Flor de Cana or "Floor" de Cana?

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Sunday, December 5, 2010

20 hours.  20 HOURS!!!!!

That is how long we were sat on the bus to Nicaragua.

As we came through Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, we were surprised to find the place lit up like Las Vegas in celebration of Christmas. The lights were impressive, with every available palm tree trunk covered in multicoloured twinklers.

On the advice of other travellers and the guide books we made our way directly through Managua, ending our journey in Granada.  Granada is a beautiful colonial city, located on the edge of the huge Lago de Nicaragua, which is home to some 300 or so islands. 

Although we did not find the lake beautiful, it was worth seeing its sheer massiveness.  So awesome is it, looking out over the horizon the lake resembles a sea and it even has a tide.  Yet, taste the water and you'll find it free from salt.

Granada is quite spectacular, a real feast for the senses.  It is awash with colours and there are people bustling everywhere.  The market place is alive with bodies and brightly coloured materials, jewellery, fruits and spices.  At every turn another vendor thrusts something else in your face, from a pair of maracas to bird-shaped whistles carved from wood.  Would I like to buy a bowl?  No gracias.  How about a pirate copy DVD, or miniature bongo?  No gracias.

On one of our days here I ventured into the wilderness with two other Londoners, Sophie and Andy, who knew two ex-colleagues from Focus PR (small world).  We had decided to do an hour and half trek to Lago de Apoyo which had been recommended by the hostel reception. 

Unfortunately, having trekked through a shanty town and survived, over fields and fields, climbed down a dry gorge, through a dry river bed which looked like it may be used as a sewer and then ended up in a forest with signs all around saying "Privado", four hours in, I managed to convince my companions that perhaps we ought to give up.  We’d obviously taken the wrong turning and I was worried about being shot quite frankly.

After scrambling high and low through dense forest we managed to find our way out and luckily a man with a tuc tuc appeared like magic who was willing to take us back to civilisation for a negotiated fee before we all passed out from sun stroke and dehydration.

Having lived in relative luxury in Granada, it was a bit of a shock arriving on Isla Ometepe in the middle of Lago de Nicaragua.  Described in the guide booked as “unspoiled”, we had not foreseen that this actually meant, “virtually untouched by the civilised world”.  The journey to Finca Magdalena was hilarious.  So bad are the roads, they can hardly qualify as roads.  They are not even tracks.  Camilla and I looked at each other incredulous throughout the ordeal praying the vehicle wouldn’t tip onto its side.  How our bags didn't fall from the roof, I don't know.

To follow was a night spent in nothing more than a stable huddled under a mosquito net, eyes wide looking out for enormous spiders.  I don’t think either of us had more than 2 hours sleep and we were in the first taxi out of there at 7.30am the next morning.

Onto San Juan del Sur where we had hoped for a bit more but unfortunately ended up in a hostel which, in my view, was worse than sleeping in the island jungle stables with all the crawlies.

It was the best place we could find but on closer inspection we found the room to be alive with dust mites, fleas and god knows what else, while the bathroom absolutely wreaked of shite, which we soon discovered was the smell of the water coming from the tap.  Furthermore, the walls and shower were caked in mould.  The whole place was absolutely disgusting.

Therefore, Camilla and I decided the best plan of action in terms of coping would be to get as bolloxed as possible on our latest Nicaraguan discovery, Flor de Cana.  Quite aptly named as the “floor” is where I ended up.  

Very early the next morning I was rather poorly at the Costa Rican border and carried an injury on my foot which I was not to know yet, would later turn septic, causing me the most inconvenient amount of pain and Camilla an even more inconvenient amount of time having to listen to me moan on and on and on about my bloody foot which now looks like a swollen mass of leaking grossness.  So spectacular it looks that I have documented its state in photographic evidence.

All in all, I’m afraid Camilla and I weren’t wholly impressed with Nicaragua.  Yes, we are travelling.  But let’s face it.  Slumming it just isn’t my thing, so I probably wouldn’t visit again.  Or not for another 30 years or so anyway.  I think we got out of there just in the “Nica” time.

Next stop Costa Rica!!  Whoop whoop!


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