originally published on facebook – June 17, 2009.

So I finished up with the yoga program on June 6th, so glad to be done and able to get back out on the road. I stayed in Montezuma until the 9th, relaxing and enjoying lazing around in the sunshine again, then caught a bus up to Liberia (close to the border of Nicaragua). I spent one night in Liberia and then the morning doing a quick wander through the town until it was time to catch my bus to the border. I love waiting for the bus, the cabbies are always right on you asking if you need a ride, when I tell them I am waiting for the bus they stay and just want to chat with me as much as possible and always make sure to let me know where the right bus is and when it is leaving (it’s kinda like having your brother looking out for you). It’s also a good chance to work on my Spanish which is really still quite abysmal, I have a lot of words now but don’t conjugate them properly at all, everything I say is in the wrong order and I don’t know the “in between” words, I think I might be getting a little bit better though and can understand more and more of what is said to me even if I can’t answer back. I however am getting the hang of answering the same questions, where am I from, how do I like (insert current countries name here,) isn’t it (this country) beautiful, do I like the local beer (or rum on my case), how old am I, do I have any kids, where is my husband/boyfriend (I’ve created an imaginary one who is at home) and why isn’t he traveling with me? Oh yes, and usually they are kind enough to tell me….you are beautiful. Smooth and not subtle at all,

Anyways made it across the border without incident, this flu thing is pretty bad I guess, all the border staff are wearing gloves and surgical masks, we have to fill out a form that states where we are coming from and going to and whether we have any of the following symptoms, I check “no” to all of them and I wonder at the one that asks about diarrhea, don’t almost all travelers have upset stomachs at some point, what if I checked “yes” in that box? Would I be denied entry to the country, quarantined somewhere? I don’t want to find out. Besides, I have been particularly lucky with my belly so far, touch wood…:)

From the border I took a “chicken” bus (still haven’t seen any actual chickens on these buses) to a border town called Rivas, got chatted up the whole way by a guy who works at the border checking peoples cars, basically the same sort of conversations I have with cabbies at bus stations but he was particularly persistent, even asked for a kiss, the cheeky bugger! But I laughed him off with a “no, no” and a wag of the finger and he took it all as fun and was respectful of that, was even kind enough to show me which bus I should get to transfer to to my next destination and shook my hand like a true gentleman when we parted ways 🙂

Made it to next stop, San Juan del Sur. Is a beach town, very touristy but I choose it because I figured it would give me a little time to get used to the new currency/exchange rate (20 cordobas to the US dollar). Found a hotel with my own private room and bathroom with A/C for $13usd, saw a bit of the town etc. That night I woke up around 3:30 in the morning, I wasn’t sure why, I couldn’t get back to sleep so I thought I might sit out on the deck for a bit of fresh air, when I opened my door I noticed it was unlocked, I thought that was strange but I didn’t really register it that much as was half asleep. The next morning I realized that I had been robbed, while I was in the room asleep…creepy! My wallet was in my purse on the extra bed as well as my camera, passport and computer. The only thing missing was my cash, about $200 usd worth, credit cards were still there along with everything else even though this person could have taken everything they didn’t, and most importantly I was safe. I handled this incredibly well, I must say 🙂 got a tiny bit angry at first and a bit creeped out but I soon realized that it was only money, could have been so much worse and I accepted it, is all good. Am quite proud of myself for that response! I visited a beach the next day, about 12kms up the coast, met a few people and came back to town. I decided to leave the next day, didn’t love it there, too touristy and perhaps a little jaded by the robbery.

