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Greetings from Nicaragua! Sitting down to write this dispatch made me realize I’m in one of those weird zones where it feels like I’ve both been here forever and can barely believe I’ve even arrived. Miami was mayhem in the best way possible — I did and saw so much, spent time with so many great people, and barely found a moment to sneak away to my laptop in between.

In contrast, I’ve been in kind of a haze in my own head since I touched down in Nicaragua. I’ve been working hard on some freelancing opportunities that popped up and were too good to turn down and also just detoxing a bit from all the crazy holiday merry making now that I’m on my own again. So while I’m feeling a little guilty for how little I’ve done in Granada, I’m grateful for productivity and rest that has allowed me. I do feel the ocean calling, so I think I’m going to pack up and head for the coast soon, where I hope to intersperse my writing sessions with surf lessons and get all blissed out and sunkissed again.

Happy Monday!

Photo A

Miami GlamourMiami glam at my cousin’s downtown apartment building and a South Beach restaurant.

Photo B

The Broken Shaker MiamiCraft cocktails served fresh at The Broken Shaker.

Photo C

The Freehand MiamiOur Miami Beach hostel, The Freehand.

Photo D

Arriving in NicaraguaArriving in my 27th country.

Photo E

Granada CathedralCathedral de Granada, an image I waited days for the perfect light and clouds to capture.

Photo F

Iglesia La Merced GranadaObsessed with tile! Last night I sat in on a bit of a Sunday night service here, and it was beautiful.

Which photo is your favorite?

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81 Comments...
  • I love E – it was worth the wait!
    Karisa @ Flirting with the Globe recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      It’s all about that light šŸ™‚

  • Ashley
    January 26 2015

    Photo E is a beautiful shot!
    Ashley recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Thanks Ashley! Definitely the reader fave already!

  • Kacy
    January 26 2015

    I love Photo F. Gorgeous tile and the photo just makes me feel at peace. Have fun in Nicaragua!
    Kacy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      I was going gaga for the tile in Granada — it’s beautiful and absolutely everywhere.

  • Janice Stringer
    January 26 2015

    I could do with a bit of Villa Vacationing right now Meihoukai! šŸ™‚ So that’s my favourite…
    Janice Stringer recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      The first one? It’s not quite a villa, but it is an amazing apartment building!

  • Colleen Brynn
    January 26 2015

    Photo D. The thrill of brand new arrivals!
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      There’s nothing like that first view out the window of a plane!

  • Becky
    January 26 2015

    Photo D because that feeling of excitement when arriving in a brand new country just cannot be beat! And its making me super excited for my own Central America trip just 3 weeks today!!

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      I do love that feeling šŸ™‚ And that’s awesome, Becky! I love the countdown, love the planning, love the pre-trip thrill. Enjoy!

  • Gemma Two Scots Abroad
    January 26 2015

    I can’t believe that’s another week been and gone. Less than 7 until we fly off.

    E gets my vote too, good angle, looks very imposing. Nice warm colours too.
    Gemma Two Scots Abroad recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Ah, I love the thrill of the last few days before a big trip. Enjoy the anticipation, Gemma!

  • Steve
    January 26 2015

    I’m choosing Photo E. Must be the most colourful cathedral I’ve ever seen. Great photo Meihoukai.
    Steve recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      I loved it — Nicaragua is one of the most colorful countries I’ve been to, so seems appropriate!

  • Leah
    January 26 2015

    Love that cathedral! I wish I hadn’t felt like death when I visited Granada, I would have taken a million more pictures! Such a photogenic little town. Be sure to go to the bell tower for the view overlooking the city! Hope you’re loving Nicaragua!
    Leah recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      That view from the bell tower is alone worth stopping in Granada for a day! Sorry you felt so poopy that day šŸ™‚

  • Marni
    January 26 2015

    That cathedral is amazing!!! Kudos to you waiting for the perfect lighting, because that shot is spectacular. I’m also a sucker for in-flight pictures, so this week it’s a tie for me!

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Thanks Marni! Patience is key when it comes to photography, I’ve found!

  • Photo E for me. That cathedral is beautiful and the clouds are so fluffy! Enjoy your downtime in Nicaragua šŸ™‚
    Grace | The Beauty of Everywhere recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Thanks Grace! It’s been an uber relaxing detox so far.

  • Lev
    January 26 2015

    I just love your blog! it’s such a pleasure to read it. Waiting for more hidden perks in Nicaragua and tips on efficient traveling there.

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Thank you Lev, that’s so kind! Hope I’ll be able to uncover some gems here to share.

