A heavy burden

Trip Start Jan 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 05, 2007

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Despite my propensity for scattering my belongs along my travel route,
I have now managed to make my bag very heavy again. On Sunday, I left
Tedster in Teguz on a 6am bus to Managua and met Lol at the airport,
fresh off her three stop, x-country red eye.  Uggg.  Even I
havenīt had the joy of that many flights overnight!  We
immediately got the hell out of Managua, which like the majority of
Central American capital cities, is a pit.  We hopped a bus for
Granada, an old Spanish colonial city south of Managua on Lake
Nicaragua.  Lol had come through with resupplies - new water
shoes, convertible pants (I bought them on REI.com in La Ceiba. 
Isnīt internet commerce amazing?) and loads of US dollars
I had burned through all my green backs and its always a good idea to
have a stable currency in your possession down here (remember the
currency debacle in Guatemala?).  And when I say dollars, I mean
actual ONE DOLLAR bills.  She quite rightfully, heard that it was
good to carry small bills in this part of the world and since I had
requested she bring $200 in cash with her, she did so - 200, crisp,
freshly minted, hot-off-the-presses-so-they-stick-together, one dollar
bills!  You woulda thought she robbed the īVu on her way outta
town!  Anyway, stacks of cash in hand, we arrived in Granada on
Sunday afternoon.  Granada was the capital of ĻconservativeĻ Nicaragua,
often waging war with the more ĻliberalĻ Leon in the north of the
country (Leon was the hub of the Sandanista movement in the
80īs).  Much of the city was burned in the 1800īs by this wacky
American and Napoleon wannabe, William Walker.  He was hired by
the libīs from Leon and with a much smaller force, easily defeated the
right-wingers from Granada.  After the unexpected victory, he
declared himself the president of Nicaragua and ruled the country for
two years before the locals realized he was certifiable and kicked him
back to the States.  Unfortunately for Granada, he torched the
place on the way out of town.  Regardless, what survived is a
beautiful example of colonial Central America, with a myriad of
brightly colored building facades and horse drawn carriages that arenīt
just for romance seeking tourists but are actually used as taxis by
locals.  And unlike Antigua, it isnīt yet overrun by gringos,
which makes it all the more pleasing and authentic.  On Monday, we
went to Masya, a market town near Granada.  This is where my bag was
refueled!  We came home with a hammock, several small paintings, a
beautiful sundress for my little niece, locally made jewelry galore and
the creme de la creme: a ceramic chicken and pig, each for less than
$.20.  If you canīt travel with ceramic farm animals, why
travel, I ask?  The market was typically central american - rows and rows
of stalls selling everything from clothing and shoes to pigs feet, auto
parts to stuffed frogs, dog food to . . . ceramic farm animals! 
Between Lolīs keen eye and my Spanish negotiating skills, we had a lot
of fun and came away with some great stuff for cheap. Monday night, we
ran into some friends I made on Utila - the backpacker network in
action again!  Tuesday we spent the day at Lake Apolo, a crater
lake near Granada that last erupted 20,000 years ago.  There
wasnīt much to do but enjoy the lake on a kayak and relax in a hammock
with a cold cerveza.  Wednesday, we packed up and headed south
along the lake to the ĻIsla de PazĻ (Island of Peace), Ometepe. 
More to come on our time there. . .
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