Boat Trip on Rio Frio and on to Nicaragua

Trip Start Feb 01, 2012
Trip End Feb 21, 2012

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What I did
Rio Frio

Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Monday, February 6, 2012

I already wrote this but I don't want to look it up again so maybe I will start again and fill in when I read what I wrote.

I got up at 6 am to go on Lou's birdwalk.  I need to check with someone else to find out what we saw.  There was a flycatcher, hummingbird, or was that yesterday, some clay-colored robins, hmmmm, what else?  Lou helped me look for the bats under a concrete pool in the hotel garden but I couldn't see them in the dark interior.  I went back to the room and got ready for the boat ride.

The boat ride on the Rio Frio was quite nice.  We saw lots of birds and lots of caimans, one or two basilisks (green lizards), and some iguanas high up on two dead trees.  I have a list of birds that I went over with Lou at the border while we were waiting.  There were several kinds of herons, stilts, roseate spoonbill and lots of egrets.  At the very end it rained a bit.  When we saw the caimans, the boat got quite close and they were on the other side from me.  Clare got splashed twice.  I noticed that I don't have any photos of Clare getting splashed by the caiman whipping its tail in the water.

After the boat trip, we packed up and paid up and left the Hotel de Campo, owned by a Swiss man with his Costa Rican wife and holding his little son as he waved goodbye to us.  We left at 11 am and had lunch in a small town with a western look - lots of cowboys.  Upala was the name of the town.  I had a nice combo plate of plaintains, chicken and rice. 

The landscape today was similar to what we saw yesterday - a lot of small holdings with livestock and fruit trees, gardens.  There were also some orange groves, and pineapple plantations.  We even saw a couple of pineapples - there didn't seem to be that many around.  I forgot to mention the Hotel de Campo's garden - there were lots of fruit trees including a starfruit with ripe fruit.  There were some other odd ones that I have never seen before.  One, I think, Lou said the fruit was good for diabetes.

Lou talked a bit about life in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  In Nicaragua, 40% of the men die of kidney failure.  They think this is because of low water consumption while working in the fields and high alcohol consumption.  Also, Lou said that despite the relatively high percentage of Christian population (Catholicism has lost ground to the evangelical religions), civil marriages prevail over religious ones.  In at least one of the countries, you can't get divorced if you get married in church.  Otherwise it is easy to get divorced - you can do it in an hour or so.  And both married men and women carry on affairs with others - as Lou described the Peyton Place of her two next door neighbors.  This was all part of our briefing and question and answer during the bus ride.

We had a different bus for this day of travel only.  Our driver did a fantastic job of maneuvering between vehicles at the border crossing.   It was sort of interesting that the border procedures were different.  Lou had special attention in Costa Rica so we whizzed through.  On the Nicaraguan side there seemed to be more bureaucracy.  When we were ready to leave, the bus would not start and we needed a push to jump-start it. There were huge lines of trucks with cargo and Lou said sometimes it can take the driver a week to get through.

We finished at the border around 5 pm I think and made it to the hotel a little after 6 pm.  Lou was going to one of her recommended restaurants that specialized in seafood - El Titon - no, but something like that.  Clare and I rushed through cold showers to get ready and were only a little late.  We joined Jane and Naomi.  I had lobster and it was fantastic.  It came with potatoes and a big vegetable salad.  There are always too many onions in the salad, though, for me.  Andrew joined us and we stayed and chatted for quite awhile before walking back to the hotel.  I am now in the hotel reception typing this up on my blog while listening to the waves hit the shore.  I forgot to mention that we are a block from the beach.  This will be our only beach visit.

Oh, I also forgot the part about traveling past two volcanoes and Lake Managua with its two volcanoes and also the part about there being horses and cattle on the small farms.  I am going to send this without reading it because it is 11 pm and everyone else has left, including Clare, and since the room locks automatically, I need to get back before she falls asleep.  So good-night for now.  Last few days have been fun - I have seen lots of birds but wish I had brought my telephoto lens for the Nikon.

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