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Published: October 24th 2008
View on the way out
After our day of horse riding the idea was to head into La Moskitia next so that we still had time when we came back to relax for a while on a beach somewhere.
There are no roads into La Moskitia and so you have two choices for transport: Fly or go overland by pickup truck and boat (see later). We chose to fly in and overland out.
Wed 27th: Having lost the plane tickets we forked out for two more and flew to Brus Laguna, one of the biggest settlements in La Moskitia, on a small twin propeller plane. When we landed in a grass field at the end of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere we instantly knew what kind of a week we were in for, the kind of week we wanted - away from tourist crowds and most of civilisation.
After hitching a ride in the back of a pickup truck into town we had soon checked into a local hostel and were impressed with the flushing toilets and two electric fans in our room (not so much with the price though), which had power. A few minutes later though the power
Our plane on the airstrip in La Moskitia
cut out (the place only get a few hours a day I think) and then the heat started to kick in.
We spent the rest of the day trying hard just to stay alive in the oppressive heat and humidity. Temperatures were over 40C and it was really really humid too, so not pleasant. We desperately needed to contact someone called Dorcas to arrange excursions but until the evening we just couldn't move. Eventually we heaved ourselves into motion and wondered the streets of the town in search of Dorcas. People were friendly and inquisitive but not so great with directions and they've also unfortunately already caught onto the fact that tourists = money. Not too long later and we'd found out that we hadn't brought enough money to make it up to Las Marias, like we wanted, but had agreed to a 5 day tour by the local non-profit tourism initiative La Ruta Moskitia. Happy that we were at least going to have some fun for the next few days we retired to our hostel for a tinned sardine and stale cracker dinner.
Early the next morning we departed with an English speaking guide, the only person
Our plane leaving us behind on it's way back to civilisation
for the rest of the trip who spoke any english, 2 cooks and a boat driver for 2 days to a place called Yamari. The place is located in a Savannah type setting with wide open planes of grassland and scrub. Yamari is the name for occasional naturally occurring islands of trees that randomly sprout up in odd places. I asked why they only grow in such small areas but got no answer so they remain a mystery to me. There isn't much to do out there as such but there's a good wind which keeps you cool and you can swim in the river, kayak, take walks, look for crocodiles at night and things like that. The setting is beautiful and it's a great way to relax. At meal times we'd all sit down together except for the women who eat in the kitchen and never eat with the men. Our guide shared stories and information about the area with us and we started to get a feel for what life around here must be like. Food was simple (always served with plantain, fried beans and normally rice too with a little sauce) but delicious most of the time
Trying, unsuccessfully, to keep cool in the oppressive heat.
and although we brought treats like chocolate and biscuits we probably would have been happy without them. They served some sort of tea made with a type of grass a couple of times, which I loved but never remembered what it was called unfortunately.
It wasn't long before we learned how very superstitious the people are in the area. Two young boys that hung around for a while swimming in the river and catching fish were never allowed out of sight in case some bigfoot like creature got them. There was also a haunted house just nearby and people were genuinely wary of it - scared to go near it even. I took a closer look one day and found nothing interesting but it was certainly well set up as a haunted house - broken down and decrepid with rotten steps that look like they will break through any moment, cobwebs, old junk strewn everywhere, shutters banging and the roof rattling.
Night time out there has to be one of my favourite memories of the trip. Every night we had an unobstructed, incredible view of the stars with huge thunderstorms and lightning firing off in the distance but
Peace and quiet
The swimming pier at Yamari
never over us. One night though, while swinging in a hammock and watching out for shooting stars, a bat took up residence above us along with a large black scorpion. The bat seemed friendly and the scorpion far away enough not to worry so we turned off the torches and got back to staring at the sky. Not long afterward though the bat peed on us! Twice! He returned the following night too and so, not taking any risks, we moved elsewhere.
After two days and two nights in Yamari (3 days in La Moskitia) we headed back to Brus Laguna where we dropped off the cooks and refuelled. We had a few minutes to hang around and I got chatting with a couple of the locals talking about what life is like back home and how it's so cold that everything freezes outside in winter. They asked about what I did for a job at which point I jumped up full of enthusiasm at not having to say I'm a student any more and proceeded to pull out a trade magazine showing them pictures and boring them with details about my job - I bet they wished they'd
Me pretending to paddle while laura does all the hard work...
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