Living la finca loca

Trip Start Sep 07, 2005
Trip End Aug 18, 2006

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Thursday, September 15, 2005

As soon as we got off the boat on the island of Ometepe, we faced yet another long bus ride that took us to the end of a dirt path that was marked with a sign that stated we were near our destination on the island: Finca Magadelina. We hiked for about 30 minutes and chatted with a man on a horse who worked on the farm. His advice was to save a few Cordovas and hire out a pair of Hammocks instead of getting a room. At first his suggestion seemed ludicrous, but upon inspecting the available room we saw the logic of his words. These were low budget accommodation by any standards: we ended up paying 1.25 each of the night. Sleeping in a hammock isn't ideal, of course, but creepy crawlers, which abound in this lush and humid environment, have a harder time getting into your bedding when you are swaying above the ground in the night air.

Surprisingly, we woke the next day feeling cramped but rather refreshed. Our impressions of the Finca, after a decent night of sleep, were these: 1) There are many pigs, cows and dogs on the island, and the seem to have the run of the place, provided they stay out of larger vehicles' way (on our way in, a dog failed to remove himself from the path of our oncoming bus and it plowed into it without hesitation); 2) there is a profusion of all things insect, including many moths the size of small bats and larvae-carrying ants which we feared might make a move to colonize our hammocks; 3) one should not rely on word of mouth regarding bus schedules or distances on the island, particularly in the lead-up to important national holidays. This last lesson was learned on the morning of the 14th, when we awoke to gray skies and muddy trails, which put an end to our hopes to scale Volcan Maderas, the smaller of the two volcanoes. Instead, we opted for a flatter path to a waterfall on the other side of the island - a walk we hoped would be made easier with the assistance of a local bus. So we walked half an hour to the bus stop, yet, no bus forthcoming, we continued on our path. Two hours later, and with no bus in sight, we tried to bribe a local to drive us to the waterfall's trail head (in retrospect, we now think he may have believed us to be offering him just thee dollars for title to his truck). Needless to say, our efforts were unavailing until we were able to convince a Spanish trio to give us a lift, which was much needed after several hours in the sweltering sun.

So at long last, our hike to the waterfall was about to begin. The trail was wet and moderately steep, but all and all fairly easy going. After another 2 hours we came upon our destination and one of three or four main attractions on the island. Much to our surprise, sitting at the top of the trail were a bunch of (you guessed it) Americans. Apparently we had been just a few kilometers behind a group of missionary school teachers from Managua, which included a girl of about 26 who grew up in Colorado Springs. In fact, she went to Lewis Palmer and knew a few of the people we swam with. It is indeed a small world.

The missionaries were generous enough to give a lift back to the Finca, and we were grateful because it was getting dark out. After another night in the hammocks, it was time to get the hell out of the Finca (which was complicated by the festivities accompanying the national day of independence). Indeed, our bus - which we were grateful to see at all - drove right through a parade taking place on the streets of Ometepe. To make a long story short, we grabbed the nearest ferry and headed back to the mainland and toward Granada, where we will meet up with you, loyal readers, the next time we can motivate our travel-weary asses to put electronic pen to paper. Please be in touch!
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