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Bus journeys

18 Aug

They can be good, and they can be bad.

This one certainly wins the prize for being the longest yet this trip.

36 hours. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, to Panama City, Panama.

In reality I took at least 4 buses, and spent at least 5 hours at border crossings. (Wow. This is definitely in the running for most boring, uninspired blog post.)

You meet the most interesting people on buses. I spent 15 hours sat next to a Swiss girl who was travelling around central America before starting med school. You can learn a lot about someone in 15 hours. Especially if you bond over the child in front of you being sick everywhere. Lovely 🙂

There is a huge superheros party at the hostel Im staying in. I will need superpowers to stay awake past 9pm. Such an old lady.

I promise that tomorrow I will actually do something more exciting than riding a bus, and then write about it here.

Good night

Sabes surfear?

16 Aug

Actually managed to surf yesterday, and almost stand up. I´m pretty impressed with myself. Well… a little bit.

I don´t think I´m going to be the next Kelly Slater any time this century but its fun to try.

Tomorrow I´m leaving San Juan del Sur 😦 but heading to Panama 🙂

Surfing in San Juan del Sur

14 Aug

Slightly misleading title to todays post. I haven´t actually been within a metre of a surfboard yet, despite having spent the whole day on one of the best surfing beaches on the Pacific coast.

Thanks to the cracking hangover, in part due to a dinner of Nachos at 3pm, but probably more to do with the 1.5 litres of rum consumed between the 6 of us who are sharing the dorm room, I only managed to lie on the beach, keeping very still, and turning over ever so often to avoid burning.

Let´s hope tomorrow brings more surfing enthusiasm, then maybe I´ll be a pro by the end of the week!

La Isla de Omotepe

13 Aug

Or, paradise.

Well, thats what it is called in the Lonely Planet, AKA the Bible.

Omotepe is an island formed from two volcanoes that erupted side by side, el Volcan Concepcion and El Volcan Maderas. Joined in the middle by two beaches, these volcanoes sit in the centre of a lake, in the centre of Nicaragua.

We arrived here two days ago from Granada, after a hairy bus journey and ferry ride across the water. There was a beautiful hostel near the port, but it seems that travelling mentality has taken over – they were charging $6 a night, or $7 including sheets. A good deal anywhere else, we decided to head up the hill to the Indio Viejo, a more rustic kind of place where there were streamers hung from the lampshades, dorms for $3 a night, and primary coloured furniture.

Cheap = good. Even though the next day everyone was complaining about the inch thick foam mattresses and the unscaleable bunkbeds.

The next day we decided to climb the second highest volcano in Nicaragua, Volcan Concepcion, which is 1610m high.

Preparation = nil. Although I had managed to buy a pair of second hand trainers in Granada. This time the converse were definitely not good enough.

We set off at 7am and began the hike. Initially we were able to walk on fairly flat, sandy ground, which meant that the pace was pretty rapid. However, soon enough the terrain became rockier, and muddier, and more difficult to climb. The cicadas in the trees were squawking so loud that I could barely hear myself puffing and panting all the way up. Eventually I got to the mirador, the viewpoint, and turned around. No view! The cloud cover was so thick that I could hardly see the way that I had walked up.

The way down was much easier, but my legs were shaking by the time I finally reached the bottom. And thanks to the ever reliable Nicaraguan bus service, once we reached the foot of the volcano we had to walk another hour back to the hostel! It was well worth it, even without the supposedly spectacular view!

Plan B

11 Aug

No, not my plan B. I´m still heading the same way.

Last night I went to see a Venezuelan film called Plan B at the Casa de los Leones, Granada´s cultural centre.

Set in the mountains surrounding Caracas, the film centres on two men who decide to rob a bank. They have everything planned out, and it is a failsafe idea, or so they think. Obviously it goes wrong, and they become the most hunted men in the city. There is a police chief, who is probably based on someone real, who takes over he chase. He is completely corrupt, and in a lot of debt. His aim is to shoot everyone and get away with the money.

It would be a shame to reveal the ending, so I won´t, but basically it doesn´t turn out the way you would imagine.

The film itself was shot in the mountains, and there are a lot of birds eye views of the city which alone make it worth seeing.

Today the sun has come out, so hopefully I´ll be going to the Laguna de Apoyo, which is a lake inside the crater of a volcano.

Hasta pronto!

Jugo de Pitaya…yum

9 Aug

So far I haven´t eaten much street food… shame on me I know. This continent is stuffed full of amazing foods that just don´t exist in England, and most of them you can buy from street vendors, i.e corn on the cob covered in chili, rice and beans wrapped in banana leaves, and coconut creations,  but thanks to a few stomach upsets I´ve been avoiding most things. Luckily I have found something even better – juice!

The fruit in season is the Pitaya – a crazy pink and purple fruit that comes from the cactus plan, and everywhere I go there are people selling freshly sueezed Pitaya, or Dragon Fruit, juice.

Can you think of anything more exciting than drinking a fluorescent purple glass of juice full of ice? (It is around 32C here everyday…)

Beautiful beaches and bull running

8 Aug

Yesterday I visited the most beautiful beach I have ever seen- Las Penitas, near Leon, Nicaragua. If you get the chance,  go! I will definitely post a picture soon.

Today it was time to move on from Leon. I spent about 5 days there, met some great people, and had a brilliant night out last night. A lot of Caipirinhas for $1 each – perfect!

Today I travelled to Granada, another beautiful, colonial city, this time right next to a lake. Went to see the bull running, which happens once a year to celebrate something or other…not to hot on the details, I think it may be the hangover.  Thought it would be great, but actually just saw loads of men baiting the bulls, hitting them, throwing things at them, and just being really mean. And my friend got his wallet nicked. I think I´ll give the bull running a miss next time!