November 2007

Apologies for not keeping this updated. Time passes quickly whilst progress is slow!

November was my last visit to Nicaragua and the promised final plans have still not materialised. it doesn’t help that I keep changing my mind! It’s still 8 bedrooms/villas with a spa, swimming pool and restaurant. The villas are going to be 2 stories with a top floor bedroom and a luxurious bathroom and sitting room on the ground floor opening up onto a deck with views across the lake. We had some fun on the Island taking photos of “Matthew in the bar” and “Matthew in the swimming pool” – it needed some imagination!

Anyway, this trip proved to be a bit of a stressful one. Things in the UK were hectic so I found myself rising at 5-6am in order to do work for Key Production (thankfully this time there was no web cam – I’ll have to be careful next time!) and then going to the meetings with Lawyers/accountants/ Matthew/ Ben. I won’t bore you with the paperwork but let’s just say there’s a lot of permissions and paper and legal stuff to be got through.

Nicaragua run a marvellous scheme to encourage tourism which involves the tourist law 306. If you are willing and able to put in a lenghthy proposal (and boy do I mean lengthy), you can obtain tax free purchases for 10 years if you meet the criteria. Scarily, this involves me gaining proforma invoices for every knife plate spoon. towel, sheet, cooker, boat  – you name it. My Spanish is still sadly lacking, so I was left turning circles in a kitchen shop saying “I want EVERYTHING!”  In a state of panic, the lovely Maria came and rescued me. It turns out that she is the manageress of the Plaza Colon Hotel in Granada, where I was staying and she invited me to sit down and pick her brains about hotel stuff.

I re-visited Morgan’s Rock this trip and met with Gloria the manageress there and picked her brains too. How lovely is it that even though I’m entering the same business, people here are more than willing to help you in any way and set up a mutual working relationship. It’s like me telling my competitors here in the UK exactly where I source product, what I pay and how I run my business!!!!

Morgan’s Rock also turned up trumps with Adrienne, the yoga instructor who also runs yoga retreats and photography seminars at Morgan’s Rock and would like to extend them to El-Jicaro.

One big step forward this trip was a visit to another project that Matthew is working on where I fell in love with his curved roofs – Sydney Opera House eat your heart out!!

Phew! That trip was exhausting. I visited Morgan’s Rock, Punta Teonoste to look at another lodge and was yo-yoing between Nicaragua and Granada.  I am due back the beginning of Feb to continue and hopefully finish pro-forma shopping from hell (just how many towels??) and tie up the legals before we finally begin building (March / April??)

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