Semana Santa - taking refuge

Trip Start Feb 06, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Tuesday, April 11, 2006

So i've just arrived in Merida on Isla de Ometepe, an island of two volcanos sticking out of Lake Nicaragua. It's really quiet here, which is what i was after at the moment. It's Semana Santa (holy week/easter) which is a big deal here, apparently everyone goes on holidays and then the transport stops, which is bad news for other travellers such as myself. I think i got here just in time, and will be virtually stranded here for a little while. But that's cool cos it's nice here.
I saw the best sunset of my life last night. After a long hot journey here and checking in, I walked out to the dock here where everyone was sitting with beers watching the sun go down. There are a few people here i've met on my trip before so I was happy to see them again. I was instantly refreshed when i got in the water and swam out towards to sunset. It had been cloudy so the sky was various shades of intense reds and oranges, and the Volcano Conception that looms over the lake was capped by a white whippedcream-like peak. The eagles that i've seen constantly during my time in Central America started all heading towards the Volcano, before circling at it's base. As they flew over my head their silhouettes reminded me of the fruit bats of Sydney flying out of the Botanical Gardens on a summer evening.
It's been fairly lazy here, usually with a big walk or a horseride for a few hours during the day followed by more relaxing. In the evening we usually went to a little comedor nearby for big serves of cheap, good typical Nicaraguan food, sometimes accompanied with music played by the owner (when he's not too drunk) and his friends. We were played a song called 'Emily' they wrote for an American tourist who got lost up the volcano and died. Apparently a few tourists who went without guides have been lost in the last few years, or caught in an eruption or something...
So naturally a group of us (with a guide) climbed up the Volcano Maderas and over to the other side of the island. Maderas is the smaller of the two volcanos that make up Ometepe (around 1300m high), inactive, covered in dense undisturbed cloud forest, with a crater lake in the middle. The walk was tough and took about 9 hours in total, including a break relaxing next to the lake. It was steep, muddy, and hard going through the jungle but worth it.
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