The Urban Wanderer

Crossing Borders ~ Bridging Cultures ~ Traveling Responsibly

Ometepe Island

This post is originally from February 5, 2013

Yesterday it was a 530 am departure…We had to drive to the border of Nicaragua, but before we reached that point our van got a flat tire. Our driver, Mario became Super Mario when he took off his shirt to change the tire. Just picture a robust 60 year old man with a nipple ring. Badabing badaboom!

Super Mario and his nipple ring!

Soon we were on our way, and crossing the border wasn’t too much of a hassle. I think I expected the worst from my experience between Cambodia and Vietnam.  Although we had to walk quite a ways with our packs on our back and the sun was pelting down, it was quite easy to get through. After another bus to Latin America’s 2nd biggest lake (Lake Nicaragua) we boarded a ferry that looked like it was going to sink. We literally sat on the top of the boat where there were no seats. Just hung on and enjoyed the view. It  is difficult to imagine this water being a lake as it is so massive.

I wish I could have captured a picture with all of us squished on top like sardines!

We arrived at Ometepe Island. This island is made up of two volcanoes that when they erupted formed a land mass in the middle. I knew as soon as we got here that I would love it. Unlike the developed country of Costa Rica this felt more cultural and what I usually love to experience on my trips. Don’t get me wrong, I love Costa Rica and its ease, but experiencing something completely different from home is something that I truly cherish and thrive on. Here we were brought to a community to live in a Homestay. This community started as an income generating project for a few of the women in the area and now is completely self sufficient. We have two nights with our host family and I completely feel like a tool when it comes to speaking Spanish. All those classes that my dad and I took together should have come in handy in this situation, but unfortunately all I know is siesta, salsa and taco! Not gonna get me far when speaking to my family. They served up our dishes and put our dinner plates in front of us. I had to try to tell the mother that I was vegetarian. I said “vegetariano” It worked. Maybe if I just add an “O” to everything it will be understood…or then again, maybe not. At one point Michelle and I were left at the table alone. We came to a consensus that we both really didn’t like these plantain chips she made. Michelle was quick on her toes and quickly poured her chips back into the serving dish. I quickly followed. We felt like naughty school children!

Our rooms are pretty clean but definitely not comfortable. Even though I am completely out of my comfort zone I have to say this is an once in a life time experience that I will always hold close to my heart.
Yesterday evening we went to the Ojo de Agua; a natural spring made by the volcano. The water wasn’t hot, but it was so stunning. Unfortunately at dusk this beautiful area became a hot spot for all sorts of biting bugs and when we left my legs looked like I have the case of chicken pox. I feel like the blind could read brail  on my legs! Note to self: insects here are called ‘no see ems’ and even though you can’t see them, they bite like hell…wear bug spray!

Our sleep was not to shabby. We have mosquito nets around our beds and mine is placed so that it literally rests on my head. Here I was reading before falling asleep,  when a cockroach crawled on to my face – thankfully it was on the outside of the net, but JEEZUS! Again out of my comfort zone, but really,  I love this shit.

Today some of the group climbed the volcano. It is a ten hour hike straight up and down. I can’t imagine this being fun at all so I chose the lazy man’s activity… something much more chill …go to the beach. Again, it is hard to believe this is a lake when the waves come crashing in like the ocean. It was lovely to relax and listen to the waves. Am I making you jealous?

Anyway, In am going to lay in the hammocks and watch the sun set now.
Adios from Ometepe!

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