. The men who drove us there, while exploring, got the jeep stuck near the water in the thick sand. We raced the tide to get it out as the waves literally crashed over the hood of the car. After some hours of labor and barely beating the tide, the car was loosed and we were back to camp for grilled steak and chorizo.

I hope you can someday enjoy an eye opening experience like this. Though I have only been here three weeks, my entire world has been rocked. I will return a different person…

I hope you are all well, Mike Hinkens

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