Later this evening, I will be offering a Q&A session at the California Writer’s Coalition about travel writing. I plan on wearing my Nicaragua baseball jersey. I normally don’t think about what I wear prior to a speaking engagement but the shirt jumped into my mind along with some other memories of my recent visit to Nicaragua. I have to say, Nicaragua has stayed with me. I have so many pictures of crowded market areas and weathered churches in my mind that remain compelling and alive.

In comparison to most of my “pics of the week,” these photos suck. In fact, they are out of focus, dark, underexposed, and not really interesting at all. They are also not taken by me — I am the subject along with Angelica, my dance partner. However, these photos are special because this is where I learned how to merengue at the local English/karate/dance school at the town square in Granada. The sign was written in faded black marks-o-lot on torn cardboard. It was only by shear luck that I saw the sign and wandered passed the entrance’s iron gates. These shots symbolize what travel is about for me — allowing something new to be experienced on a whim. My dance instructor/terrible photographer spoke no English and my Spanish is just lousy. However, we communicated well enough. He found me a partner (he grabbed his best dance student from a class that was just ending), and I took my first dance lesson. I am no Nigel Lythgoe.

There is more to the story and the ambiance that makes this story memorable and will likely become a longer story about Nicaragua and merengue in the coming weeks on Travel. Write. Live.

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