Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nicaragua, so far

So far Nicaragua has been pretty good to us, and considerably easier on the wallet.

We stayed in Granada for a few days, travelling from the airport at night along dimly lit roads lined with piles of coconuts and tiny busy food stands everywhere, warm air blowing in through the taxi window and we even saw a tuk tuk or two - it was clear that we'd landed in the right kind of place. It was still a bit of a shock to the system, everything seemed so dark in comparison to the bright lights of San Juan and the US and all of a sudden we were finding very little English spoken and having to resort to our extremely rusty and limited Spanish.

Still, we made it to the hotel and out to dinner that night, where we sat on the main tourist street and had fried cheese, beans, rice and other goodies. I was very happy to find that Nicaraguan fried cheese is a lot like halloumi, and you can't go too far wrong with halloumi.

Granada marketOf course it didn't seem so dimly lit the next day. Hotel breakfast was a bit confusing, we arrived towards the end of the sitting so they'd put the buffet away, and when confronted with a flurry of Spanish which was probably offering us various food items, I think I accidentally said no to breakfast. I managed to recover this a bit by asking for some desayuno and cafe con leche (yay, we know some words) and nodding when offered frutas. So we had something at least!

A short wander into town yielded some quesillos for lunch - these are tortillas with a thin slice of cheese, salsa, a little salt and a dollop of sour cream. Quite messy and only little, but very tasty and the tortillas were quite pancakey. It was nice to be getting some street food again!

We spent the next few days chilling out and enjoying the very pretty and peaceful hotel garden as well as really important stuff such as visiting Chocomuseo to make some chocolate (which really deserves a post all of its own!) It's fun to be back in the kind of place where people ride in the back of trucks, it's considered extravagant to have only one person per bicycle (unless you're carrying an enormous bottle of gas or something) and, although we haven't seen any entire families on mopeds yet, we have learned that it is possible to transport three toddlers in a single pushchair if you stash two of them side by side in the bottom section.

Concepcion We were going to visit the crater lake nearby but made a change of plan and decided to move on from Granada to visit the double-volcano island of Ometepe. So tonight we are sleeping at the foot of an active volcano - as a child I was terrified of volcanoes and, despite being quite relieved to learn that I didn't live near any, that didn't stop me having lots of scary dreams about them. As an adult I feel a bit more informed about the relative risks involved, but I'd still rather Concepcion didn't do any erupting over the next few days. Dgym, on the other hand, had bad dreams about lava last night.

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