Monday, January 19, 2009

Nicaragua Trip 2009 - Part 3

(The Nicaragua trip is posted in three parts, this is the last, so if you're seeing this first, go back a few posts to Part 1)

Our guidebook calls Isla de Ometepe “Nicaragua’s dramatic candidate for ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’” and it’s hard to disagree. Twin volcanoes rise abruptly from the giant Lake Nicaragua to almost 5,000 feet to form the island. The peaks are perpetually sheathed in a tropical cone shaped cloud and the thick jungle fauna clings improbably to their steep slopes. Up close, it’s no less spectacular with monkeys howling in the trees, countless birds, and Indiana Jones-ish waterfalls. All of this remains relatively protected by the giant moat of the lake.

A good theme for the whole trip, really: hard to get to, but worth it when you do. Our accommodations in Ometepe were (1) a 2.5 hour taxi ride from Managua to spend the night in Rivas (2) a short taxi ride in the morning to the dock (3) a 1 hour ferry ride across the lake and (3) a 2.5 hour ride to go 20 miles of what I would call 4-wheel-driving, but they just call their main road. We were all a bit woozy when we finally got there.

For their amusement, the hostel where we stayed had a kid-biting donkey named "Fiona" to guard the swimming dock.
We spent three days mostly swimming on the dock and paddling the sit-on-top kayaks around, but also rallied to hike to a nearby waterfall.

We all enjoyed the climb, but the kids were especially thrilled by the ride to the trailhead (all nine of us standing in the back of a small pickup, ducking under branches, holding on for dear life, and unloading every so often while the driver put a rock under the rear wheels and added a little water to the radiator).

That’s the end of any type of pleasant memory for me as I was flattened by a muy fuerte stomach bug the night before we left and limped home for 2 days through a fog of nausea. Good times. I won’t complain, though, because it certainly could be worse. Like losing your lunch on the plane out of Managua like Zach did. That musta really been a drag.

Anyhoo. We’re all feeling good again now. It was an unforgettable trip and one that besides all the spectacular sights, family bonding and fun we had has also left us with a vivid perspective on our lucky circumstances in life and a profound gratitude to be back home.

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