Monday, February 23, 2009

Nicaragua day 2

9:30am- We went to bed last night around 9pm and did not wake up for 11hrs. it was great sleep and woke up very rested. when you walk out of our dorm room, you come to a large open room with hammocks, tables, a bar and computers. there is a large hole cut out in the roof so it is almost like we are outside. in the middle of the room there is a large patch of dirt which grows all kinds of trees. avocado tree, lime tree, palm tree banana tree and many others. it almost reminds me of a little jungle in the middle of our hostel. i got up and layed around in the hammock for about an hour until everyone else decided it was time to arise. there were people circulating through the showers at a pretty constant rate, some were reading in the lounge and others ordering breakfast. i could tell that these were the makings for a very lazy morning. we ordered breakfast, eggs, fried plantains, beans and rice and toast, which seems to be about all were going to eat down here, which is actually all we eat back in america too so its not that different. the hostel has complimentary coffee and i can honestly say that it is by far some of the best coffee that i have ever had (yes, its even better than Petes). After we ate, erika and i ran across the street to a little shop to buy some soap to wash our clothes with. we got a big roung block of clear soap and werent really sure what to do with it. The hostel has an area where the workers wash the sheets and pillow cases so we asked if we could use their washing board. There was an older lady named Thelma who, after seeing me fumbling the soap and trying to wash my clothes like an idiot, decided to show me how it was done. she spoke no english, and i speak no spanish so the tutorial was all in hand gestures and motions. she showed me how to we the clothes and apply the soap and then how to wash the essential areas (arm pits and crotch). i graciously thanked her and proceded to wash the rest of my clothes. Erika washed her clothes too and since she was there with me the whole time and helped me understand what Thelma was saying, she was already quite the natural. We have been sitting around all morning trying to figure out what we are going to do today and it is between, walking around the city, renting bikes and riding outside the city, or catching a bus to Vulcan Mombacho and hiking around the tops of the volcanoes. but for now we are still discussing. Sorry, we are still not able to put any pictures up so please be patient.
Erika doing her wash!
And me doing mine with Thelma standing beside me doing hers10:00pm- So we decided to catch the chicken bus to Vulcan Mombacho which turned out to be more of an adventure than we had anticipated. Me, erika, dylan, anna and stacy all started walking toward the bus station from our hostel. We ran into almost every street vendor in Granada on our way. After about 30min of walking we finally got to the bus station, which turned out to be a small patch of dirt just big enough for two busses to park on. We made sure that it was the bus going to Rivas, and that they would drop us off at Mombacho then boarded the bus. We paid our 6 cordobas for the quick 6 mile trip to the bottom of the volcano. They dropped us off basically in the middle of nowhere, there was a small gas station and 4 or 5 guys driving small carts with three wheels. They said that they could take us to mombacho, so the five of us piled into a two seater cart and started heading up. After about 2min the guy pulled into a parking lot and we all got out. As it turned out, he was only taking us to the entrance to the National park.
Riding 4 people in a two person seat. We had 4 guys haggling us, trying to get us to go with them instead of the others to the top. They said that they could get us all to the top quickly, that sounded like a pretty good deal. ¨cuanto cuesta¨we asked and the answer was SHOCKING!! ¨$14¨they said. WHAT!! was our unanimous response. We could not afford $14 per person just for them to take us to the top of some rinky dink volcano. We said that we would walk, they said that we would not make it, we said that we would try anyway, then they dropped the price to $13 per person, this was still way out of our price range. So we started walking the road to the top. When we started it was hot but the road was fairly flat.
Starting our walk
Erika and I infront of a coffee field. FYI the beans taste terrible right off the plant.
About 20min into our little journey the small inclines quickly transitioned into steep hills. We could hear monkeys in the trees and birds singing to one another. About 30min into the walk stacy decided that she wanted to go back and catch the jeep going to the top (little did she know that the last trip had already left). So dylan and stacy turned around and Erika, Anna and I kept walking, erika carrying dylans bag. Anna was walking barefoot because her shoes gave her terrible blisters and about half way to the top she decided to stop and wait for a truck coming down and catch a ride with them, then go back to Granada by herself. So being the only two hoofers left, Erika and I continued on the steep and narrow path. It progressively got steeper and narrower, almost to the point that I did not think that any vehicle (4wd or not) could make it up.
Heading up the path getting progressively steeper
Erika and I taking a much needed rest.
