Monkey on my back
Trip Start Jul 21, 2012
12Trip End Aug 09, 2012
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Where I stayed
Granada seems like a very civilised city.....nice grid-like lay out to avoid getting lost, pretty buildings that have a lot of charm (although reckon they could do with some UNESCO love) and lots of eateries. Found a lovely place for breakfast called Garden Cafe. It was set around a pretty garden with a fountain and a black bird of some variety flying about. After several meals of rice and beans, it was time for a gringo breakfast so ordered a bowl of fruit with yogurt and granola and a plate of blueberry french toast. Both portions came out rather larger than I was expecting, so greedily gobbled it all down.
I trundled back to the tour office and was greeted by a rather handsome guide and the 5 others booked onto the tour - a newly married Israeli couple and three women travelling together but independently from Holland, France and USA. I had purchased the tour from a lady who hadn't got a lot of english, but between her english and my pigeon spanish the acquisition had been made, but in translation I had seemingly missed a vital detail about the tour....we would be cycling from the office down to the boat :-/. I have bad experiences of riding things - the donkey in Egypt threw me off within a minute, the camel riders dragged me up past the pyramids much to my protests, the bumpy elephant ride in Thailand.... Bad memories of bikes go even further back - the traumatic experience when Ma made me cycle behind her down a hill on my little pink bike whereupon I crashed into her and my brother in his baby seat and the last biking experience when I nearly passed out
We tootled off across Lago Nicaragua. This is the second largest in latin america, bigger than Lake Titicaca (biggest is some lake in Venzuela....I think the USA great lakes are bigger than all of these). There are hundreds of little islets dotting the peninsula
We wove in and out between the islets until we came to our first stop, an island still inhabited by a local community where the owner of the tour company had grown up. They are adamant that they won't sell up their land and are trying to preserve their way of life. They had a little basic house and a few animals - pigs, ducklings, dogs and their prize stud bulls. They also had enough land to grow crops for market - mango and coconut trees, squash, maize, cucumbers... Had a little nose in their basic kitchen (much like kitchens I've seen in Thai hill tribes and on the islands of lake titicaca) and cautiously walked past the prize bulls. The family prepared us a coconut each which I happily slurped up. the guide cut it open and I ate some of the flesh, but was told to save some for monkey island. Feeliing refeshed (but anxious about the return bike ride), we got back into the boat to the tune of "ice ice baby" and pootled off.
Next stop was Monkey Island
After the excitement of monkey island, we made a stop at a very old colonial fort - built in the 1700's. It had a cannon and a great view of the lake, the volcano and Granada in the distance, After a few minutes appreciating the view, we boarded the boat again and returned to the mainland.
Having realised I had made a mistake in choosing the small bike and fearing my legs wouldn't make it back if i was made to ride it up hill on the return journey, I managed to get the guide to swap bikes. On a big bike, I wobbled off down the road without any major tragedy. Steering again was a bit of an issue and I squeaked at every obstacle. I rode off along the lake and back up the hill into Granada, feeling quite pleased with myself. I am not queueing up to purchase my own bike. Why on earth people go through that kind of torture for fun, god knows. Hopefully I can avoid bikes for another 20 years now! I survived the ordeal though and had had a good afternoon.