Do you know the way to San Jose... I do and it takes bloody ages! I spent all day on various boats and buses yesterday to get here from Nicaragua! Not to mention about 2 1/2 hours faffing around at the boarder. Coo what a palarver! It shouldn't have taken so long but we got stopped 3 or 4 times and had our passports checked by Costa Rican police along the way... you legally have to carry ID around with you here and it seems they like checking... then we got stuck in the phenomenon that now feels very alien to me... traffic! It's been so long since I encountered traffic outside of a city centre. I forgot how frustrating it is! So by the time I arrived last night I was tired and achy from sitting on a bus for 14 hours. Anyway, I'm fine now after a good night's sleep. San Jose is nice enough. The most 'developed' city I've seen in Central America so far. Actually it feels so North American at times that I keep forgetting that I still have to speak spanish. I'm only here for a day or so to break up the journey to Panama.
So the last couple of days in Nicaragua were really peaceful. I visited Isla Ometepe on Lake Nicaragua. It was so tranquil and beautiful. It's fairly touristy but not in a tacky way. And it's not very developed so the abundant vegetation and wildlife can still feel like you have the place to yourself.
When I arrived I was keen to sign myself up for some sort of activity like hiking one of the volcanoes or horse riding... then as I settled in I decided that I'd already hiked my share of volcanoes and I can horse ride pretty much anywhere... so I decided to dedicated my day and a half here to some strenuous lakeside hammock dwelling! Travelling quickly is tiring so it was so nice to just hang out, watch herons stalk along the shore and cormorants dive for fish while sipping on home made lemonade and occasionally nosing through my book.
The first night some local teenagers came along and did a dance presentation. It was so good. The girls wore lovely dresses that they swished around and the boys danced with their straw hats. They were all at that awkward pubescent age where they looked a bit embarrassed about what they were doing but they were clearly enjoying it at the same time... as long as none of their mates from school saw them of course! After the show a family of Nicaraguans got talking to me. There was a mother with her two kids who live in the States and the mother's aunt, uncle and brother. The aunt, uncle and brother spoke no english and the two boys spoke no spanish. So the mother and I had to keep switching from Spanish to English and sometimes Spanglish... she did this a lot more compitently than me but I gave it a go all the same!
They were all incredibly friendly and nice but I started to feel a bit uncomfortable when the mother started twisting my words in order to use what I was saying as a good example to her two boys. For example, she saw that I had a diary with me. She said 'oh you're keeping a journal while you travel. That's so great. I think it's so important to remember all the things you've done' I said 'yeah but to be honest I'm very erratic with it. I don't write in it very often' She turned round to her kids and said 'd'ya hear that boys? This is Anna and she has a journal. She writes in it every day so that she can remember all the things she's experienced, don't you Anna. You remember what I talked to you about before about keeping a journal and how good it is? Well Anna does it and she agrees with me don't you Anna?' Her utterly disinterested kids just looked up and shot me a resentful glare as if to say 'stop giving her ammunition!' She did this a number of times about various subjects and I started to feel really sorry for the two boys.
They invited me on their hike the following day but I politely declined. It was a shame in a way, I was enjoying the opportunity to practice my spanish and get to know some Nicas but I couldn't face a whole day of witnessing two young boy's souls being slowly destroyed by their mother's well meaning but overbearing enthusiasm... I also wasn't sure about the woman's older brother who's gazes at me were becoming a little too lingering for my comfort levels! I made my excuses and went to bed.
So after my day of taking things seriously easy I embarked on my convoluted journey to San Jose. Now I'm off to meet a couchsurfer who is going to put me up for a couple of nights. Then it'll be another mammoth journey to Panama City! I'll slow things down again when I reach South America... which I'm getting so excited about I can bearly contain myself! I feel like I'm getting ready to embark on a totally new trip! A new continent and the beginning of my second 6 months! Very exciting...
love and stuff.