  • Lev
    January 26 2015

    Oh – and definitely Photo E
    Lev recently posted..

  • Marie @ Marie Away
    January 26 2015

    I have to say E — your patience paid off!
    Marie @ Marie Away recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Thanks Marie! Sometimes it’s the key to taking a mediocre travel photo to a great one.

  • Carrie
    January 26 2015

    Tough choice between E and F, as I’m obsessed with churches! What makes that a little comical, is – I’m Jewish! šŸ˜‰ But I’m not a fence-sitter, so I’ll go with Photo E, appreciating the colors of the beautiful cathedral against the bluebird sky and the fluffy cloud tufts. And especially appreciating that you waited for it! šŸ™‚

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Thanks Carrie! I was kicking around with plenty of time, so no reason not to wait for the perfect sky šŸ™‚

  • Kristen Noelle
    January 26 2015

    Yes, E, quite a magnificent photo you captured!
    Kristen Noelle recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Thank you Kristen! It was quite the victory shot!

  • Kathryn
    January 26 2015

    E&F for a stunning tie!

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      I think you’d really like Granada šŸ™‚

  • becky hutner
    January 26 2015

    C — that looks like my kinda hostel!
    becky hutner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      I think the attached bar The Broken Shaker would be right up your alley too. Maybe a trip to Miami is in order!

  • Virginie
    January 26 2015

    A!
    I’m still an interior designer at heart. Can’t not see the beauty in a chandelier! And those turtles shells on the wall… šŸ™‚
    Virginie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      They were quick to point out that they were fake turtle shells, which I should probably point out too šŸ™‚

  • Rekha Devarapalli
    January 26 2015

    Photo A. I stared at it for a while, Miami is super glam!
    Rekha Devarapalli recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      It truly is. What an amazing city. One of my favorites in the US!

  • Kyla
    January 26 2015

    Have an amazing time in Nicaragua, Meihoukai! Hoping to visit the Corn Islands sometime in April. You’ll have to let me know what it’s like if you go there!

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      I hope I get the chance to find out, Kyla! If not, another time I’m sure šŸ™‚

  • Mary B
    January 26 2015

    I vote for E! I took a shot from essentially the same spot, but was not as patient and mine was not nearly as good :-). In spite of a severe case of food poisoning, I enjoyed Granada – hope you are too!

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Granada is gorgeous and so photogenic! I was there for a week so I had plenty of time to be patient šŸ™‚

  • Joya
    January 26 2015

    I love the image of the Cathedral. The photo was worth the wait!
    Joya recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Thanks Joya! Love that it is the overwhelming favorite this week — I almost didn’t include it thinking it was too standard.

  • Damon and Jo
    January 26 2015

    Photos C and D! We’re suckers for the airplane window shot! Gets us every time!

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Me too — hence why I ALWAYS request a window seat šŸ™‚

  • Photo A – that apartment is amazing!
    Katie @ The World on my Necklace recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      It’s a drool worthy building. And compared to what you’d pay in NYC… it’s a steal!

  • Sky
    January 26 2015

    Love the church photo. I cannot wait to get to Nicaragua in a few days!
    Sky recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      You’re going to love it! Gorgeous weather right now šŸ™‚

  • Justine
    January 26 2015

    Photo E…because I appreciate that you waited so long to take this shot. The result was worth the wait šŸ™‚ Have a wonderful time in Nicaragua. I truly enjoyed my time there!
    Justine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Thanks Justine! I’ve been waiting a long time to come here, and so far it seems very worth it.

  • Chris
    January 26 2015

    Photo E!

    Great reward for your patience and incredible to think we were there so recently!

    Have a feeling your time may be a little more glam than ours šŸ˜‰
    Chris recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Well, I was there for a week and didn’t do much more than work in my guesthouse garden, wander the city and go to yoga. Nothing too glam, but it was fabulous.

  • Christie
    January 26 2015

    Oh how lush is your cousin’s apartment! I love photo E not only for the effort you went to take it, it looks simply magical!
    Christie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      It’s a really gorgeous building, so many amenities! And for the price of a closet in NYC. Okay maybe not QUITE, but Miami is much better value than New York šŸ™‚

  • Emily
    January 26 2015

    I’m gonna go with Photo A this time – looks very classy and a great way to relax! Also love Photo E. You really did choose a great moment for the shot, it came out beautiful šŸ™‚

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Thank you so much Emily! And yes, Miami was a great place to recharge in the sun.

  • Neysha
    January 27 2015

    My favorite is definitely photo E. Great job! BTW, I noticed you’ve mentioned using PhotoNinja for photoshop. Is there a filter that you use for your photos, Meihoukai?

