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Published: April 3rd 2012
What a night! Ugh. The box that we slept in didn’t have walls all the to the ceiling, no walled off area for the bathroom and a tin roof. We could hear everything the couple next to us was doing from kissing to peeing… thank goodness they didn’t have sex even though it sounded like the guy was really trying to talk her into it heh heh He stopped after we heard her firmly say NO. Guess no means no in Spanish too heh heh
Mirador Catarina came alive after dark with some kind of karaoke and sport being played in the central plaza. It was very noisy. Sean and I didn’t go out because we felt like we weren’t welcome. People stared at us and taxis kept asking us if we wanted to go to Masaya. It didn’t feel hostile but it just felt like everyone was wondering why didn’t leave with the rest of the gringos.
So on and off during the night the dogs would raise a raucous. Dogs in Nicaragua are interesting. We haven’t really seen any pure breeds – mostly mutts. They are wildly protective of their homes. They bark at any hint of
danger even if its just suspicion or rumor coming from another dog nearby. And you never hear anyone yelling to tell them to hush. So all that barking went on and off all night. Perhaps it was because it was super windy all night and the seed pods from the nearby tree kept dropping on the tin roof. Could it have been burglars? Who knows? Add to all that the ever present chorus of roosters crowing. When one starts every rooster in town will join in…. and there are A LOT of them! The whole rooster crowing only in the morning or at dawn is such bull#$It! Did I mention it was a rough night?
So our morning started early. The earliest so far during the trip. WE gathered our stuff and walked to the highway. Today we were going to the top of Volcano Mombacho. We expertly negotiated with a tuk tuk (we are climbing the learn curve) and had him stop at Empalme el Guanacaste for a refill on our water. Then we hiked up the hill to the entrance of the reserve. The morning was overcast, cool, rainy and misty. It was absolutely beautiful! Sean and
I both had big grins on our faces while we hiked up the road.
It cost more to go up the mountain than the book said (about $15 more) but it was to a good cause. At this point I was starting to stress about money. It wasn’t that we didn’t have enough in US$ but in cordobas. After we left Granada we never saw another Coyote or bank.
Anyways, we were the first people up the mountain/volcano and we got to ride up in a pickup crammed with trail guides and other workers. Sean rode in the bed of the pickup. It was such a steep, bumpy, jerky ride that he almost bounced out of the back a couple of times. I got to ride in the front with two other girls.
The road was steep!!! I grew up in Idaho and I can say it was a great mountain road. We passed a coffee plantation. It looked beautiful. We think it would be cool to visit there next time. When we got to the top it was everything we imagined a cloud forest would be. The wind was a steady 20 mph at the tree tops. The clouds were thick and the air was misty with rainwater. But it wasn’t raining. The air was completely saturated.
We grabbed a desayuno (breakfast of the day) because by this time (0830) we were starving! We discovered today’s desayuno was eggs, red beans, rice and toast. Oh and a cup of coffee that could remove paint.
Our walk was awesome! We were pretty much by ourselves, wandering the trail, gawking at the vegetation and the amazing ecosystem that exists there. Sean was on a mission to find a snake or spider. I wanted to see a monkey but everything was pretty much in hunker mode due to the weather. The guides kept warning us how terrible the weather was before we left the biological center. To us, it was paradise. We hiked the crater trail. There is so much more to see. We decide we would need another day and a guide to see the trails we wanted to explore.
So we were whisked away into a truck going down as soon as we got back. We were ok with it because we needed to rectify the money situation. As we descended the lush vegetation dwindled and we were back to hot, dusty and dry flatlands. But even so, we still had smiles on our faces while we hiked back to the main highway from the gate to the reserve. One final note: the weather change was HUGE. If its hot and sultry in Granada be prepared for it to be significantly cooler on top the volcano. We felt sorry for a couple girls we saw getting in the pickup to go up the mountain because they were wearing shorts and they were not going to be comfortable.
The plan was to catch a chicken bus back to Granada, find a coyote to exchange our money and get smaller bills. The smaller towns don’t like the $500cords. Its hard for them to find change. Then we were going to figure out if we had time to travel to San Juan del Sur or stay in Granada and venture out the next day.
So we were walking along the highway when we started to pass a van pulled over with a flat tire and a few guys were working on it. Sean offered a “Hola!” to one of the gentlemen and he said “Hi!” back. Then he asked us where we going. It was such a relief to hear English!! We told him we were headed to Granada to find an express bus to Rivas. He started to talk with another man (a tuk tuk driver who was gawking at all of us) and told us we could cross the street and wait for the bus to Rivas. Now remember I was nervous about our money situation…. Tuk tuk rides to nearby places were ranging $100-500 cord per trip and Rivas was a long ways. When I asked “cuanto cuesta?” (how much) I was rewarded with maybe $50 cord each. I know my mouth dropped. Holy cow that’s cheap!!! So I threw away my insecurity and fear about the chicken bus and we did it. We yelled “Thank you” over our shoulders as we ran across the street and caught the bus as it was coming around the corner. We hopped on and it was great! The bus was super clean and not really packed with people. The driver’s helper found us and took our fare…. Which turned out to be only $50 cord for the both of us. Tuk tuks are a rip off!!!
Rivas was awesome. We walked down to the bank after we scratched and pushed our way thru the bus yard. We exchanged our money for more cord in the first air conditioned place we have been in. Then we ate pollo fritas (like grilled chicken) out of another café/house. Again this took lots of gesturing, fumbling with my spanish and smiling. But once again – the food was yummy.
Rule #6: It pays to say Hello.
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