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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: 11.94, -85.96
LOCATION UPDATE: We have driven some 145km from the cool and tranquil "cloud jungle" of Matagalpa down to the scorching heat of Granada...... an historic Spanish colonial town buzzing with life, yapping dogs and the dreaded TOURIST!
Locals try to sell them everything from wooden nick-knacks to food! Why do restaurant touts present you with a menu when walking past their establishments at 1500hrs cheerfully hoping you will suddenly want a full blowout evening repast mid afternoon .."come in see sir!"......"mucho steako"......"chipos"......"besto restauranto in townos".....!
We are surrounded by trendy US back packers types (daddy's Amex in their back pockets though) plus a heathy smattering of "Elmer Fudesque" retired couples with knobbly kness and protruding money belts. Strangely enough, the "bearded wonder" retired Geography teacher variety "on sabbatical" from the UK do not seem to have penetrated as yet. This is surprising bearing in mind the exotic flora and fauna combined with a cluster of worryingly active volcanos that would not look out of place in a Martian Sci-Fi adventure.
IRRITATING TOURIST SUB GENRES
This is a highly focused and potentially irritating tourist subgroup ...we came across a couple the other day on the innocently branded "farm tour" at the Eco
Lodge. They "Trojan horse" themselves onto a standard tours such as this and then take over the guide and the whole experience. We were cheerfully looking at the Eco cows, pigs, chickens, etc making appropriate sound effects when ......I suddenly hear those dreaded words ........."shush that's a lesser spotted blue tailed finch"......."awe gee yes".....the van stops suddenly and the guide picks out a small sparrow looking thing some 1/2 km away on a lemon tree....everyone now is in silence fearing to breath incase we disturb it away!.....snap snap snap.....on we go.......STOP.....the guide has spied a red thrush object on a mango bush.....the aging male birdwatcher in the front seat (of course) can hardly contain himself......I join in the "fun" and try to take a photo........zoom on max....there it is.....click.......only to find that what I thought was the bird was in fact a ripe mango!!!!
VOLCANO! To quote Wikipedia ......"In 1979, Masaya became Nicaragua's first National Park, named Masaya Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcan Masaya). The National Park has an area of 54 km² includes two volcanoes and five craters,<sup id="cite_ref-VN_2-0" class="reference" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, 'Nimbus Sans L', Arial, 'Liberation Sans', sans-serif; font-size:
0.75em; line-height: 1; background-image: none; color: rgb(37, 37, 37); -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0);"> as well as a range of elevations between 100 and 630 meters above sea level. It is the only volcano in the western hemisphere where you are able to drive to the rim. In the park is an underground tunnel which was formed by lava flows; one can find bats and look inside and observe the glowing lava in the dark crater mouth of the volcano."
We were supposed to have two visits to see the crater one in the day en route to Granada and other a bespoke night visit including a walk through the underground lava tunnels. The latter was at an exorbitant cost of $275! Cash which instantly caused the "rip off" alarm to go off. Fortunately the Volcano is currently very active and deemed too dangerous to visit at night so we have averted a difficult conversation with Elvis.
We approached the caldera with "reverential awe" and nervously peering over the crater edge beheld what we perceived to be the mouth of hell some 300m below! We could feel the heat of the lava as vast plumbs of sulphurous fumes billowed high above us.
We were only allowed 5 minutes at the crater edge due to the heightened activity and toxic gasses. To be frank, enough was enough and we retreated thankful that this was not a tour run by "Pompei Travel" in AD79.......!
Cathy is the postcard officianado and always in search of the local post office! Last night the first port of call in Grenada was the "hallowed establishment" in order to send said object to New Zealand. After much discussion in broken English it transpired that due the size of the Nicruagruan Stamps and amount needed the postcard would be obliterated by the stamps themselves!!!!! This was a first and the card needed to be put in an envelope to send....
Time Check: 0719. I am sitting on the courtyard balcony and it is already hot! We are readying out self for another day of stomping about a hot but rewarding City...........
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