Monday, 10 November 2008

... Central America: Oh-My-Tepe

A long day of travel from Costa Rica into Nicaragua was the order of the day today. Thankfully we rented a private mini-bus which at least means you can stop for bathroom breaks and food etc. You would also hope that it would save you time on what was billed as a 12 hour travel day... unfortunately for us today was a comedy of errors. If it could go wrong it DID go wrong.


We made a quick pitstop in Liberia. This was when our leader found out he had been a victim of Identity Theft. This meant our 30min quick break for snack/bathroom etc was increased somewhat.

Crossing the border was interesting. We went through the Costa Rica side and then had to walk across to the Nicaraguan side. The actual building where we got our passports stamped was then a further trek across what I can best describe as a desert version of Flanders Field. It was hot, grimy and I was begging for a shower. I also had a huge backpack on my back, one on my front & my day pack in my hand.


Security? Well.... no fancy x-ray machines here. You put your bag on an old rickety wooden table and then hit a button. I wondered if this meant I was going to win a prize. If the 'traffic light' turned green you were good to go. Red and you were supposed to have your bags checked. The latter happened to a few in the group but no-one was around to check so we left.


We were heading to Isla de Ometepe, in the middle of Lago de Nicaragua. It is an island formed by two twin volcanoes. Concepción is an active stratovolcano whilst Maderas has not been active in historical times. Its crater contains a crater lake. To get there we needed to take the ferry - we missed it by about 10 minutes and had to wait 3 hours in San Jorge where we provided food for the local mosquitos. When we finally boarded it was dark but at least the sail across was pretty calm. We even got treated to some awful B-grade 'horror' movie badly dubbed in Spanish about some huge killer snake. I hate horror movies as several of you know but even I was laughing my head off at how bad this was.




Upon landing in Moyogalpa on Ometepe we hit another problem. One of the girls had had her backpack stolen! The Nicaraguan police were actually on top of it very very quickly and started checking all vehicles coming off the ferry. About 30min later they returned with the stolen backpack! I dread to think what they did to the bloke who they found with it. I contemplated how I would perhaps feel had that happened to me and to be honest I don't think I would be angry. You see the people in this country living in absolute poverty and it reminds you that some acts are most certainly done out of sheer desperation.


Our hotel, Finca Santo Domingo, was then another hour plus drive along the worst road I have travelled yet. I hereby solemly do swear not to bitch about Canadian roads again - at least not for the next month, that being the time it will take my spine to recover.

We finally arrived over 14 hours after we had originally left and I headed straight for a cold (there's no hot water here) shower with a gecko.

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