Ometepe Island and a Christmas away from home ...by Nick
Another early start two days later found us heading to our Christmas destination some 2.5 hrs hours away; to the Volcanic island of Ometepe, this would see us jump onto a ferry on what was quite a rough day.
Great!!! me and boats just don't mix well!
They packed the girls and us in like sardines, slammed the door shut to the cabin so waves wouldn’t enter (help!) and put on a Turkish soap opera dubbed in Spanish.
I concentrated on the tv ignoring Bec’s banter trying to quell that gurgling rise in my stomach as breakfast tried to make an unwanted reappearance!
One of the funny things about this boat ride (okay the only one) was they were taking trays of eggs on this very rough crossing.
Were they going to end up scrambled?
One hour of torture later and we landed on the island unloaded and proceeded to find our digs.
As we headed to the other side of the island we encountered our first monkey with the biggest nuts I’ve ever seen, completely disproportionate to his size, as he traversed an overhead power cable.
The road into the hotel took us through the Finca (farm) that owns the hotel and past cattle and banana orchards.
Our Cabana for the next 5 days was right on the waters edge, yes you’ve guessed it, Bec had scored a direct hit again!
It was really quite warm by now (its constantly warm to boiling here!) and a refreshing dip in the lake was in order until we remembered reading, fun fact! that over 100 years of sewerage had been pumped in this Lake (no wonder the fish were big) and that it was the most polluted lake in Central America.
I’ll have a shower then! Sometimes you can over do the research and sometimes ignorance is bliss… as long as you keep your mouth closed!!!
Before we ate that evening, we took a walk around the grounds and to our amazement the track was lit up by fire flies, flickering on and off, frogs made their presence known as did the howler monkeys as we walked, A-flippin-mazing!!
As an early Christmas present to Bec, it was decided that we would take a 2 hour horse trek around the neighbourhood on some tough steeds from the farm.
Now I’m fine with horses as long as my feet can touch the floor!! these things weren’t big but they were certainly tall enough for me.
After some instruction from our leader, I think I understood him, ” you turn with these”(ropes) and “make him go faster these” (leather tassels on end of said rope) Trust me I was not about to make him go faster!
We made our way through dense jungle, banana plantations and farmland navigating low fences and bushes and with a few more instructions from Alfonso and Bec I started to really enjoy myself until he took us up and then down some rather large inclines riddled with large rocks, no chance of getting off here old son, I am a man after all. “Let his reigns go slack and lean back Bec said whilst stifling a laugh”
Farrrrrrrrrk me! Made it, this continued for sometime and he had even had to cut jungle out of the way with his machete so we could pass some bushes that had angry looking spikes on them, and then do a few water crossings.
The views and wildlife were all worth it and other than a sore backside we made it back intact.
Christmas Eve saw us take a trip to the local shop to buy some groceries, I had to stay outside with the bikes as I didn’t have a mask while Bec did the shopping, the place was heaving. We were impressed to see our first New Zealand products on the shelves!
I had the usual admiring looks at the bikes and tried to answer the usual questions of how big were they where were we heading etc, I love this interaction and the bikes are a real icebreaker.
Christmas day was a relaxed, but very strange affair. We missed all the family back home and were only able to briefly talk to them before the internet gave up the ghost. We had to remember that this year we were each others "home".
We had sandwiches for lunch and treated ourselves to a bottle of wine and played Uno in the evening.
Bec had managed to download (unbeknown to me) the new Top Gun film in El Salvador when we had last had good internet as my Christmas gift. So we watched that in the afternoon while scoffing down a packet of Jet Planes that we had been saving for the past 5 months. Don't worry Curtis, we brushed our teeth afterwards!!!
The next few days we took a few rides around the island which was fun as over 50% of the roads are dirt/gravel/rocks/sand.
It was great to be able to view the even slower pace of life here as people went about their business which mainly involved farming, loading trucks and buses with produce that would be shipped to the mainland on the ferry.
We did some more research on the next big step which is flying ourselves and our bikes to Columbia and even paid the deposit for the bikes.
This really is happening, we are about to enter South America!
First though Costa Rica and Panama.