11 November 2009


Without having much time to spend, K. and I focused our Nicaraguan travels on the most spectacular natural wonder: the Isla de Ometepe. This island is composed of two volcanoes around 1500m tall, one of which is still active. The tops of the volcanoes are usually covered with clouds. We hiked to the top of Volcano Meridan because it has lush cloudforest covering, more wildlife, and a lake at the top. Despite view-blocking clouds, the hike was terrific.

We stayed at a very interesting place: a Sandista-built organic coffee/cacao co-operative. How heavenly! History, politics, nature and chocolate in one place! The coffee/cacao operations are still running strong, while us backpackers occupied a side building that used to be used for housing workers. Conditions were less than desirable, but we only paid $8/night for a private "matrimonial" room and the grounds/gardens were quite tranquil.

Going to Nicaragua was a reminder of our times in Guatemala: a formerly war-torn country trying to recover and  limit violence, little industrial base, cheap prices and good local food, efficient and cheap chicken buses, and friendly people (even if we were a little more guarded). Nicaragua seems to be more politically active/aware, with everything from huge political banners to "revolucion" still spray painted everywhere.

Nicaragua is the largest of Central American countries. Like almost every other country, it has a sordid relationship with the US. This story is probably more well known as it led to the infamous Iran-Contra Affair, in which Oliver North took the fall for Reagan.In short, we supported anti-Sandista factions in exchange for them supplying Iranian extremists with weapons, which we were legally unable to do. Hmm, I guess Bush did study history. What is less well-known is that my first kiss was with Oliver North's daughter. Never mind that we were in pre-school, it was still big news.

The crater lake and views were obstructed by the clouds that typically sit on top of the volcano. But hey, we had the place to ourselves!

The hike through the cloud forest was fantastic. Dense growth, dwarf trees, gnarly trail...

The view from our "rustic" dwelling place - Finca Magdalena.

Rigid bike on old dirt road, bad brakes, three speeds if you're lucky, balloon tires, jeans and a tank top - what is this, Marin County 1979?

Art on the wall of our open-air ramshackle of a home. Loads of history and character.

1 comment:

  1. Danny, the picture of the volcano is awesome!