Next morning I headed to Isla de Ometepe, an island with 2 volcanoes, one of which is active. On the ferry on the way over I met a lovely couple from France, we were both headed to the same part of the island (Santa Domingo) and I suggested we share a cab there. We ended up hanging out together the whole 4 days I was there. We were pretty lazy I must admit, none of us really felt like climbing a volcano or anything however I did teach them both their first (and second) yoga classes ever!, Good practice for me! My last day there we rented horses for a couple hours, by chance I got the good one, she was a runner! We rode along the beach for about an hour and then along a path to see some petroglyphs, not quite what I expected but it was somewhat interesting. Our bums were killing us already so we headed back. Saddles here are not western or English, kinda a hybrid of the two, is impossible to post while trotting so makes for a bumpy ride unless you are walking slowly or galloping along…seeing as I had the speedy horse, I choose to gallop….super fun! Once we were back at the stable I told our guide that my horse really was a fast girl, he agreed telling me I rode muy, muy rapido! He seemed quite pleased with me actually 😀

We were going to move the next day to the other side of the island but while in the bus on the way there I met someone who told me it was possible to fly to the Corn Islands in the Caribbean for as little as $150.00 usd. I gave it about 2minutes thought and then changed my plans. I had previously considered heading there and had thought it would take too much time by bus, I never thought about flying! So I said my good byes to Cecile and Mathieu (they are traveling the world for a year and there is a chance we will meet up in S.E. Asia sometime in early 2010) and got on a ferry to come to Granada.

I am still here in the big G. Staying in a super nice Hostel (Hostel Oasis). Spent the rest of my travel day wandering through this city and spent today doing so as well. Had an extensive tour of the city trying to find the post office. Lonely Planet is so easily outdated, the damn office has been moved sometime in the past year so I spent about 2 hours trying to locate it, but I did eventually find it and get my parcel sent home. Granada is a beautiful and rough place all at once, more people begging then I have seen anywhere, kids, even really little ones, older folks and families even. It’s hard not to feel guilty but I can’t help them all, I wish I could though. I seem to attract a lot of male attention here as welI, sometimes it’s flattering and I wonder if it’s me or is it just because I am another gringa, with lovely white skin? (I don’t have the heart or the language skills to explain that for me this is tanned!) Some of the streets are crazy, sidewalks are so narrow that you walk in the street and cars and horse-drawn buggies are honking at you just to let you know they are coming. There are horse-drawn buggy tours you can take of the city but some people are using them just like a car, bringing fruit and veg to sell at market, a handyman/carpenter, a furniture re upholsterer, etc. On the central road what sidewalks there are are crowded with vendors of all sorts of things, from running shoes to fruit to sunglasses and t-shirts, people with trays full of candies and cigarettes and gum, all sold by the piece. It’s like a market of sorts. So much to see and absorb all at once, almost overwhelming sometimes, but I somehow manage to stay relaxed. I surprise myself a bit with this ability, before I left home i would have thought that this kind of “chaos” would have totally stressed me out but I really do seems to take it all in stride. I do my best not to look like a tourist, I wear a bag slung across one shoulder, not a backpack, I use a wallet, not a money belt and I keep my wits about me at all times, so far, so good. Maybe these aren’t smart things to do, it’s definitely not what is recommended in all the travel literature but it’s worked well for me thus far so I will keep at it.

Just one of many churches….

And this was inside one…

And this is something I saw at the central market that I just couldn’t resist photographing, it brings new meaning to the term “horny toad”…

It’s raining tonight so think I will stay in until I have to grab a bite to eat (soon). I wanted to get to see the cemetery today as well as another church or 2 but didn’t happen due to the post office stuff, so I think I may have to spend an extra day here before I can get to Managua to fly out to the islands. I haven’t booked it, I hope to just show up at the airport an hour or 2 ahead of time and get on a flight (wish me luck) if I can make it all happen tomorrow I will. So there is a small chance that by this time tomorrow I could be dangling my toes in the Caribbean blue!

I booked my flight home a couple days ago, will be arriving back in Vancity on July 8th. Have somewhat mixed feelings about it, will be wonderful to see everyone again but is hard to not be disappointed about coming back to the same place I have lived for the past 37 years. Also, once I start moving I just want to keep going, it seems there is no end to the places I want to see in my life. There are some places I want to go back to and some more places that I wanted to see that I didn’t get too, guess I’ll just have to come back sometime.

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