    I read your post about Granada earlier on Instagram and it makes me sad that your experience was so… uncomfortable. scary? I’m not sure what word to use. Just unpleasant. Of all the countries I’ve lived in, Nicaragua was the safest, by far. It makes me really upset to know that it doesn’t feel like a safe place, anymore. I remember day trips with my parents in Granada for the carnival, and I used to run around without a care in the world… I hope the rest of your trip is better!
    Neysha recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Hey Neysha, the unwanted and aggressive attention I received in Granada definitely colored my time there somewhat, but there was a TON of positivity to outweigh it. I’m also quick to reassure that I didn’t feel unsafe, really — I know Nicaragua is statistically safe and I don’t think anyone wanted to hurt me, I think they wanted, for whatever reason, just to scare me. Hopefully I’ll be able to explain better in my full post that I’m working on for tomorrow šŸ™‚

      Oh! And as for the filters, yes, I use premium NoiseNinja pretty aggressively to offset the weaknesses of my lenses — can’t wait to upgrade to L series someday. I download and play around with other free filter packs from time to time too, but don’t have a specific one I’m married to.

  • 2 tickets to Wonderland
    January 27 2015

    Photo D – beacuse you never know what awaits you there before you come to a new country šŸ™‚
    2 tickets to Wonderland recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      It is a really magical moment, when a whole trip and so many possibilities lie ahead!

  • I love A! I remember your cousin’s apartment from the last time you were in Miami! I can’t wait to hear all about the mayhem.
    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      It’s still as insanely gorgeous as ever! I think I need to stay a lot longer next time šŸ™‚

  • Carmel
    January 27 2015

    I love E too. It’s a wonderful sight to see a Cathedral so full of colour. Churches can look so dark in other countries whereas this one looks welcoming and full of character!
    Carmel recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      The few I’ve poked my head in here so far have been full of light and color. And the service I peeped in on was so musical, too! I loved it. I think church attendance would be much higher elsewhere if they instituted similar policies šŸ™‚

  • Kristina
    January 27 2015

    I have to go with pic B, I can really feel the atmosphere just by looking at it! (Ok, maybe I’m thirsty hehe)

    By the way, love your whole blog. I’m currently traveling SE Asia (Palawan right now) and diving a lot as well and I have found your blog profoundly useful. Thank you so much for all the great info!

    As per your recent Instagram post- I spent two years in Latin America and I feel your pain with the harassment (and I’m not even blonde) so all I can say is stay strong and keep enjoying the wonderful aspects. It helped me to be able to say something in the native language (especially “leave me alone” or “don’t touch me” or “help” if it got really out of hand). I hope you are able to find some of the many wonderful and kind Nicaraguans. I wish you all the best!!

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      Thank you Kristina, it’s so lovely to hear positive feedback from people using the blog in their travels. Thanks for the words of encouragement as well — hope to have my full post on the topic up this week!

  • Jenia from HTL
    January 27 2015

    Its a tie between photos A & B — my other passion aside from travel is interior design. šŸ™‚
    Jenia from HTL recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      I feel you! Sometimes I joke about the day I finally semi-settle and Meihoukai in Wanderland will become part craft and home improvement blog šŸ™‚

  • Carson Ford
    January 27 2015

    Photo E is definitely my favorite. I can only imagine the sense of spirituality that surrounds that beautiful cathedral. It was worth the wait to get that amazing shot!

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      It is definitely the defining feature of Granada. I could always tell where I was from seeing the yellow top of it!

  • Jason
    January 27 2015

    Tie between A-1 and C-2 because any kind of pool looks mighty damn fine to me right about now. The city was spared the worst of Juno’s wrath, but it’s still kind of cold and dreary here!

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      I bet! This is my least favorite time of year in the Northeast šŸ™

  • Dad
    January 27 2015

    E. Meihoukai, you know I am a sucker for architectual photos and the fact that you waited for the best light and sky make this the only choice for me. Love Dad

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      You would go gaga for the architecture in Granada. You’ll have to add it to your list for someday travels.

  • Kate
    January 27 2015

    Meihoukai, I vote for E. My husband took a very similiar shot today!

    PS: I am an avid reader of your blog and am currently in Granada too. Email me at [email protected] if you would like to catch up for a drink at some stage

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      I sent you an email, but let me know if you come to San Juan del Sur šŸ™‚

  • Leigh
    January 27 2015

    Photo C totally changes my perception of hostels!
    Leigh recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 28 2015

      I know right! The Freehand is really a cool brand. They are opening a new one in Chicago soon, hope to check it out this summer!