“The road from appearance to reality is often very hard and long, and many people make only very poor travelers. We must forgive them when they stagger against us as if against a brick wall.” —Franz Kafka

Friday, October 31, 2008

Volcanos and gallo pinto

Fast Eddie's photo Not mine.

Granada, Nicaragua. We're back in Granada. Ometepe was a bust. I found the photo at Fast Eddie's blog. I'll post my own rainy season version of the dual volcanoes later. The thing about the rainy season is that it is a Season of Rain. Lluvia. Not a rainy day. Not a rainy week. Or month. The rainy season is six months of rain and what happens after six months of rain? Visit Ometepe is you have any questions. I think this is the last time we will travel in the tropics during the rainy season. Yes, it's cooler and yes, it's cheaper and yes, it's not overrun with tourists but for a reason. In the rainy season the tropics are a Mess.

In our defense, traveling at this time of year was not our first choice this time. We had to bump our plans back from last spring. We've done the rainy season before, during 2005, the year of Katrina which trashed New Orleans and Wilma which trashed the Yucatán. We were in the Yucatán, under Katrina's outer whips so when Wilma hit, it was the last straw. It chased us off the muddy, trash strewn Caribbean and home with vows to never return in the rainy season. But the fates conspired against us.

Ometepe was miserable. I didn't even get one decent photo of either volcano. Both were shrouded with their cloud forests. The first clue that is was not in peak form was that the ferry terminal was flooded. To disembark, we had to walk across a makeshift sandbag sea wall. I'll insert the photos later. The shuttle driver warned us that the caminos were malo, the roads were bad. Very bad. Mucho agua. Still, we had to see for ourselves. We harbored hopes of finding a tranquil hideaway in spite of it all. But he was right. The water level of Lake Cocibolca is so high from months of rain that the nice sand beaches it is so famous for are all under water, the roads are muddy ruts and the lovely trails winding through the howler monkey jungle are flooded. After a couple hours of grinding through the sludge and visiting soggy hotels we decided to go back to Moyogalpa and return to the mainland on the morning ferry. On the way back, the shuttle got stuck in the mud so, along with the help of some kids and finally the policía nacional who happened by, we helped the driver dig it out.

But it wasn't all bad. Max, the driver, made a week's pay. We managed to get settled in a nice hotel just up from the ferry terminal, moments before the afternoon torrent. And after the rain, we got pizza at a restaurant with a dirt floor, got to sleep early and grabbed the six am ferry for the two hour trip back to the mainland this morning.

After the ferry docked we got a taxi to the bus station. That driver tried to scare us into having him drive us all the way back to Granada, a thirty dollar trip. He told us there wouldn't be a bus for three hours. We ignored him. The Granada bus waiting at the terminal. We hopped on and enjoyed another lovely two hour, two dollar trip back through the trash strewn country side, past countless starving dogs and smoldering piles of household plastics. We got back to Granada in time for breakfast at Nica Buffet, not a buffet but a great hole in the wall cafe owned by Ed, a cheery old Dutch fellow (that's him in white in the left hand side of the photo, who remembers that I like coffee con leche and we both like No. 21, the Nica breakfast of plantains, gallo pinto, and the eggs scrambled. Home. Don't bother to go there from the 4th to the 20th of November. He'll be away on vacation. Possibly the Corn Islands. We may be there too. Anyway, after breakfast we went home to Ernesto's. More about Ernesto later.



Need a happy ending?
Mr. Bones has left the building
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