Friday, September 10, 2010

Ometepe Island Nicaragua - The End of Our Adventure

Our final stop in Nicaragua was Ometepe Island. A pretty figure 8 shaped island with a volcano on each end located in Lake Nicaragua. The only way to the island is by ferry and it is a must see for any trip to Nicaragua in my not so humble opinion.

The island was beautiful and lush…from the active volcano I assume. The only thing that could have made this place prettier would be clearer water. The water is just a brownish color and not the pretty blue hues you get in the ocean.

We rented motorcycles to explore the island for two days. We saw springs, hiked to a waterfall, saw lovely views of the volcanos from every angle and just enjoyed taking in the local color. Never have I felt safer on a motorcycle. There are very few cars on the island so all I had to worry about was other motorcycles, holes in the road, school children, pigs with piglets suckling, chickens, cowboys, farmers with machetes, rocks….I seriously did encounter all of these and at times it felt like it would make for a good video game but somehow this just felt like part of the adventure and added to the experience.

One night we were walking around one of the small towns feeling like we were on quite an adventure. Most people didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Spanish. We had not hot water and our power would go out for an hour or so during the almost nightly storms. It was quite a rustic and foreign feel until we stumbled upon a bar and looked in the window. They had a television and it was playing an Orlando Magic basketball game! I was shocked and actually disappointed but also thought it was funny and reminded me of how small a world it actually is.

Another small world experience came when I ran over cow manure in another small village. I stopped to clean it off my bike before it could get on me and music was playing. Not native or local music but a sappy American love song from the 70’s. What a contrast this song was to my surroundings!

The people on this island were so friendly. At one point a man with a machete yelled at me. But it wasn’t an angry yell it was more of a ‘hey lookout’ best I could tell. So I asked my (now ex) boyfriend “honey, the nice man with the machete is yelling at me, should I stop?” We kept going but soon a whole village was yelling at me. I decided there must be some issue like a huge drop ahead so I better stop and see what all the commotion is about. It turns out my battery had come lose from my motorcycle and was flopping around. The cutest young teenager helped me tie up the battery so I could finish my ride while the whole village watched. It was the excitement for the day for us and it seemed for them as well.

Since the battery was just roped in it was no longer starting my motorcycle and I had to kick start it. Not a big problem but it was taking me a few times to get it going. At one point we stopped in the rain to decide how to get back to the hotel. I was having trouble starting my motorcycle and a local man got out of his truck in the rain and kick started it for me! I was shocked at this gesture and the friendliness of everyone on the island. I almost hate to go back since I’m worried with time they will become jaded from tourists and the nice feel I had there will be gone.

As a final note to our adventurous stay in Nicaragua we were stopped by cops yet again while on the way to the airport. At first we were nervous since we were running late but we finally figured out they wanted us to buy a ticket to something equivalent to the policeman’s ball. Well we would do anything not to miss our plane and especially since they were carrying big guns. As it turns out it cost about $2 for the tickets and we laughed saying it was a bargain at twice the price. And so ended the most extreme vacation I’d ever taken….I can’t wait to do it again!

Cat “Ometepe on my mind” Cathy