Night of the Tree Frogs

Trip Start Jul 21, 2012
Trip End Aug 09, 2012

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Friday, July 27, 2012

After another sweaty and bitey night in Granada, I had a cold shower and packed up my wares again ready to voyage on.  I went for breakfast at Euro Cafe.....I had a big fat empanada stuffed with eggs, bacon, peppers and cheese.  Very tasty.  Feeling sated, I went back to the hostel and paid my dues and then hung about waiting for the shuttle bus to Treehouse Poste Rojo, a hostel located on the edge of the cloud forest part way up Mombacho volcano..  

Eventually the van arrived as did a few fellow gringos to make the voyage with me.  Ricksacks were strapped to the roof and we were loaded into the back of the transit van.....very cosy and a bit steamy.  Voyaging with me was a pair of Swiss sisters, an aussie girl and 4 other brits.  The aussie and one of the brits were very hungover, which was quite good as wasn't really looking for party action.  We drove about half an hour out of Granada then veered off the main road onto dirt tracks running through fields.  We pulled up at the bottom of a big hill which I looked at with sadness knowing that I had to drag my gubbins up it.  I puffed and panted my way up the hill and we dumped our stuff off in the dorm - a rustic wooden construction on stilts that looked nicely full of creepy crawlies.  

After securing our bags (local thieves have begun to view the hostel as a Pick-Your-Own and reportedly swipe anything left unguarded) there was another hill to climb up so I took everything I would be needing for the afternoon - book, water and camera.  The top of the hill lay the treehouse, a rather wonderful construction that also included a treetop walkway to the 'yoga room' and a series of swings and platforms.  After registering my details, I grabbed a comfy roost and had a good read and a sleep to overcome all the hills.  Not wanting to do any more walking up hills, options were limited here and I was quite happy to chill and take in the jungle ambience.  Echoing around the hillside were wonderful jungly noises....tweeting and clicking, humming and best of all, howler monkeying in the distance!  The trees were lovely too and there were fantastic ones, yellow ones, black ones with little white spots all as big as your hand.  In amongst the foliage there were also little birds of bright colours (no parrots though).  I had a thoroughly chilled and relaxing afternoon and took some nice pics.  

As evening approached it was time to lie in a hammock and drink a cold beer!  The hostel staff prepared a fajita feast for us so when that was ready we ate!  It was also supposedly free rum punch night so some fairly minging rum concoction was prepared, thankfully in only modest quantities.  After dinner, one of the volunteer workers found us a red-eyed tree frog to look at....funny looking creature with little sucker feet!  He politely let us pass him round, demonstrating his leaping skills and posing for photos.  Thoroughly pissed off, he was then liberated back into his jungle.  That was definitely the high point of the night.  The rest of the eve was spent drinking beers and exchanging travelling tales.  The others were all pleasant enough folk, sharing the commonality that we all chose to come to Nicaragua of all places for our holiday / travels.  

After a treacherous slightly tipsy trek back down the cliff to the dorm we found that guests had moved in during the day - the girl in the bed next to me had a huge spider in her bunk bed. One of the blokes gave it the flip flop treatment, which only resulted in relocating it into the dark so we had to try and snooze off in full knowledge that 6 inches of spider was loose in the room.  

Nonetheless, I had a nice sleep - it was slightly cooler up in the forest than down in Granada so was nice and snug.  I didn't see any jaguars, although they have been known to stray from the cloud forest.  No tapirs either.  In the early hours we did have a loud monkey chorus from very nearby.  I should have gone out to have a look, but was too asleep.  Bit sad that I didn't actually see the howler monkeys, but its nice to know they were there and so close.  

In the morning, I packed up my things and made the uphill trek back to the treehouse for some fruit and granola tuck for breakfast, retrieved my passport then hitched a lift with the owner back into Granada with some of the others.  I said my good byes and wandered off in search of a bus to Managua.  

I spent the middle part of the day on buses, firstly to Managua and then a comfy air conditioned minivan from Managua to Leon.  Not a lot remarkable about the journey.  The landscape was very interesting....lots of volcanoes in the distance.  Managua seemed like a large and unpleasant urban sprawl.  Lots of businesses lined the road from multinational names like Papa Johns pizza and McDonalds to mop shops and queso stalls.  I couldn't see any obvious residential areas although there must be some a over half the population of Nicaragua live in the capital city.  On the way out of Granada we passed some cowboy fiesta with a brass band and a whole line of gauchos onboard their horses and some jubilant gunfire.  The journey terminated at Leon bus station.  Not as immediately taken by Leon as Granada....seems dirtier.  I got a taxi with a nice lady who could speak a bit of English.    I've checked into a hostel called Sonati that is a not-for-profit organisation that uses the money it takes for environmental and social projects, helping to educate street kids.  It seems like a nice, laid back and sociable place.  Am going to suss out tour options in a mo to hopefully get some volcano action in!  Really want to see volcano and lava, but the idea of hills is still a bit traumatic....
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