Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hollywood's Walk of Fame

I am not an experienced LA person, even though it is so close.  Nancy took me to Hollywood for my first Walk of Fame experience.  I didn't realize that the only place there a select few's imprints and signatures is right in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater.  

Look at how little Marilyn Monroe's feet are!

I am not the biggest fan of celebrities but when I saw Julie Andrew's signature I got very excited.  
She is amazing!

The El Capitan theater is directly across the street.  It was opened in 1926 but ever since Disney got a hold of it they premiere Disney movies, among other things.  The outside is incredible.  

My goal is to not be a stranger to LA, especially since I have a personal tour guide.  Thanks Nancy!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mariachi USA!

My cousin Nancy, Aunt Norma, Uncle Chris and I went to see Hollywood Bowl's 23rd Annual Mariachi USA Festival .  I had never been to the Bowl before.  It is a fun theater.  If you get a box like us, before the show starts they set up tables and you can picnic while waiting.

The costumes are incredible.  
Lime green shoes?!  So cool.  

It wouldn't be complete without a large breasted hostess interviewing chihuahuas about their new film.  

Four and a half hours of mariachi goodness! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

4 Weeks in Nicaragua and Costa Rica

This is my first trip traveling by myself since Guatemala. I am paying a bit more money on lodging, avoiding dorm-style hostels wherever I can because I don't feel comfortable as an old lady in a mixed dorm rooms anymore! Also, there are a few places where I am paying way more than I would prefer because of the location and lodging reviews.

Here is my Central America itinerary.

July 3rd:
Location: LAX to MGA (Managua, Nicaragua)

July 4th- 11th: 
Location: San Juan de la Concepion, Nicaragua
Lodging: Homestay, arranged by La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco-Hotel.
Cost: 225$/ week (meals and Spanish classes included)
Activities: Volunteer on an organic farm, take Spanish classes, teach English classes, visit local villages (miss my Dad's birthday on the 10th)

July 11th-13th:
Location: Granada, Nicaragua 
Lodging: Hostal El Momento.
Cost: 12$ (room with a private bathroom and kitchen available for use)
Activities: Mombacho volcano, Masaya volcano, colonial churches

July 13th- 15th:
Location: Isla Ometepe (in Moyogalpa), Nicaragua 
Lodging: Hospedaje Soma.
Cost: 22$/ night (room with a shared bathroom and breakfast)
Activities: Hike volcanoes, visit a coffee farm, wildlife, waterfalls

July 15th- 17th: 
Location: Leon, Nicaragua 
Lodging: Hostel Sonati.
Cost: 15$/ night (room with a private bathroom and a kitchen available for use)
Activities: Colonial churches, museums 
RETROSPECT: Skip Leon unless you want to do volcano tours, and don't stay with Sonati.

July 17th-19th: 
Location: San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua 
Lodging: Yajure Surf Hostel.
Cost: 10$/ night (dorm room with shared bathroom and breakfast)
Activities: Beach, Sea Turtles

July 19th: 
Location: Rivas, Nicaragua (last large town on the way to Costa Rica)
Lodging: Hotel Dalinky.
Cost: 25$/ night (room with private bathroom)
Activities: Meander

July 20th- 22nd:
Location: La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Lodging: Arenal Observatory Lodge.
Cost: 74$/ night (room with shared bathroom and breakfast, some free tours)
Activities: Volcano watch, hiking, waterfalls, night walks, wildlife (miss Raya's birthday on the 20th)

July 22nd- 24th:
Location: Santa Elena, Costa Rica 
Lodging: Cabinas Eddy.
Cost: 25$/ night (room with private bathroom and breakfast)
Activities: Monterverde Cloud Forest, wildlife, waterfalls
RETROSPECT:  You cannot get to Osa Peninsula in one day.  You have to stay in San Jose and take the 5 am TRACOPA bus to Palmar Norte.  I ended up only staying one night here (great hotel).

July 24th-27th:
Location: Osa Peninsula (Drake Bay), Costa Rica 
Cost: 15$/ night (room with shared bathroom)
Activities: Hike Corcovado National Park, beach, wildlife (miss Marla's birthday on the 25th)

July 27th- 30th:
Location: Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica 
Lodging: Natural Pacific Suites.
Cost: 60$/ night (suite with kitchen)
Activities: Hike Manuel Antonio National Park, beach, wildlife

July 30th:
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica 
Lodging: Hostel Casa del Parque.
Cost: 42$/ night (room with private bathroom)
Activities: Meander

July 31st: 
Location: SJO (San Jose) to LAX, picked up by my hubby
Lodging: Our house
Cost: 1,000$/ month
Activities: Mind your own business