Still in Granada

Trip Start Jul 20, 2004
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Trip End Jul 20, 2014


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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Sunday, September 26, 2004

So, let's continue the story where I left off yesterday.....
We made ourselves comfortable at Wesley's lace and started interviewing him about his and that. We decided to use the lodge as a base to explore the neighborhoods as it was not sure that we can find a family to stay with. Later the day, we visited the villages of Raitipura and Awas, about 30 minutes from Pearl Lagoon. People were washing their clothes, their dogs ad themselves in the rivers and lagoons. They seemed to be happy, always smiling, always a "hello" or "buenas" ready. In Awas, a community of 34 Miskito families, we met Orlando Leonidos Forbes Jimenez, a guide who has been trained by the Bluefields department of tourism. Orlando speaks Spanish, English, Creole and Miskito. We discussed hiring him as a guide for 1/2 day to take us to the neighboring Miskito village of Kakabila. We also arranged to have breakfast and lunch with his family the next day. Orlando told us that he has guided people before and that people can stay in his house, i was just not sure where. The house was a depilated wooden structure with a table and 2 small benches. The kitchen was in a smaller house next to the living quarter. Orlando and his wife had 3 kids, a new baby kitten that cried the entire time because it was hungry (so we fed it coconut flesh) and a skinny dog. He didn't want to accept payment as this would be bad luck for him. So it was left to us to figure out what we would pay him. That evening, we attended 2 church services, one in Awas which featured a very passionate priest and where i felt guilty to leave the services before it finished. The other service was in Pearl Lagoon and there people where singing and clapping and had a jolly good time. In both laces, we were the only 2 white people.

Monday morning, we left at 7:30 to head over to Awas to meet Orlando. For breakfast, we had fried fish, platanos, bread and coffee. Then we jumped into the little boat and started off on our journey to Kakabila. This was hard work...... Orlando poled the boat halfway across the lagoon, once it got too deep for poling we paddled. The paddles were made out of wood and i had to change sides constantly as they got heavy. It took us about 2 hours to get to Kakabila, there we had our 2 coconuts and that was it regarding food and drinks. We were stupid enough not to take enough water with us, we only had two small bottles which were gone 1/2 hour after we left kakabila. We visited the miskito community of Kakabila where about 50 families live. Most of the houses were wood shacks, but the had a solid built health clinic and 2 new beautiful concrete houses. People are living off of fishing, including turtles, and farming crops such as yucca, bananas, coconuts. The village has lots of chickens, cows, and dogs.

As in Awas, kakabila and other Lagoo communities are looking into developing their communities into tourist attractions offering home stays, home cooking, cabañas, horseback riding and boat tours. On the way back from Kakabila, I worked my butt off poling. I had figured out the best strategy for poling and it went pretty smooth - pretty smooth up to the point when my hands started to hurt and i was dying of thirst. Then, Orlando took over and I rested until i got ready for the paddle. Thirsty and exhausted, but happy, we arrived in Awas where we were served a delicious meal of boiled and fried fish and lots of cooked yucca and bananas (boiled in coconut milk and fish broths). It was soooo yummy. We paid for the service and it seemed that Orklando was happy with it. Sine he didn't ask for money, we paid him according to the fees for guide and food service that applies to UCA Miraflor. We would have liked to come back another day but had no money since the banks were closed and we needed to be back in Bluefields by Wednesday as I was planning on taking the Wednesday ferry to Corn Island. So, we left Pearl Lagoon at 6am on Wednedasy, got to Bluefields where we were told that the ferry left for the cayman Islands to help Nicas affected by the hurricane. The next ferry would not leave until Friday afternoon This took care of my plan of going to Corn island, and I decided to head back to Managua with Patricia. After breakfast we headed to the airport were we took a small plane to Managua. Two more days in Managua and time to wash laundry in a real washing machine (the entire time in Nicaragua i have been washing clothes by hand), eat good German food, explore Managua a bit (there is nothing worth mentioning except the cathedral which was damaged by the 1972 earthquake).

On Friday, I left Managua for Granada where I have been staying at a nice hostel called "The Bearded Monkey". Here, I met my friends Sarah and Kiko again, whom i first met in Guatemala, and we had a wonderful evening of conversation, food, beer (6 liters of beer between us three). It was so great seeing them again and chatting about our adventures. They are on their way to Brasil and I hope our ways will cross again somewhere. In Granada, I toured the town which is beautiful with al its colonial splendor and great location at the lake. Set on the western shore of Lago de Nicaragua some 45 km southeast of Managua, Granada was once the jewel of Central America. Founded in 1524 Granada is the oldest colonial city on the Isthmus; that heritage adds to the charm and character of the place today.

The Río San Juan which runs from the 'Great Lake' to the Caribbean is a centuries old route for traders and pirates alike. Much of old Granada's' considerable wealth was generated from the gold which passed through the city towards Europe. The Granada gold reserves were regularly sacked by English and French Buccaneers until the city wisely constructed the fortress of San Pablo, strategically placed on an Isleta (small island) opposite the city. This fortress can still be visited today and is a popular tourist attraction, as are the tours taking enchanted onlookers around the 365 Diminutive Islands off Granada's shore.

Today's Granada is a delightful town with most of the amenities of the capital but none of the hustle and bustle. It's streets are lined with Spanish-style houses with large wooden doors opening onto cool interior patios. Granada is a wonderful walking city, with most attractions within a six-block radius and the lake a 15 minute walk from Hostel Oasis.

I went up volcano Mombacho and saw lots of howler monkeys and hummingbirds. Tomorrow, I will leave for Isla de Ometepe.
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