Let´s Get EXTREME!

Trip Start Oct 08, 2009
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Trip End Nov 13, 2009


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Where I stayed
Hospedaje Buena Vista

Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Friday, November 6, 2009

Alright, so there´s really nothing to do in Tamarindo, so I decided to
blog. It might be a little abbreviated, due to my reduced typing speed,
but here goes. Thursday, we had a lazy morning then took the bus to the
Finca Magdalena outside of Balgue. It is an all organic coffee and
honey farm. Our guide showed us the entire process of making coffee,
from picking the beans to drying, shelling, and roasting them. It was
pretty cool to see how it was made, seeing as we both drink coffee
almost everyday and really had no idea of the lengthy process behind
it. We just happened to notice that all the giant peeling machines in
one room were made in a very special city... Syracuse, NY! It was
funny, and nice, to see a piece of home in such a random place. Teddy
really enjoyed eating all the raw beans and even pocketed a handful to
bring home with him. Needless to say, he was WIRED for the rest of the
day. After our tour was over, we sat down and drank a cup of coffee
from the farm. We think it may be just because we had seen all the work
behind it, but that coffee was absolutely delish. On our bus ride back,
we befriended an Austrian kid named Manny, whom we invited to come and
eat dinner with us. While we were waiting for our big fish platters, we
started talking about the usual. Manny asked us where we were from, and
we said a small town in New York. He asked where, and we said that he
wouldn´t know it. Then he said, ¨Well maybe I would. I used to work up
there.¨ Us: ¨Where?¨ Manny: ¨Raquette Lake.¨ Us (as we both pound the
table with our fists): ¨What?!¨ Turns out he worked at Raquette Lake
Boys Camp as a windsurfing instructor two summers ago. Teddy´s family
has a camp on the lake and he has pretty much spent every summer
growing up there. And I have three friends from Colorado that worked at
the camp the same summer as Manny, and he knew all of them! So, we were
both very excited and exchanged stories about Raquette Lake (Teddy) and
mutual friends (me). How crazy is that, though? Some Austrian kid whom
we met on a bus on a volcanic island in the middle of Nicaragua knows
where we´re from and some of the same people. Small world. We decided
we really liked him and invited him to come and hike the volcano with
us the next day. He said he wasn´t sure, but that he´d wait out by the
road and catch the same bus if he decided to come. We hit the hay early
in preparation for our big day.

Friday, we woke up really early and caught the 5 am bus back to Balgue.
We were stoked to see Manny get on the bus s well. We started the hike
at the Finca Magdalena, where we had a quick breakfast. The hike up was
pretty cool, through groups of coffee and cocoa plants. We got to try
the cocoa nut as well, which had a really yummy gel-y outside. The bean
wasn´t that great, but you could definitely taste a hint of chocolate.
Then it started to pour. Like really pour. It was one of the more
intense hikes we´ve been on, since we were pretty much climbing a
waterfall. There was a constant stream of water coming down, and it was
very muddy and very rocky (I feel like a broken record, bec I´ve said
this about all our hikes, but this one was the worst!). We had to use
all fours, grabbing at rocks and vines to pull ourselves up. In a
couple of spots, we even had to wedge ourselves between two walls of
dirt to prop ourselves up as we climbed because there was too much
water on the ground. We felt pretty hardcore. Then we started passing
through a really cool cloud forest that reminded us of Fern Gully and
Twilight. Loved every second of it, especially pretending that Edward
Cullen was right there beside me. After 3 hours and 20 minutes (our
guide says it normally takes 4!), we arrived at the top. And we
couldn´t see anything. It was really cloudy (obvi, it was pouring) and
we could barely see to the other side of the crater lake, let alone the
island. Though we had initially been excited to swim in the crater lake
at the top, now in the freezing rain, it didn´t seem so appealing. But,
Manny was going, so Teddy decided to as well. And I wasn´t about to be
that girl that didn´t go. So, stupid follows stupid, and we all jumped
in. It was pretty nasty. We were in mud up to our knees and the cold
water was pretty much black. We got in for a few minutes, snapped a
quick pic, and got out. I guess we can say we swam in a volcano now?
Since we didn´t have any dry clothes to put back on, we were also
freezing. But, as soon as we started the hike down, we quickly warmed
up. It was pretty slow going, however, since we were slipping and
sliding all over the place. We all almost bit it a dozen times.

Then, I actually did. I slipped in some mud and fell backwards, putting
my hand out to catch my fall. All of a sudden my finger hurt really
badly. I didn´t think it was a big deal, though, and started trying to
get up. Then I looked at my finger and screamed. It was bent sideways!
Ted called up to me ¨Sue, you alright?¨ thinking that I was just being
dramatic. Then I said in this really pathetic baby crying voice, ¨I
think my finger´s broken.¨ Have Ted do the impression, you´ll be
laughing for hours. They all quickly ran back up to me and started
trying to comfort me. I had no idea what I was going to do. Um, I´m on
the side of a volcano in the middle of an island in Nicaragua with a
bent finger. What?!! Realizing this, I started really crying and Teddy
just kept telling me, ¨You´re a hero, Sue.¨ Manny didn´t really know
what to say and just sat there trying to be comforting. Then, I looked
at my finger and realized I looked like Frankenstein. I pointed this
out and we all started laughing. Then I asked Ted to take a picture,
and he was more than happy to oblige. From then on, we had a lot of fun
laughing at our ridic sitch. Teddy even took a video. He had to pause
in the middle, however, because I started freaking out when the guide
kept repeating the word ¨cortar.¨ Me not being in a state where I
couldn´t understand Spanish, I did not like hearing about any type of
cutting. Finally we realized he wasn´t talking about my finger, but
about the ring I was wearing. Seeing as it was a life partner ring from
my best friend in college and ¨the only nice piece of jewelry I own!¨
(that´s what I kept whining about), I did not want to cut it off. The
guide tried to slide it off my already swollen finger with the aid of
chapstick, which was probs one of the most painful experiences I´ve
ever endured, but it was a no go. So seeing as we had nothing to cut it
with, he just left it on and then kind of put my finger back into
place. Extreme! We continued on down the mountain, with me being really
careful and using a walking stick and occasionally Teddy´s hand for
balance. About halfway down, we stopped at an incredible viewpoint from
which we could see the other volcano and pretty much the entire island.
After what seemed to be an interminable time, we were down. We waited
for a bus to take us back to Santo Domingo, where I saw the skinniest
dog in the world and gave him all my bread. I have never seen anything
eat that fast, and Teddy is still telling me that I killed the dog by
feeding him too much. I choose not to believe that. I think he is
probably playing in the sunshine with the chickens right now. We went
back to our hotel and told everybody how hardcore I was and peeled off
our filthy clothes after a dip in the lake. We then called Teddy´s dad
(an orthopedic surgeon, how lucky!) to make sure the guide had done the
right thing with my finger. Luckily, he had, and we felt pretty
satisfied with the outcome of our day. We decided we had done pretty
well in a quasi-crisis sitch and congratulated ourselves with some
cerveza.

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