We passed several coffee farms and at one point we saw a man riding a horse with two huge bags of coffee beans on either side of the horses back. He reminded me of the Columbia coffee man. We quickly transitioned from dry forest to rain forest and the foliage became much greener and the fauna was so thick that you could only see about 5ft into it. The bird sounds got more exotic and the howler monkeys started screaming at us, almost as if they were warning us of what was to come if we continued our journey on foot. Not heeding to their warning we continued on. The last quarter of the trip was almost straight up the side of the volcano, and i literally mean straight. there were no switchbacks like we would have in america, just straight up. Finally, to top off the whole experience, while I was peeing on the side of the road, erika said that she felt a rain drop, then another. I decided to cover up my backpack since my camera was inside of it(this was a good move). About two minutes later the rain came from the heavens like a waterfall of sweet, sugary liquid to our bitter, sweaty bodies. It started light and then got a little heavier, then with no warning it started raining in a matter that cannot be explained. It was so heavy that you could barely see the road in front of you, but so light that it carried a whisper from heaven telling us that we were close. Sure enough about 10 minutes later we reached the top, and after 2hrs of hard walking we were ready to rest our legs.
Erika enjoying the greenery just before it started raining hard
The wind was blowing hard and the fog was so thick that it almost looked like cotton candy. We went into the small welcome center where we were greeted by two rangers who told us that if we wanted a ride to the bottom we had to take the jeep that was arriving in 10 min. We decided that their price was still to steep for us and decided to walk back down. We stayed inside for about 30min to rest and watched the fog billow into the room through an open door which seemed to fill the room with a hazy mist that had a sense of wonder and excitement about it.
Erika and I at the top of Vulcan Mombacho
As we started down the volcano the last truck of rangers also started heading down, leaving us behind to fend for ourselves. We started walking down and the trail was slippery and wet, so we put on our mountain goat feet and stepped lightly and carefully. After about 30min of walking the trail dried up and it was all down hill from there (literally). There is a sense when you are climbing up a hill that tells you that going down will be much better, this sense is wrong and if you ever get it, ignore it. Going down was much more difficult than going up. My quads were screaming with pain and after a little while they could not scream, only quiver. Each step was painful but it was one step closer to the bottom. The conversation was light and stops were frequent, but after about 1.5hrs we finally reached the bottom of the volcano that momentarily stole my love for hiking, but for ever gave me a love for terrential downpoors. At the bottom we saw dylan walking toward us with the nicaraguan man who gave us our first ride in his three wheeled cart. When we reached him, he imediatelly said one word ¨Water¨, so water we gave him. We had some questions: Where was stacy? where was anna? what had he been doing for the last 4hrs? Well, anna had already come down and caught the bus back to Granada, and dylan put stacy on another bus to Granada as well. Then with the determination of a monkey in a room with a typewriter trying to re-write Shakespear, he started hauling up the trail to the summit. Coincidentally he reached the top shortly after we did and looked around, seeing no one and not thinking to look in the house, he came back down. So when we got back to the bottom he was already there. He was wearing a white tanktop which I had not seen before, and i asked him where he got it. He said that when he got to the bottom, wet and cold the guy who gave us a ride, litterally gave him the shirt off his back. It was a gesture that crossed the language barrier like no other gesture could. We came to find out that the last bus had passed by about 20 min earlier and our only option was to either walk, or get a ride with the cart driver back to town. We decided to take the cart, and 20min later we were safe in our hostel again.
Our ride back to the hostel
After long cold showers, we all washed our dirty, smelly clothes and decided to get something to eat. Anna had heard about a pizza place that was pretty cheap so we set out to find it. We walked to the parque centrale and started looking from there. We turned left onto a street that looked like it might have some food on it and went a little to far. Ending up in the ghettos of Granada was not our plan for the evening, but nonetheless it happened. We quickly turned around and started walking back from where we came. We passed two girls around 17 or 18 walking on the sidewalk, and following them from a distance were about 10 boys whos age was much younger than the girls. But with no fear of rejection, and having the confidence of their friends, the boys rushed right past us with their eyes on the two girls. With out considering the outcome of that situation, we were focused on the outcome of our own. We finally found the pizza place and ate like kings, for $2.50 each. After dinner we came back to the hostel and are now preparing for bed. I am seeing how God works in our lives and the things and people he puts in our way. Sometimes they seem like huge mountains to climb, maybe its just a guy who wants to help, and sometimes it could simply be pizza with friends after a long day of hiking. God is good and we have his favor (as ricky would say), we are tiny, but in the hands of the creator we can do anything.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, Cody & Erica. You know I love ya both and can't wait to see you guys and all the pictures.