“A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That “ when away from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.

Rose had only been back from our trip to London for four weeks when we were heading off again. Being retired can be so tiring !

This time we were making a return visit to Nicaragua. Granada, Nicaragua to be precise.

For those of you that may be thinking of making the same trip our outbound travel itinerary was :

Tropic Air flight to Philip Goldson International Airport departing at 14.00 hours (15 minute flight time ).

Avianca flight to El Salvador at 17.10 hours ( 1 hour 24 minute flight time )..

Avianca flight to Managua at 20.25 hours ( 50 minute flight time ).

We have now landed in Managua three times and (hoping I’m not tempting providence) have never had a problem clearing Immigration and Customs. The other good thing when landing there is that you can use the Duty Free outlets before leaving the airport.

Our taxi – pre-arranged with the hotel – was waiting for us as we exited the airport and the driver, Eduardo, identified himself to us by way of an iPad held aloft with our surname on the screen. Cost of the eighty minute journey was US$ 40.

On our last visit we had stayed at the Hotel Plaza Colon and it was very good but for this visit we decided we would try somewhere else and we chose Hotel Real La Merced .

A conveniently located hotel just a few minutes walk away from the park (Parque Central )in the center of the city .

A quick ‘look’ around our hotel.

A pink marble staircase.

A selfie !

The view from the breakfast area.

It had everything we needed !

During our eleven nights there we roamed the streets, enjoyed the wonderful colonial buildings , ate the food, drank the beer (and Rose drank the wine too ) and enjoyed time with the very friendly people.

The famous life size representation of a horse carriage on the main access road to Granada.

The real deal.

Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral

The Fire Station

Not dramatically different to the one in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.

Granada, Nicaragua, a nice friendly place that, once you get there, is relatively inexpensive.

A huge bowl of chicken soup (more like a stew really) for the equivalent of US$ 4

And shrimp pasta for around US$ 6

Topped off with a couple of beers.

A Sol for just over US$ 2 and

a bottle of Victoria Frost, a Nicaraguan beer, at just under US$ 1.

It – like here in Belize – was the rainy season when we were there so we got to use the brollies.

We also, unfortunately, got to watch Arsenal’s hugely embarrassing defeat to Chelsea in the Europa League Final and Liverpool triumph over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League Final.

At half-time we got ready for the second half with

Queso fritos con plátanos maduros (fried cheese with mature plantains). A yummy little bite for around US$ 4) .

We ‘managed’ to spare a little time to wander around the grocery stores

When we are away we try to mix things up a bit. A little bit of this, a little bit of that !

The exchange rate is around 33 Córdoba to 1US$ so you can do some price comparisons!

Before we knew it our time was up, time to go . But not before our photo shoot together.

All went swimmingly the next day with our journey to Managua (Augusto Cesar Sandino International Airport ) airport and the check in was a breeze

as was the flight to El Salvador but then our Avianca curse ( 2 years ago our scheduled plane from Managua was cancelled and we had to spend an unplanned night in a hotel ) struck.

Everyone had boarded the plane when the announcement was made ” Will all passengers exit the plane “. Apparently the full roster of crew had not appeared for work.

So we found a comfy spot in the airport until an announcement was made. But it never was.

They were looking for us though and they came to take us to the departure gate.

We caught the plane ! Until the next holiday .

The headline for this edition is based upon the album released by D Mob in 1989 and reached number 82 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 42 on the UK Albums Chart.

“Don’t You (Forget About Me ) “ when I’m away from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Now when I left you it was just after a resounding victory (OK so it was a one nil win with a bit of a flukey goal) by Arsenal over Watford FC.

The next day was the day for what has now become an annual pub crawl with my friend John (yes , aka Harry the Hornet,the Watford supporter ).

After a (very) hearty breakfast (if you read the first in this series you know what this means. If you didn’t read it , you must) I set off to cross the Thames .

I took the underground. You didn’t think I walked across . Did you ?

To our favourite meeting point. The Royal Oak at the Borough

where real ale is sold

and customers are happy.

After a few (quite a few actually) beers and a bite to eat we headed north of the Thames. We were on a pub crawl after all.

John trying to look cool and stylish. But failing miserably.

