Published: June 9th 2010June 9th 2010
Back of the Bus
Here we are on the back of the minibus from Leon to Chinandega.
Rich and I were enjoying our time at the Mariposa. There the weather was the coolest I experienced in most of Nicaragua. The Ecolodge is in the hills to the northeast of the Masaya Volcano surrounded by trees planted by the owner. We had very little rain while we were there and only several hours of Spanish Lessons. Our instructor was having some serious high blood pressure problems and most of my time was spent trying to discuss this in Spanish. He got some work out of his time with Rich while they went over the uses of SER and ESTAR. My conversation instructor was much harder on me and made me work through flashcards for various verbs and difference tenses and different forms that verbs can be changed into (gerunds and past participles).
At the lodge there were a lot of families and children and we spend a lot of time waiting for things to happen since there were always groups. Rich and I spent one day on our own at La Mariposa since it was so peaceful to be without the group. On that day the group went to the Pacific Beach (La Boquita) where I
The Bus Station
Generally, the bus station is a chaotic place and today is business as usual.
had been before. Rich didn't mind missing the beach since we made the plan to travel to the northwest beach on Monday, June 7 which was his birthday.
So, here we are now on Tuesday at Rancho Esperanza (Hope Ranch) where we slept to the sounds of the waves on the beach. Rich remarked that it was hard to sleep without the sounds of horns, kids yelling, chickens and roosters and other various noises at the Ecolodge.
Yesterday was quite a travel experience. We packed up in the morning but had a very hard time catching a bus because it was Monday morning and all the minivans toward Managua were full. We constantly tried to wave them down but when they saw the big American (Rich) and me and our two bags each they went on past, since there was no way we could fit. Finally we got on a minivan and Rich said that he counted 24 people in the vehicle (while he sat on a bag of rice and then crouched so he could fit in the van). Probably not safe, but this is the norm in Nicaragua. After we finally made it to Managua things
On the Richshaw
Here we are getting a ride across town on the rickshaw.
got better. Very quickly at the University of Central America (UCA - pronounced "ookah") we were able to get a van with aircon and that was a nicer, less crowded ride. Then we arrived in Leon and were able to find another van to Chinandega - also with aircon, but it didn't work. One we got to Chinandega we got a rickshaw driver (on a bike) to take us across town to the bus station. Our bus had just left so we had 2 hours to kill before the next one. We found a place where we could sit and we shared one meal between the two of us and we found a bathroom and a place to stand outside of the rain while we waited for our final bus to Jiquilillo Beach (pronounced heekaleeyo). We had emailed our hosts and were able to check email while in Chinandega and our hosts (Nato and Stephanie) told us to come on and that they would wait for us to arrive by bus. The last bus took so long to get going and so many people get on the bus trying to sell stuff (food, watches, water, towels, bandanas, knives, jewelry). After
Here is our hut at Rancho Esperanza.
an hour of traveling by this last bus, we could see the surf from the windows of the bus and we knew we were close to our final destination. Stephanie met us at the busstop and showed us our hut and around the property and we had enough time to walk to the beach and enjoy the sunset while we had food at restaurant on the beach. Pretty soon after that it was lights out under the mosquito net because we were tired. It was an exciting day to turn 50 (Happy Birthday Rich!)
Oh, and Happy Belated 43rd Birthday Doug! Please let Barbara know that Oreos sell like hotcakes here in Nicaragua. And Ritz Crackers with peanut butter or cheese are also very popular!
Dawn and Rich
There are more photos below