ISLA DE OMETEPE and MATAGALPA
Howdy peeps!! Wow my time here in Granada is nearly at an end - my how it flies!!
It´s been a fun couple of weekends. About two weeks ago I traveled along back to Isla de Ometepe - an island made of two volcanoes in the middle of Nicaragua. I stayed with the same family Johnny and I had stayed with before, and spent the weekend hanging out with the 16 year old Leah, doing things that 16 year olds on Isla de Ometepe do.
Los Angeles (on the island) is a very small town, and Friday night we found ourselves wandering in the park talking to the cute boys (hehe!!) before going for a long walk under the bright stars with Leah´s younger brother and other friends in tow - average age 17 I´d say. We visited her other friends and ate watermelon in the dark and traded jokes.
Saturday Leah, her friend Carlos and I went out to Punto Santa Jesus - a beutiful thin stretch of sand which stretches out into the lake. My camera got wet in Costa Rica so I can´t show photos - doh!! But trust me it was beautiful. We quickly starred in an ad for Movistar (a cell phone company) being shot there, before heading off to watch two very important local football games. Unfortunately Los Angeles lost both, and after the crowd gathered round for an unsuccessful penalty shoot out, things got a wee bit ugly.
We escaped quickly and headed to the rodeo! Turns out it was a big party weekend in Los Angeles. We watched in awe as men rode bucking bulls - well I say bucking but they were pretty tame actually. And then we stayed on for the party afterwards. Leah, her boyfriend and her friend Carlos were convinced there was a much better party a mere 6km down the road, so we set off. We didn´t quite make it, instead veering off into a makeshift bar (ie. some guy´s front porch with a table and chairs) for some cojoyo - a seriously strong local spirit. We took turns sipping gingerly and trying not to pull faces, and the boys smoked cigarettes, confessing they were still learning to do this properly. I felt like the bad ass aunty hanging out with her teenage neice and nephews... haha oh dear...
The next day Leah, her friends and I went to a beach called Las Piedras - a mere hour´s walk from town. These kids really know how to walk!! They told jokes and bought treats along the way, and we swam for an hour or so before it was time to head back. After one final delicious meal at Yasmina´s (the house where I was staying) and some fond farewells I rushed back to Matagalpa to catch the ferry across to the mainland. I rushed for nothing - having to wait 3.5 hours for it to be ready to leave. This is Nicaragua afterall.
The next weekend my friend Boz from the states and I tripped off to Matagalpa - the centre of a coffee growing region in Northern Nicaragua. We drank lots of coffee, visited an organic chocolate making factory, went to a pretty town called San Ramon where we tresspassed to find the best view of the valley, and attended a corn festival. Yes that´s right, it was an entire weekend dedicated to corn. We tried some pretty weird corn-related food I tell ya, like indio viejo - a kind of thick cornmeal and beef slop.
The morning before we headed back we decided to head out to a waterfall called Cascada Blanca. The rain was POURING and we had nothing to shelter ourselves, but after 45 minutes on a choca-packed bus, decided we´d gone too far to turn back now. So at a random spot seemingly in the middle of nowhere, we stumbled down a very muddy bank (I had to abandon my broken jandals) to a gushing brown torrent of a waterfall. We´d come to swim, but soaking we from the rain, elected to just splash ourselves politely with the raging, muddy waters. Cascada Blanca means white waterfall - not this day my friend!!
So soaking wet but in good spirits we trudged back up the muddy bank and wondered when the bus back might arrive. A guy in a ute offered us a lift and so we hopped aboard. I´ve hitchiked a lot in Nicaragua (don´t worry mum, it´s sweet!) but this was the most interesting ride I´ve had yet - in the back of a ute with Boz, a policeman, a ten year old boy, a huge pile of green bananas and a few dead chickens, huddled under a sheet of plastic, going about 80km on wet, windy roads, with the plastic slamming down on us in the wind. We made it alive.
Now I´m in my last week of school - getting ready to say goodbye to my lovely kids and the friends I´ve made here, and this city that I´ve come to call home. But looking forward to the next stop - Mexico. Arriba!
Love to all xoxo