I think we went to three pubs – we normally ‘hit’ six or seven but I was still struggling from the broken ankle I suffered just before Christmas – but that didn’t limit the amount of alcohol we consumed. It had to be done.

The thoughts of a sage.

The next day, after another hearty breakfast (it’s the only way to start a day – or at least that’s what they tell me at Estel’s Dine By the Sea ) Rose and I set off for some retail therapy. But I had a surprise for her. I booked tickets for the matinee of a show that had just opened in London.

When I could see that Rose was starting to look like the therapy had worked I suggested that we head for Haymarket where there were a couple of good pubs. I chose the Tom Cribb.

Over our drinks I broke the surprise when I showed her the tickets .

We were going to see the stage show of Only Fools And Horses , recognised by many as one of Britain’s greatest ever TV comedy shows.

Tickets to see the show was not the only surprise that Rose got. Oh, no. During the Intermission she found that she was sitting next to Joanna Lumley .

It was the second time we’d met Joanna Lumley (although it didn’t appear that she remembered!). The first time was around twenty-two years ago when I was working for the company that published OK! Magazine and the owner at the time used to host celebrity parties to generate a photo library for the magazine.

It’s a great show and one that I highly recommend if you find yourself in London during its run. It’s , as Del Boy would say, “Cushty“.

The next day we had to travel across London and once again found ourselves celebrity (sic) spotting. Eagle-eyed Rose spotted that Paul Burrell , former butler to Princess Diana was in our carriage.

The not-so-loyal butler is fifth from the left.

Oh, I digressed. We were traveling across London to meet up with Jacqueline and Roy who had travelled down from Yorkshire to spend some time with us. We first met Jacqueline and Roy at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar in San Pedro and immediately struck a friendship. It was Jacqueline it was her first visit to Belize but for Roy it was a return visit. He’d served here with the British Army in the mid seventies .

We had arranged to meet at The Moon Under Water

a JD Wetherspoon pub.

For those of you that have not frequented a ‘Wetherspoon’s , they are generally quite large and well appointed establishments that offer a good menu and a range of good beers and very reasonable prices when compared to pubs in the adjacent area (and no, I’m not on the payroll ).

With all of our planned meet-ups completed Rose and I spent the Easter weekend meandering around Central London in weather conditions that had been arranged just for us !

I do like a good bookshop.

And an olde English sweet (candy for non UK readers) shop. Catch the name of the shop next door ! Snog

Rose so wanted to get Ziggy one.

Rose’s favourite stage play.

My how things have changed since we immigrated.

A devastated Rose after finding that her favourite bead shop in London is no more. Now it’s a shop that sells paper

Very, very expensive Japanese paper.

With the weather being so good we even managed to take in some ‘street food’.

All too soon it was time for Rose and I to have our last breakfast together for awhile.

Doesn’t she hide the sadness well ! But before we got up from the table she looked at me intently and said “Don’t you forget about me ” (she didn’t really but I was stuck for a song title for the ‘headline’).

With breakfast over I contacted Uber for vehicles to take Rose to her sister’s and one to take me to my friend John’s house.

First task when I arrived there was to unwrap the stuff I had delivered there ( I use it as a ‘mailbox’ ) and pack it in my suitcases.

With that task completed John and I headed to Watford for the game against Southampton. It wasn’t the greatest game but it was my last chance to watch live Premiership football ( the S word for readers from the US ). It ended a one all draw with a goal scored in the first minute and the equaliser in the ninetieth.

The next morning Janet, John and I were up early so he could take me to Heathrow airport so I could catch the United Airlines 09.30hours flight to Houston. I caught it and after an uneventful journey was in my hotel room by 19.30 hours.

I stayed in Houston for two nights so that I could treat myself to some retail therapy!

I also managed to have dinner with Caesar a friend from Ambergris Caye but it was time to head home.

The first I did after picking up my golf cart was to go a get Ziggy. I had some stuff for him.

Meet Ziggy’s newest ‘friends’. Sophia the Snow Leopard (this is actually Ziggy’s third Snow Leopard ) and Basil the Badger.


some chew sticks to keep his teeth in good order.

The headline (contrived) for this edition is based on the song released in 1985 by Simple Minds which reached number 7 on the UK Singles chart and number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.