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Published: July 28th 2016
Arriving in Granada was the best way to begin my trip. Dain Bassett and I met in Managua briefly, after he completed his travels in Peru and hiking the Inca Trail, and I completed my hospital stay in Portland, Oregon. One of the worst parts about being a sick person is all the logistics, and a lot of travel rearranging. The airlines were mostly cooperative refunding monies with a doctor's note, they didn't like it though. Sadly, I wasn't able to join my new husband and new in-laws on an epic hiking adventure with a personally arranged guide and once in a lifetime opportunity. My heart wasn't able to pump blood, my liver wasn't able to process enzymes, I couldn't walk, breathe, eat, drink, or sleep three weeks prior to the hike. The fevers continued, even after the pericardium was drained of a liter of fluid, and two weeks into meds. It was the hardest, most agonizing decision to turn down the Inca Trail hike..... a decision that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Now, more than ever, the rest of my life is a beholden treasure.
Simply, Granada was a landing pad, a transition from
being sick to being a traveler. Dain rented a car and bravely drove us from Managua to Granada. He got the hang of it in no time, with the help of an excellent navigator! In an hour we were lost in a local market, cerveza flowing and flies buzzing. We strolled towards our hotel, Los Patios, and the polite hotel staff welcomed us with a glass of iced passion fruit (callala) jugo fresco. We took a dip in the pool and when a bucket rain shower dumped rain on us, we didn't get out. After some hammock time and AC, we ate dinner on the tourist strip of restaurants. The food was delicious at Tercer Ojo, Los Flores and heard great things about El Grajae and Garden Cafe.
Lake Nicaragua was fun for kayaking. It surprised me how easily I became breathless, the reminder that 3 weeks of bed rest and a week long stay in the hospital wasn't too long ago. The men selling boat tours were a bit desperate, but impressively helpful. A man helped us park and called his kayak buddy on our behalf. We were able to go without a guide, and just pay for
kayak rental and a map. We paddled through some small lake waves, passed by some gorgeous house isletas that I hear are up on Airbnb, and found Monkey Island. After a too near encounter with a Capuchin, we took a break on a restaurant isleta with an order of tostones (traditional Nicaraguan food of fried green plantains, fried cheese and pico de gallo) and a Macua (rum and fresh passion fruit and guanaba). Paddling back, we crossed through llily pads and witnessed the families who live on the lake doing chores, fishing and lounging. It was a great day, and I felt such relief to be abroad and not in a hospital bed.
One of the things that happens when you're sick, is you think of all the goals you're going to do next. The whole time I was in the hospital I talked non-stop about this trip. Every doctor, nurse, friend and family member knew my goal, and they helped me by telling me I was strong. Dain never doubted for a minute that I wouldn't make this trip. The reality that I was kayaking in a giant Lake rumored to have fresh water sharks and looking up
to see smoking volcanoes gave me a surreal feeling. Especially when two weeks ago, I didn't know if my heart was going to function properly. Health was my goal, but very true ideas of worst case scenarios: that you may not get the adventures you have on your list for "One Day," suddenly urged me to go do them NOW!
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