Published: March 11th 2012February 23rd 2012
Our Hotel in Catarina
I found it in our guidebook.
Today was a roller coaster! I was excited to leave the Treehouse (we had planned on staying two more nights but decided to leave for a number of reasons… I posted a review on TripAdvisor.com that explains why).
We walked down to the main road and made what I thought was a pretty good plan…. Ugh! We got picked up by a tuk tuk, negotiated a price (Es Caro!!!) but turned out to be lesson – a hard one. The kid driving was nice enough but was charging way more than the guy we rode with the night before. The language barrier and lack of food is making communications worse. I thought it was more expensive because we were going farther but that wasn’t what happened. I wanted to go to Laguna Apoyo but he took us to a lookout point over the laguna…. A five minute ride that should have costed a quarter of what it did. I got angry when he asked for more money and we grabbed our stuff to leave him and start hiking. The guy apologized and offered to take us to Mirador Catarina for a significantly less amount than what he originally offered. I
Cribbage and Cookies
Nothing like playing cards made from paper out of my journal.
don’t think he was trying to rob us but I think he honestly felt we had lots of money to spend and he was going to milk this American cash cow. Unfortunately for him, these Americans are a on a daily budget that doesn’t include his outrageous prices. It was stressful and frustrating but was a good lesson in our Nicaragua adventure. Finally I got him to understand that we didn’t have the money he wanted to charge us (on top of the money I already paid him) he became quite friendly/apologetic and took us to the mirador. The route he took was the backroads which was quite interesting and often gave us some spectacular views over Laguna Apoyo.
The view at Mirador Catarina is lovely! It was super windy. I had hit a wall. I was super flustered with my clumsy, inadequate Spanish. Sean is my rock. He didn’t get angry with me but patiently helped me by picking words out of the conversation and repeating them to me so I could translate. Then he fed me an expensive lunch of some tasty shrimp in a restaurant with a spectacular view of the lake.
At this point we are shooting from the hip for travel plans. Sean wisely waits for us to finish eating before we start planning the next adventure. The smaller towns are difficult because no one speaks English and my Spanish isn’t at the proper level yet to make ourselves easily understood. We decide to stay the night in Catarina so we can go to Mombacho volcano tomorrow. We don’t want to get too far away or skip over our plans to visit the volcano. We also decide to find out what a Nicaraguan version of a cheap hotel is (no thanks to our gold digging tuk tuk driver).
What an event that decision got us. We fumbled through an embarrassing/frustrating conversation with a young lady and managed to get a room that appears to be clean for C$300 (about $13) a night. Hotel Jaaris. Here’s a tip we learned when getting a hotel in Nicaragua: ask to see the room first. Its customary to see the room before you agree to pay and it can save you from making a bad choice.
I am thankful to have secured a place for us to sleep for the night. It seems that I have issues with not knowing where I will sleep. Once we have the room we try to relax during the heat of the day. Sean takes a nap while I read. I find it super hard to let down my guard to nap when we are slumming it.
We went for an afternoon stroll, picked up some post cards and ran into Kevin (guy we met in Granada) on the street. It was super nice to see a friendly face. We chatted with him for a few moments before he had to get on his bus to leave. Some of the tuk tuk drivers in Catarina are a bit aggressive and don’t take no thank you very well. They will follow you down the street asking if you want a ride to a million different places. We learned to say no and then ignore them.
We managed to find a hamburger and some treats. We ran back to the hotel before it got dark. Once the sun started to go down people started to stare more than normal. Cabs and tuk tuks kept asking us if we needed to go to Masaya. We didn’t see any more gringos and it quickly became apparent that gringos don’t normally stay here. Not wanting to be a target for robbers we decided to hunker down. This was unfortunate because from our hotel we could hear what sounded like quite the party going on in the town plaza for a few hours. Oh well. Better safe than sorry.
Sean and I made playing cards from paper and enjoyed a game of cribbage and ate cookies. It was a good end to a hectic day. And Sean won the card game (why did I teach him how to play?).
Rule #5: Before going to smaller towns – seek the rosetta stone of language.