August 17th 2011
It has already been 6 days inNicaragua! When we arrived, we spent the afternoon inManagua(the capital). The city itself is not very appealing, for a tourist anyway; there is no city center per se, and you have to take taxis everywhere because it is really big, ok so actually, its kinda really crappy. So we went by the lake during the afternoon and ate and had beer. (oh by the way, beer is one dollar YAY! Ahahaha) then we took a boat ride after our late lunch and were highly entertained with the drunk Nicaraguan family that was there. We chatted with them, they danced and drank (before the boat, on the boat and probably after the boat, ahahaha). It was a nice ride.
The next day we went toLeon, which is an old colonial city and visited the streets and the largest cathedral inCentral America. The streets were colourful and it was much, much nicer. We had a good hostel as well, and it had a pool! Which was nice because it was hot and humid! We then left for the beach at Las Penitas, some 18km away on the Pacific coast. We left pretty early and were able to get some sun, had some lunch, read and watched the surfers catch some big waves. We had lots of fun swimming and it was Chan’s first time at the beach!
Our next destination wasGranada. This is another colonial city and there are more tourists. We arrived on a holiday called Asunción de Maria, and everyone was partying in the main plaza: street food, beer, cowboy hats and boots, people with horses etc etc! Apparently the partying continued in another part of the city but we did not go. The next day we went to Las Isletas, which are 375 islands on the lake aroundGranada. We only took a one hour boat to visit some of them. Many people have big and nice houses on some of them, or restaurants. One of them is calledMonkeyIslandwhere 5 monkeys live. They came to see us while we were on the boat and we fed them candy. They actually took the paper off of the starburst before eating the candy! Ahahaha. It was really fun! Then we had lunch at a friend of mine’s restaurant called Tequila Vallarta. We were very well welcomed by his mother and the staff and had amazing food!
Our next destination was the Isla de Ometepe, an island with two volcanoes called Maderas (1300m approx) and Concesión (1600m approx). Getting to the island was quite something: we left in the morning, being told buses fromGranadato our destination were every 30-45mins. We finally arrived at the bus terminal, after walking through a local market, and we were told that there was one at 9h30am, which left early because it was full and the next one was only at 11h30am. Obviously it was 9h30am when we got there. So we ordered the typical Nica breakfast called Gallo Pinto. It is rice and pinto beans and you can eat it with eggs, tortillas or chicken. Then a little kid named Julio came and wanted some so we gave him what we had left. He sat with us and ate and we talked with him for a bit. The bus ride was not quite a chicken bus but close to it. It was an old yellow school bus which could not have been any fuller. There were 3 people per seat or almost and others were standing; it was cramped. It took us almost two hours before arriving to a city, from which we had to take a taxi to another village to take the ferry to the island. We arrived and there was a ferry only at4pm, but a lancha (smaller boat) was about to leave. For half the price and right away, we took it. Chanelle did not quite like the ride, the waves at first were quite big and a few people did not feel too good. On this boat there was a box with little chicks, just by the way ahahhaha. Well, Cass and I ended up falling asleep once the waves calmed down a bit. That lasted an hour. The next transit was another school bus, this time not so full, and ended up being nearly 3hs because of the muddy roads. We finally arrived at our hostel, right by the lake, and absolutely beautiful. We were starved. With all the traveling and almost missing buses and boats we had only had that breakfast. So we enjoyed the sunset, had a beer, and some garlic bread.
Today, the 17th, was our Maderas volcano trek. There were many beautiful flowers and colourful butterflies. We saw a crazy crab in the middle of the path and it would jump and snap its claws at us, so we had to go around because we were scared. It was funny tho. There were a lot of monkeys too and we would hear them almost all the way, maybe fighting, maybe making love, who knows! We left at 7h30am and made it halfway due to weather and timing. But it was a good hike, I was able to break into my trekking boots, and we did some exercise, we were really tired afterwards. Tomorrow is already Thursday and time for Chanelle to leave! So all of us are going back toManagua.