Out of nowhere we got a WhatsApp inviting us to give the public talk in a small congregation near where Raúl Barrios lives. He’s the brother who crossed into México to meet us, got us through the border, and led us all the way to our home in El Progreso. If you don’t remember him, please see “2. The Trip” and scroll a little more than halfway down. Anyway, the congregation was short on speakers, asked Brother Barrios for some help, and he gave them our contact info to see if we could come. After we accepted, we were asked if we could give another talk on the same day, so one at 9:00 and the other at 3:00. No problem; we got to work making plans. Never turn down an assignment if you can at all say ‘yes’; there just might be a reward in store for making yourself available. Turns out, in this case Jehovah was asking us to go to a beautiful beach on the Pacific coast. Needless to say, we were very glad to have said yes and decided to make a vacation of it, as due to the Thanksgiving weekend, we had no work and the children had no school. We set out on Thursday morning.
After a three-hour drive on an awful road with lots of deep baches, we arrived at the lancha. The most direct way of getting to Monterrico from where we live involves putting your vehicle on a small ferry for about a half hour in order to traverse the length of a mangrove swamp
Hmm….” picop”. Just. Plain. Adorable.
Although the ferries look pretty shady, they manage to put the big boys on no problema
The ride was very exciting to all of us, especially the children
Nice shades Bailey!
So we get to the other side of the mangrove swamp. Here’s a picture of the lancha on the other side
And here’s the taxi station
We quickly managed to get ourselves stuck in the sand. Fortunately we saw a house being constructed nearby and the workers had a 4×4 with a pull chain. Q50 got us on our way again (about $6.50)
One of the first things we did after getting into town (aside from getting stuck) was to visit the Tortugario. Here they incubate endangered sea turtle eggs, and when they hatch they allow people to release them for Q10, about $1.30.
Typically this is done at 5:30pm and there is a crowd of people and a bit of a rush. This was the crowd one night during our stay
However, Don Tito let us go out on our own at around 1:00. We had the whole beach to ourselves and had all the time we wanted. We picked ten baby turtles, hatched earlier that day. Here’s the bucket from which we were to pick.
I normally associate the appeal of an animal with its taste wrapped up inside a tortilla, but these guys are just too, too cute.
How can you say no to this little face?
They were so cute I just wanted to pop one in my mouth and eat it
OMG! Cuteness overload!!!!!!!
Natural beauty at its best
We eventually had to let the little guys go
So long, little squishy
Here’s what it looks like when it goes down
The outside of the hotel we chose looked okay, but once we got inside, we noticed something very, very troubling. Would we be able to pull through and have a good time in spite of it?
At least the restaurant at the hotel was somewhat close to the beach
Kids can spend hours on end playing in the pool
Seems like just last week that Bailey was terrified to put his head under water
Mandy caught some hammock time after the pool
That night we hired a guide to take us out on the beach after dark (8:00 – 10:00) to look for momma sea turtles laying eggs. He found one. This one laid 96 eggs that night
It was an extremely educational experience for our children. We’re so glad we chose to do this
These creatures are simply awe-inspiring.
Those of you who know Mandy well will understand how much this meant to her. I think she almost cried.
As the mother sea turtle was trying to spread sand over the eggs she had just laid, Austin ate some sand. To a father who sometimes (often) gets frustrated with his messy antics, this was tremendously funny
We got up early the next morning to go on a tour of the mangrove swamp. We had seen some during the ride over with our van, but this was a slower-paced tour and would last two hours instead of the thirty minutes for the ferry
There is but one family that lives in the swamp. They live very simply, but very happily we were told. Seems like we’ve heard advice to that effect before….
They have three children, aged 7, 6, and 1. When they saw us coming, they got in their boat and rowed out to see us
I found the little girl’s beauty very captivating, especially the color of her hair. Note the water lilies she has in her hand
They rowed up right next to us so the little girl could hand Bailey the flowers to give to Ana. We were touched by her gesture.
Please enjoy a time-lapse video of our trek through the swamp
As we ate breakfast that day after the tour, the owner set up a TV and put a game of fútbol on. Austin immediately stopped eating, turned around, and was completely glued to the set for the rest of the meal. Not sure if he was rooting for Real Madrid or Sporting, but he sure was into the game
Of course, we spent a lot of time at the beach. The sand is black due to the volcanic rock
Not sure if cool or gross
There’s something extremely rewarding about watching your children play in the sand and surf for endless hours. Maybe it’s that we didn’t have to move ourselves
‘Twas a good day at the beach, but it’s time to go back inside now
Rented three horses for a walk on the beach for Q75 (less than $10). Not really sure why they wanted Austin behind me, but Ana in front of Amanda. He was constantly almost falling off the horse when he leaned over to see what was up ahead.
At this point you may have asked yourself, ‘Weren’t they planning on giving talks or something?’ Well, yes, we did, and here’s the proof:
This is the Kingdom Hall in Monterrico. It should be obvious, but this picture was not taken on the day we gave the talk
They bring in the sound system for each meeting, and it would appear that they also bring in a television for the midweek meeting. Note the TV mount on the wall
Fifteen publishers in the congregation gives one a lot of opportunities to answer during the Watchtower Study
Kids always like meeting kids. Why do they have to grow up to be people?
For hospitality two German sisters invited us to their house. One is in her 50s and the other is in her 30s. The younger one basically lives in a treehouse on top of the older sisters house. There are tons of iguana that live in the trees surrounding their house. Can you find the two in this picture?
This is the treehouse. The sister has been living here for thirteen years. What a great example of being able to live simply in order to pioneer. She was a special pioneer until the Branch removed almost all of them. She now supports herself giving relaxing massages on the beach
This is the Kingdom Hall in Sunzón. It is completely open-air with a thatched roof, which is typical of buildings in the area
The sound system is also installed before each meeting. Note the shelf on the wall for the TV in order to show videos. Why is it that brothers in the States can’t seem to get to the meetings on time to just check the batteries in the mikes, but in other countries the brothers make time to completely set everything up each time? Sorry; my negativity will now cease
There are no elders in this congregations and just one ministerial servant. As they only have one mike, the reader is reading in this picture while the conductor sits down
The Kingdom Hall sits on a donated plot of land that belonged to a sister. On her property she has a pashta farm. We would call these loofahs. She gave two long ones (about three feet each) to Amanda. How much would that have cost at Bed, Bath, and Beyond?
Well, Monday morning came and it was time to head back out. We couldn’t resist the urge to play with some baby sea turtles just one more time
Seriously, who could say no to this face? (The turtle’s, not mine)
So long, Monterrico!
Monterrico is a very beautiful place
Last picture of baby sea turtles, we promise
Back to the lancha to cross the swamp one more time. This is the view from the other side.
Talks done. Had fun in Monterrico. Life is good