|Wow what a day and what a trip. First of all last night the wind picked up so much that the materials on the roof were lifting up and banging. Very worrisome as we have to take teh ferry the in the morning to Ometepe Island and the trip is notoriously rough. So the morning started off with a 7am hike through Granada with full packs through the early morning streets of Granada. Since its so hot here the vendors set up shop early and the trip through the mercado was loud and busy even at this early hour. It was easy to find the bus station though because as soon as you start to get close you get mobbed by taxi drivers trying to convince you to spend your cordobas on them rather then the chicken bus. You also know as you start to here the drivers calling out the name of the destination ¨Rivas, Rivas, Rivas¨ as soon as they see you coming down the road. So just as we are about to clamber onto the circa 1970´s school bus which the owner didn´t even care enough about to repaint (they commonly repaint the buses bright colors and put on shiny hubcaps on the baldest set of tires I have ever seen)Hunter gets a nose bleed. But with a little luck and maybe a little sympathy Cynthia and Hunter managed to get the front seat. Kelb and Tay were sitting a few rows back and abuela (Grandma) and I were behind them. Luckily we were a good 35 minutes early so we managed to get seats. By the time we left the girls were sitting with two other Nica girls and Mum and I had a lady sitting in our seat with us. With another ten or so people standing for the upcoming 1.5hr journey. It is important to note that in most spanish American countries a bus never gets full and you can transport anything on it. It is possible to hail one like a cab and get off anytime. And every time the bus stops to squish in another couple of people, one or two vendors hop on carrying huge baskets of fresh fruit, juices (in a baggie with a straw), baking, cigarettes, sodas, etc.. Somehow squeezing down the isle with the basket in tow selling their products and then back again to hop of teh bus and hop onto the next one going by. Come to think of it, the chicken bus is a one stop shop. For a dollar an hour you get transportation (about 20 kilometers an hour) shopping for all type of things, conversation with the whoever is sitting next to or on you, excitement as teh bus swerves between traffic, cows, horses, people, rocks, trees, and what ever else might be on the road like it was a Ferrari, theft as the sweet little old lady, or the cute little boy sitting behind you steals your wallet, and emotion as you witness the fast pace bus come to a stand still to help an elderly lady onto or off the bus or people always standing up to offer their seat to the elderly or children, and especially to my gringa children. Another thing about spanish America is everyone is trying to make a dollar (mostly honestly) and they see gringos as dollar signs. So when we get to Rivas the bus is stormed by people grabbing at your bags trying to haul them and you into a taxi. So before I was off of the bus this guy had my pack three times, Cynthia's once before he was heading off with grandmas. I managed to get ahold of our bags but grandmas got into a taxi but luckily with grandma and two of our girls. Cynthia, Hunter and I got into another cab and we all got to our destination with our bags for a fair price. Its an extremely stressful situation though, in a strange country, with a strange age language, and your suddenly surrounded by 20 men all yelling at you in spanish and grabbing at your bags all the while I am trying to keep ahold of three little girls. So next the ferry to Ometepe. It looks rough (in fact I didn´t think lakes got that rough) but I am told it is a good day so off we go. Well what a ride it turned out to be. As Cynthia sat in a rather comfortable seat ( for NIcaragua) in the air conditioned area, the girls Grandma, and I went out to see the weather and the waves. Really I went to e closer to the edge when I needed to blow chunks ;) and watching that the girls don´t get washed over was my excuse to Cynthia as she carefully studied where the life jackets were. Us five (less Cyn) were standing on the second level deck about 40´ above the water level and about 20´ back from teh bow of the boat. And every time the bow went down into a wave we would get soaked by the wave splashing over. All that as we watched as we slowly chugged closer to the ominous volcan Concepcion on Ometepe island. What an amazing sight and feeling (not the nausea) It seemed like something out of a king Kong or Jurassic park movie. Chugging along in this old wreck of a boat as the waves batter us around with a smoking volcano on the horizon ever drawing closer. If your in the market for a location for a monster movie, this is it. Either way we made it to Ometepe only to be swarmed by taxi drivers once again. Luckily we were better prepared this time and had our packs strapped on before they could get to us, and I never did blow chunks. So the story of Ometepe will have to wait as it is actually Monday the 8th now and we are just leaving teh island for another ferry ride (9 hours)to the Rio San Juan and into the jungle. To give you a taste though, the roads are mostly dirt and rock (I am talking the highways) that are much worse then the worse pasture trail at home, our accommodations are nice but overrun by scorpions, we ended up killing four in total, one was inches from Grandmas head as she slept. The island though is amazing and beautiful. It is impossible to get a picture without a volcano in teh background. The beach is miles of endless and people less (some horses and cows though) sand. What ever this island is lacking in infrastructure it makes up 100 times over with the beauty in its people and landscape. Come to Nica now before the beauty is paved over and price tagged, which is already starting as the ferries are getting bigger and the roads are getting better.
Hey just a quick update. The past days have been great. Yesterday we saw monkeys, animals being herder (horsed, cows). The monkey that we saw were capuchin. Today we got on a chicken bus and are going on a ferry. Next to the jungle. Kelby.