Snakes on a plain

Trip Start Jan 18, 2013
Trip End May 18, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of Nicaragua  , Rivas,
Thursday, March 7, 2013

Our adventure to Ometepe began in San Jose, Costa Rica. We caught a 9 hour bus ride to a place called Rivas and from there we hopped on the slowest ferry of all time and made our way across Lake Nicaragua to the island of Ometepe. 

Ometepe is a strange place. A quick geography lesson on this little island is required I feel. It was formed by two volcanoes erupting in the middle of a lake, and that's all I have time for as I'm sure you are already bored. The attraction to the place is that you can hike up the volcanoes, kayak in a wetland (kayaking in a dry land would be a feat), swim in clear pools, get blown over by a 30 club wind and most importantly, you have a chance of seeing the illusive sharks of Lake Nicaragua. 

As we travelled so far in one day to get there, we arrived in the evening which is never ideal. The place we were staying at was a place that prided itself on sustainability. It was actually 100% overboard committed to being green, to the point where the toilets were long drops that used sawdust as a method of flushing, the rooms were made out of plants, the owner had bushes under her arms and you had to trek for hours to get to your plant hut. This made the night arrival a bad idea, but choice was not ours so we put on our big girl panties and finally found our room and met all our fellow roommate bugs that we would be sharing the next few nights with. 

After we had finished our introductions and got through the small talk with our bug mates we found a place to eat and then hit the hay, so to speak. And by 'hay' I don't mean sawdust - although we did eventually hit that as we had no other options - I mean our beds that were made out of leaves and small grass cuttings. 

On day one we rented a scooter and decided to do a self guided island tour. Son was the tour guide and I was the driver. We didn't have the luxury of a microphone, but as we were so close to each other we didn't really need one. On this day our tour guide was in quite the adventurous mood and she decided to take us on a real backstreet tour - and by backstreet tour I don't mean Backstreets Back Alright! We headed to the main town on the island called Muyugulpa - but we managed to take a road that was made for cows and Land Rovers, so it took us hours. Our scooter was also in a bad place before we had begun so it was an uncomfortable journey to say the least. When we eventually got to Muyugulpa we were surprised to find an extremely rural place that wasn't what you would expect from a main city - Jolling! It was exactly what we expected as Ometepe is the back bone and pioneer of rurality (just made that word up). 

Finally after what felt like a lifetime on the spine of a poorly manufactured scooter, we made it home. It was at this point when I met the Lady from the Hairy Armpit Factory. Sheesh kebabs its hard to concentrate on a conversation when two George W's like that hit your eye radar - but I managed to get through it and she went on to tell me that she had no room on her animal farm for the next few nights, as we were hoping to stay longer. She then arranged us an alternative for the coming nights which turned out to be exactly what we needed. 

Anyway, that night we were quietly sitting outside reading our books (like two pensioners) when all of a sudden the Linguist yelled out 'Oh mi Dios'. I turned and saw the back of a massive snake entering our room. Sonny headed straight for high ground and jumped up onto the windowsill. It took a few seconds to sink in, and as it did we realised the dilemma that had just presented itself. It was a major dilemma, as we couldn't really wait outside for him to exit as we were in the middle of nowhere in the bush, we couldn't just pop up to reception as it was a two day hike to get there and we probably would struggle to spend the night in that room. Being the only male for miles I did what I had to do and I entered the room and wrangled the snake to the ground, milked its teeth, made my own anti venom and sent him on his merry way. In all honesty, I just opened the door and got some eye contact onto it. You should never let the truth get in the way of a good story. As we had recently been at that rescue centre in Costa Money, we had seen this exact critter in their centre and true as Bob it was the most poisonous one that they had on offer - it was a Coral snake. 

Decisions needed to be made, so Sonran packed her overnight bag, some supplies, a compass, her field ears and headed for the reception and I followed the snake around the room. After about 20 minutes Son returned with the male owner by which stage I had made my way outside and had my torch shining on the snake as he moved around the outside of our room. Being the most green humans I expected him to bag the snake and release it later, but nope, he went straight ahead and killed it. I was shattered but Son was relieved and I guess I can understand why. That night was spent in fear and we smashed zero Z's. 

The next day, we were up really early as we hadn't yet fallen asleep. We then went on a kayaking trip to a wetland off the lake and met a cool British couple who had an epic fight on their kayak - it's not easy kayaking as a couple, we've even had our share of paddle battles. In the wetland we saw amazing bird life, alligators and a man in square toed shoes. It was a super day out. We didn't happen to see any Bull Sharks to my disappointment. On that note, no one in Ometepe is sure of their existence. Some say that they have seen them, others say that the Japs killed them all but no one is sure of the truth. If you are bored there is a really cool article on Wiki about it, saying that sharks have been caught in the lake, tagged and subsequently caught in the Caribbean Sea. Either way you look at it, it makes for a interesting story. 

After the kayaking we moved into our new accommodation which was more than 5 star. Smiles were being thrown around by the dozen. We were so comfortable that we laughed the half day volcano tour off. Maybe this was a shortsighted decision, but we had seen enough wildlife for one trip and there were continental pillows that needed lying on.
The following day we said goodbye to Ometepe and headed for Granada. We had heard amazing things about Granada, so we had no choice but to make the trip. Unfortunately the hostel we booked in Granada was far from the main plaza, but we managed to find the nice parts and had a cool time eating quality cheap food and watched a live band play to a sell out crowd of 3 humans and a bar tender. I'm sure if we had stayed in a better location we would have loved it more. 

After two days in Granada we packed our bags and headed for a small place off the east coast of Nicaragua, called the Corn Islands. 

Next up is a slice of paradise, a flooded camera, getting lost on an island the size of Darona's big toe and finding our favorite city to date. 
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