Nicaragua Winter 2015 Post 2 January 31 – February 5 – Laguna de Apoyo, Grenada, Juigalpa
This is Deni posting. We are sitting on the balcony of a hotel in the small town of Juigalpa to the east of Lake Nicaragua. I’m sipping a glass of Barefoot Merlot – honestly, you can find that brand anywhere! The birds are making such a racket in the trees that they almost drown out the incessant sound of drums and music coming from the main plaza across the street. Across the way are the cliffs of Serrania Amerrisque – some of them looking like Half Dome. We arrived here today after renting a car in Granada and driving through many small, very sad towns. Our ultimate goal is San Carlos and the Rio San Juan. We are taking our time getting there.
When we last posted, we were heading to Laguna de Apoyo, which turned out to be as lovely as claimed – but no where near as beautiful as our own Crater Lake. We spent three days there, relaxing in hammocks, walking, eating, drinking rum-based drinks (me), and trying to slow down our North Amercian vibe. The highlight of our time there was a walk through the forest that culminated in a lovely small bay where we could swim without having to brave the waves of the lake proper. As an added bonus, there were howler monkeys. They were very upset at our presence – could it be because I kept making rude faces and gestures?
Tuesday, Feb. 3, we went by taxi to beautiful Granada. We spent two days there – walking through the city, visiting museums and churches, and taking a boat tour of Las Isletas, the high point of our trip so far. Purportedly, there are 365 of these tiny islands (one for each day of the year, I guess). Some rich people live in isolated splendor on some of them. Others are inhabited by fisher folk. We got a kick out of seeing primary schools on some of the wee islands – imagine taking a boat to school! One even had a lighted playing field. Baseball is very popular here, so I guess that’s what was played there.
Tomorrow we continue toward the jungle river – San Juan. We may stop overnight at San Miguelito, which is the gateway to a wetlands reserve. Lots of orchids and bromiliads in the canopy of trees that are hip-deep in water according to Lonely Planet. If we do stop there, we’ll continue on the next day to a lodge in the jungle along the river. If we don’t stop in San Miguelito, we’ll probably go to San Carlos, stay there overnight, and then head into the jungle. Having a car makes travel a little easier. We haven’t had a rental car for any of our foreign trips since we were in Puerto Rico many years ago. But Nicaragua is small, the roads are good, and it seemed a good place to try the car thing again. Of course, the drivers are as crazy here as in Africa and other places in South and Central America. What is it about a blind curve that is clearly marked “no passing” that makes these folks pass? Is it some sort of strange death wish? We are keeping to the speed limit, which is another thing that seems to make the drivers here crazy.
Coop is doing fine, even with two broken ribs. The man is a amazing.
As I look at the vista I’m seeing another omnipresent statue of Sandino. It makes me think about the whole Iran/Contra thing and the US’s role in trying to suppress the Sandinista movement. What a stupid thing for our government to have done. What was accomplished other than many lives lost. The Sandinistas eventually triumphed, the country did not fall apart, doom did not come to Central America, and the lovely people of Nicaragua have forgiven us. Will we ever learn?