Just a quick update. Got back from my vacation in Nicaragua. Slightly um...sunburned. Hence, the titular red-shelled seafood reference. Really great balance of relaxing and sightseeing.
Spent the first half in a really (really REALLY) rustic surf lodge. Open air bungalows with mosquito net beds and no electricity. Yup. I could've done without the composting toilets, but at least there was running water for showers. Food was delicious, and I spent most of my days relaxing in a hammock with a book. Rode a horse on the beach and through sugar cane fields. Got $15 full body massages. Fantastic.
Second half of my vacation I spent in the city of Granada...in the nicest hotel in the city with a pool, flush toilets, hot water, maid service, free buffet breakfast, etc. For $89/night. ha! Did sightseeing and hiked the crater of a volcano. Had a good time speaking really basic and rusty Spanish with my no-hablo-ingles drivers. I can apparently have a conversation that covers my name, where I'm from, where I live, how I like Nicaragua, where I've been in the country, food, pets, and even some movies and music.
Not sure where my next destination will be, but...flush toilets...yeah...I think I'll have to add that to the list of requirements. :)