Fun and Educational! – Lake Nicaragua, Granada

We caught an early bus back to Granada first thing in the morning, with promises to hook up with Shaun again in the Corn Islands or in the Rio San Juan. Back at the hostel, we unpacked our stuff in our pretty, airy room, knowing that we were going to settle in for a while. The problem with this is that we gave ourselves the illusion of plenty of time and, before we knew it, we had been there for a few days with nothing to show for it except hammock-patterned impressions on our backsides and a healthy stock of groceries (that’s how you can really tell when you’ve settled in). We had so many plans to get up and go- to go hike a volcano, bike back to Lago Apoyo, visit some of the surrounding towns to see their artisan markets. But, mostly we just lounged. Finally, we started to feel like dirty laundry that’s been sitting around for too long and we motivated ourselves to get off our asses and into some kayaks.

View from the restaurant

We had actually done some kayak reconnaissance the day before, when we rode our bikes to the Asese peninsula, just outside of town, to check out the ’365 islands’. We made it about 1km into the peninsula when some locals told us that we couldn’t go any further inland or we would surely be robbed. Thinking they were just trying to put us off biking so they could sell us a boat trip, we turned around and stopped in a little restaurant to ask for more information. Again, we were assured that we’d be robbed if we went into the undeveloped peninsula. When R pointed out that he had a machete (acquired in the Granada market during one of our lazy afternoons), we were told that the thieves on the peninsula would have more. That squashed our plans for the day, but it just so happened that the restaurant where we stopped for information also offered kayaking tours of the islands. We chatted with the super friendly wife of the owner and decided that we’d do a kayak tour with her husband the next morning, when the wind would be less intense.

Will!

Our rides

So we found ourselves in a pair of brightly colored kayaks at 7am with Will, a local man born and raised on the islands and now the owner and operator of the best (only?) kayak tour company in the islands. The tour cost us $25 each, which is way more than we would typically pay for an activity, but our laziness over the past few days had spurred us to just get up and do something already. The price was well worth it, though. Will took us much more slowly than we would have paddled on our own, but pointed out plants and wildlife that we would have missed otherwise. He told us about life on the islands, the infamous freshwater sharks of Lake Nicaragua, the frequency of pirate attacks in the olden days (hence, all the forts). As a bonus, he conducted the whole tour in Spanish, so we had a chance to practice! It is really kind of shocking how well we can get along when Spanish is the only option. R’s Spanish admirable and I can understand most of what is said to me, as long as it isn’t too fast or heavily accented. After the 2.5 hour tour, we headed back to the restaurant, where Will’s wife was waiting to whip us up lunch. R saw her preparing a marinade when we stopped in the day before and she volunteered to fix us a plate for lunch, on the house. The food was very simple but delicious- thin sliced pork in a marinade of lime, chiles and onions- R will post the recipe soon.

Christmas decorations, tropical style

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