For the past couple weeks I have been trying to figure out how to start this post. On one hand, attempting Costa Rica again after a stressful visit two years ago, and on the other wanting to find a delicate way to touch on the crisis in Nicaragua but stay away from it at the same time.
Round two of this beautiful country, but again having to work and no time to play. Spending the days in a hotel, long hours, logged onto work, only to take a break in the evenings to finally find food.
Yes, I worked during the trip. Yes, I was stuck inside all day. No, I did not get to venture out much. Would I come back? Yes. Of course.
Taking a break from work, and a little hesitant, but we decided to hop over to Nicaragua for the long weekend. With an increase of crime, violence, and riots.. what could go wrong?
I've decided not to write much about the crisis. It's a touchy subject, politics, and thats not what my blog is about. Even with the riots, road blocks, angry locals, and fear... I cannot say I felt it much while we were there. It only changed a couple of our plans, but we were able to adjust fairly quickly. I will, though, write about a few things we probably should have thought twice about.
Saturday we kept it low key. Walking around the town. Getting a feel where everything was at. And stayed close to the hostel.
Sunday, we took the city bus to Laguna de Apoyo from Granada for a day trip. With no marked bus stops along the way, we somehow only had to backtrack about 1/2 mile on foot and made it down to the lagoon to spend the day kayaking and avoiding the sudden downpour that was soon to be overhead. Once the rain lifted we decided to walk back from the lake, back up the hill to the main road to catch the bus... was only a couple miles... uphill! Tired, the rain starting again, then seeing a man sitting on the side of the road and Rehan whispers to me, "pay respect to the man with the machete", as I look up and make a mumbling sound in the direction of his large machete he had in his hand and watching us walk by. Out of ear shot, laughing at not dying, we took a wrong turn. Going through a small village, off the beaten path, kids paused their game of soccer to watch us walk by. I thought to ask to play, but we kept walking. I swear the path to the lagoon was much shorter than this. We were lost. Luckily, a truck stopped and asked if we needed a ride. Why not? I hitchhiked in India, why not Nicaragua too. By this time it was a downpour again. We were drenched. We jumped in back of the pickup bed where they then drove us the rest of the way to the main road. Again, we did not die.
Next day, Monday, we made arrangements to kayak out on Lake Nicaragua to Monkey Island then drive up to Mombacho Volcano, to be back before we needed to head to the airport to catch our flight back to Costa Rica. Plenty of time. Unfortunately, there were road blocks that morning. And no traffic to/from the volcano. Change of plans, just meant more time on the water.
Monkey Island. A small piece of land where they put six monkeys to live, and now are on display for tourists. It was interesting. And our guide was very informative. We talked a lot about the crisis and how its affected him/his family. [very sad]
Walking back from the lake and passing a field of mango trees. We were being summoned by a group of men holding machete's waving us over. Again I found myself mumbling "we're going to die, this is it, we're going to die". We approach and were handed fresh mango's cut from the tree above. They weren't wanting to harm us, just wanted to share their harvest. Best mango's ever! Juicy, sweet, and were shown the best way to eat one... cut a hole in the top and slurp out the insides.
Terror and riots aside, Nicaragua was welcoming, pleasant, and peaceful. The political party and violence is not who the people are. Tourism is their livelihood. Its just sad to see the people struggle and closing their doors due to a countries dictatorship. We will return, as three days was not enough to explore a beautiful country. I wish, all the best, to those we met along the way. They're good people, trying to stay in business, and trying to do whats best for their children's future... better yet, trying to make sure their children have a future.