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Day 26 Managua-Moyogalpa, Ometepe

Written on: Saturday August 18th, 2007

A journal entry from: Central America Road Trip 2007

Back on track. Get off to a non-rushed start since there is plenty of time in the day to get to where I'm going and that's my only goal. I leave Brenda behind and head off first to Rivas, where I thought I'd need to catch some other transportation to San Jorge and the boat to Ometepe, but as it turned out the bus I was on made a stop at the pier after Rivas but before making its return run to Managua. I ask the guard at the gate when the next ferry was and he told me 2:30 (it was then around 12:45). That would have been the longest I ever had to wait for a transportation connection this whole trip (excepting of course my little episode a few days earlier near Tegucigalpa). But, someone else says there is a boat at 1:40.

There is a lesson here. You have to be careful how you ask things and who you ask, since people down here take things literally and usually don't think to provide the information you obviously need rather than just the bare minimum that you specifically asked. So if you ask what time the bus leaves, they might just tell you when THEIR bus leaves rather than which one is next. If you ask about the ferry, even though obviously you're a pedestrian without a car, they'll just tell you about the ferry, even though there is a boat you could also use that leaves much earlier.

I take advantage of the time to grab some lunch at one of the little comedors near the gate to the pier and then head over to the boat which seemed to be boarding. The trip took about an hour and cost only 30c ($1.50), but the boat was anything but fancy - creaking wooden beam construction with canvas flaps over the openings on the side to keep out the spray. The lake was surprising rough from the wind. I'm guessing at least 2-3 foot waves which made the boat bounce a bit until we got closer to the island which broke the wind. I kept holding up the canvas near my opening so I could enjoy the view which was really nice - the island of Zapatera in the distance off to the left and the Island of Ometepe with its twin conular volcanic peaks ahead of us and looming larger and larger as we got closer. Unfortunately, it was getting rainy and the tops of the volcanos became shrouded in clouds and mist.

The girl next to me on the boat was from Ometepe and so I asked her if she knew of any good hotels in Moyogalpa - the port town on Ometepe to which we were arriving. She recommended a couple, but as I got off the boat I saw one of the hotels I had seen recommended elsewhere so I checked it out - the Hotel Ometepe. Unfortunately they only had a 'large room' which still seemed pretty small to me, private bath but no a-c as I had read and $20/nt. To top it off, the area it was in near the dock looked pretty muddy since it was at the bottom of a hill and it had been raining so much, so I dropped my pack and went looking to see what else could be found. I wound up at the Hotel Central. $8/nt for a very plain room, but it had a fan and a private bath and it served the need. 

I went back for my pack and on the way back to my room I met this ex-pat named Jerry (and his black lab Yogi) who was at the bar pitching his own business down the street. But he seemed like a font of information, so a while later, after freshening up a bit and resting my ankle I headed over to his bar to check out what he had. It was a pretty nice set-up with Satelite TV and highspeed internet, but nobody was there while I was there, so I just sat and chatted with Jerry. He had led an interesting life, having lived in many interesting places (usually island locations), is a Libertarian (so you can imagine we had an interesting political discussion) and filled me in on his take of living as an expat in Nicaragua (or at least Ometepe), some of the other ex-pats in the area and his views on the various backpacker types that visited Ometepe.

That night, I had pizza for dinner. Went back to my hotel to discover that a loud disco operated directly across the street on weekend nights (which Jerry told me the Central was in the process of suing over the noise). So bear that in mind if you ever go to Ometepe on a weekend night and are thinking of staying at that hotel. I had a room on the other side of the hotel and it didn't really bother me. I went out on the street, and took a peek inside to check it out. There seemed to be as many young Moyogalpans outside as there were in, and I talked to one to get the scoop. He said something about this being a special event to celebrate the opening of a local radio station so I don't know how usual that type of festivity really is, but one should bear that in mind if they plan to stay in Moyogalpa on a weekend or at least the street side of the Central Hotel

Total cost for the day - about 600c or $30.