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On the Rooftop Terrace, Life Is Beautiful

October 29th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Or at least my every experience up there seems to suggest as much.

It was in back in Cusco that I first began to take advantage of something that I’m, well, kinda surprised that I hadn’t taken advantage of before: a first rate, live-in private yoga instructor.  I’ve always known that I liked Tracy’s style of yoga instruction (my attendance of her class constitutes the first five months of our knowing one another, after all), but for some reason I never thought to request private lessons in earnest since those early days.

In our chilly living room in Cusco my occasional yoga class was nice, but in the ambiance of the setting sun amid blazing orange cloud formations, just above the tree line and with gentle summery breezes, my private instruction on the Vista Mochambo rooftop seemed down right decadent, the perfect way to unwind after a hard day at the (cafe) office.  Tracy even saw to bringing up yoga tunes by way of her well placed Mac book, and indulged my desire to weave in Push-upTober activity just before sitting stretches and shavasana1.

The rooftop terrace was also my preferred place to write this month.  With great regularity in this apartment I wake with the light of dawn at around 5:30am.  This is no time to futz around in our partitioned studio apartment, for Tracy still sleeps like a normal person with normal person hours.  So what works beautifully is to grab a banana and a sweet roll, tote my laptop up the spiral staircase, and sit back in one of those folding chairs that features a hammock-like weave for the seat and back.  Palm trees and glowing grey skies that soon enough give way to brilliant sunlight make inspired companions for hammering out prose.

One morning Tracy came to join me brandishing coffee and breakfast, including potatoes and chorizo cooked just right2.  Another morning she came with news of our being accepted to house sit Mustard over the holidays.

Mustard is the dog of a lovely couple in Sydney, a pair who would be spending two and a half weeks out of the country and in need of someone to take care of their house and beloved dog while away.  We’d been looking into house sitting gigs a bit this month, and were recently a little bummed to have missed out on a great-sounding one in Perth.  (We’d made the finalist circle culminating with an interview over Skype, but ultimately weren’t picked, possibly because they had a pool and I’d never really taken care of one before.)  So after that minor disappointment, news that we were in fact sorted for an Australian house sitting job for the holidays was most welcome.

So the rooftop terrace was a very happy place indeed.  The only downside, as is often the cliche with this sort of ode, is having to say goodbye to it.  Yesterday was our last full day in Granada, and we made it count starting by taking our landlord out to breakfast at Kathy’s Waffle House.

Glenn again regaled us with tales, this time including a more detailed telling of how three for three wives of an unsavory real estate agent in town all happened to meet with tragic death, the third of which was Kathy of the waffle house namesake (parenting tip that probably generalizes pretty well: even if he would probably be a good provider, don’t marry off your 19 year old daughter to a 70-year-old who has had two similarly young wives die untimely deaths).

On our walk back I asked Glenn if he might show me the ropes for pool maintenance, figuring that ability might come up again in our now-burgeoning house sitting career.  Four delightful hours later I had a wealth of knowledge and hands on experience about cleaning, filtering, and chemical balancing a pool.  There was even time for lessons on plumbing and sewage systems, water pressure equalization, fail-safe water storage and dispersal mechanisms, and a few Tona’s.  Glenn played the sensai to my grasshopper beautifully, explaining things and quizzing me as we went.

My training in pool maintenance (and then some) was even more fun than when he had Tracy and I over for a barbeque the week before and his oven exploded3, and it makes me happy to call him my Nicaragua Pappy.

Our last meal in town was at El Camello, a restaurant by a Canadian fellow serving Middle Eastern cuisine.  It turns out by this time that even though Nicaraguan food was pretty agreeable, we were by this time quite saturated on gallo pinto (the national dish of red beans and rice mixed together) and its usual accompaniments: tortillas, plantains, and chicken.  A good meal from an entirely distinct culinary vocabulary had us leave Granada on a pleasant note, and reminded us it was time to mix things up once again.

This morning we awoke at 3am, and our timely chariot arrived at 3:30 ready to take us the hour’s drive into Managua for our 5am bus on to El Salvador by way of Honduras.  Technically we’ve visited two new countries today, but our drive by passport stamping for Honduras doesn’t count for any traveler street cred.

Tomorrow we aim to earn some here, during our (slightly) less fleeting visit through El Salvador.


  1. “Push-upTober was my answer to Tracy’s now 3rd annual “Omtober”, an October month in which Tracy does an hour of yoga practice every day.  Push-upTober, then, was my daily discipline of doing, well, a bunch of push-ups.  I started at 15 push-ups a day (single set), and wanted to work up to 45.  You can see how I did as tracked by my spiffy coaching software in the graph just above.
  2. No trivial matter for a vegetarian–let it be said that when you’re as strongly carnitarian as I am, there still needn’t be any sacrifice in being wed to a vegetarian.
  3. The pilot light went out and Glenn carelessly turned it back on without venting the accumulated gas.  I had my head in the fridge at the time, grabbing some beers.  Singed hairs on the back of my legs is my only souvenir, and Glenn was similarly mostly unscathed.  A good start from a loud boom was our main takeaway.
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