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

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Where I stayed
What I did
Central Market, Granada Nicaragua
Lake Nicaragua Boat Tour
Mombacho Canopy Tour

Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We got up in plenty of time to get to the Chocolate Museum before 7 am when it opened.  I think our desire was not based on obtaining information about chocolate as much as the promise of a nice breakfast - which we had.  Clare and I joined Jan & Kay and then others came as well.  We paid for our buffet, got coffee and juice, then the buffet that included hash browns, gallo pinto, corn tortillas, pineapple, papaya and watermelon and something else I think.  Then a woman came around and asked what we wanted???   I thought I already had everything but no, they made omelets or eggs however you wanted, pancakes, waffles, and crepes with the fruit of your choice.  I ended up with an onion and chili omelet and chocolate crepe.  It all was very good - so much so that I overate.  I looked at the chocolate museum exhibits before leaving to go back to the hotel.

At 8:30 we were picked up for the Mombacho canopy tour.  Quite a few of us went on it so we had a van ride over to the volcano park and were fitted up with harnesses, helmets and gloves.  I can't remember now if we drove to the start of the zip-line, or not.  In any case, we walked up some steps, got clipped onto a cable and one by one, set off.  Jan was the first to go because of her arm problem and she had one of the zip-line guys with her.  They offered to do this if we were nervous.  I can't remember who went next, but my turn came and I had to jump up holding the cable while they clipped me to the line.  I slid down, fast but not too fast, but it was hard to resist the urge to put on the brake, especially as I neared the end.  They were yelling there not to put on the brake - that is drag your gloved hand on the cable in back of you.  If you stopped too soon, you would have to pull yourself along and that would necessitate a fair bit of effort.  And slow the process so others would have to wait longer for their turns.

Then they offered us the superman, or superchica, position - flying face down.  (Or, in my case and maybe a few others', it was supermama - I bet it was our age...)  I didn't go first and they could only do two people on each zip line so we had turns.  My turn finally came up and it was better, I thought, than the regular way.  You didn't really see much either way - it was more for the fun of zipping past the tree tops.  We did 8 lines I think - the longest was 300 meters and none was over a river, cliff or canyon but great fun anyway.  The guys were lots of fun too - joking and playing around.  They took photos of us all with all of our cameras and we will share them at some point once we get email addresses.  Kerry got my facebook address.  (After getting home, Leigh set up a private facebook group where we could share photos.  Between this and some emailed photos, I added to the zipline pics I already had on my camera.)  On the last run, we got bounced around and on another of them you could go upside-down but only Jane and maybe one other person chose that position.  That Jane is a real dare-devil!

We got back to the hotel around 11:30.  Clare was going to the children's home.  I went with David for a walk around town.  He was nice and helped me find the post office, then the market, and finally some post cards.  The last were the hardest to find.  In the meantime, we went into a couple of churches, including the cathedral I think.  The cathedral wasn't very special, but there was another church that was plain inside but had pastel colors and was very pleasant.  I am not sure at what time we decided to stop walking and get a drink (I wanted a drink) and David was hungry so we stopped at the Garden Restaurant once we found it.  I had a great smoothie and some bruchetta that was good.  They played folk, blues and maybe jazz music.  Definitely a crunchy-granola kinda place.

Back to the hotel to regroup for the boat ride on Lake Nicaragua.  First we had a pony trap ride to the lake.  One of the horses ran into a problem when a car forced it off the road.  Then a second horse could not stop because of the slippery pavement and crashed into the first horse.  The owner of the horses was very anxious maybe because somehow Roger was driving one of the carts and someone said David was driving another (although he was not).  Once off the carts at the lake shore, we got on a motorboat with a canopy and rode around the islands near Granada.  The lake is huge and you can't see the other side.  Lou lives on the southern shore I think in the mountains.  She said there is a ferry that goes across a few times a week and takes 10 hours.  We saw quite a few birds - I mostly saw egrets.  There was one tree filled with them that is called the Christmas tree.  There was also a huge tree with dozens of nests of the oropendola (or something like that), there were some green herons sighted and some jacanas.  I can't remember any others - or the white-breasted something something that we saw at the border and a kingfisher - I think I missed that one too.  There was a teeny island that someone bought and brought spider monkeys to live on and we saw some of those.  A few came quite close to the boat and posed for us.

Otherwise, Lou pointed out some of the islands owned by famous people:  the owners of the Flor de Cana rum distillery; a woman president who is the widow of the journalist killed which started the revolution; the family that owns a not-very-good coffee company; and several owned by people from the US.  I think I missed some because we certainly saw a lot of islands.  There were mangoes on some of the trees and there was another tree with fruit that neither people nor monkeys eat.  We saw some pretty trees on the islands and some water lettuce and hyacinths.  The water hyacinths cause problems in the rainy season.  During the rainy season, the level of the water may go up 15 meters and the houses that we saw get flooded - or many of them.

I am writing this up between the boat trip and our dinner excursion to some local restaurant serving cheap typical Nicaraguan food.  This will be at 7.  since I don't have internet here in the room, I can't check the time on the computer.  I'll have to look at my phone.

We had our group dinner where Lou had suggested.  Things got a little weird when some musicians came in and started playing at our tables.  It was kind of loud and people didn't want them there.  The musicians moved to another table that enjoyed them more.  The maracas man came and started making customized maracas.  Jane showed me hers so I had a pair made too.  I think they are quite nice with the volcano and turtle.  I wanted a bat but the man said that it would be too ugly and he didn't want to do it.  Some people went out for drinks but I came back here again to the hotel to get internet and work on my blog.  I uploaded some photos but don't have a good one of me on the zip-line yet.  Hope I can get some of the others.  Now my arm itches.  I hope I didn't get a mosquito bite because I did put on repellent.

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