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Day 27 Ometepe

Written on: Sunday August 19th, 2007

A journal entry from: Central America Road Trip 2007

We said our goodbyes and I went off on the nature trail out to Laguna Verde, the Mirador del Diablo and the beach opposite the island I visited provided a much more stable platform for taking pictures and looking for wildlife. One could actually probably swim out fairly easily swim out to the island from that beach. I also tried unsuccessfully to snap some pictures of some colorful blue-tailed magpies that were hiding in the trees (only to discover later that they practically eat right out of your hand near Playa Santo Domingo) and some howler monkeys.

I finished the loop around noon and wasn't that hungry, so I decided to head right out for my next destination. That was a risky proposition. The walk back to the road was short enough, but I had no idea when the bus was due by there. There was no shade at the turnoff, no place to sit down and no traffic, so I decided to start walking and see what came around. The roads on Ometepe are kind of interesting or at least the main road between the towns. It was made up of interlocking cement blocks and was in pretty good shape. The only potholes were in all the towns themselves and, of course, on all the side roads. It was pretty hot and sunny, so I mainly stuck to the shadier gullies on either side of the road, climbing quickly up to the roadside on the rare occasions I heard traffic approaching, but there was very little - 1 or 2 cars, a tourist bus or 2, none of which that would stop, a few folks on mopeds and 3 kids on bicycles heading in the same direction who seemed to stop every few hundred yards to rest under a tree. I was making about as quick progress as them and I was on foot and not a single bus. Unfortunately, that stretch of road was all (or mostly) a long slow steady uphill. I covered 4-5kms over 45-50 minutes or so, without passing so much as a single town, but finally a pickup truck came along that stopped for me. I hopped in back eagerly and off we went. By the time we got to the turn-off for Playa Santo Domingo and the "other island", I realized just how far I would have had to walk and was very thankful. When they turned off towards the beach, I was even more thankful. That stretch had been described as walkable to me, but it was a pretty long walk over a pretty rough road.

We get to Playa Santo Domingo and I hop out (offering them some gas money which they declined). Its now about 1:30 and I'm getting pretty hungry so I look for a nice place to hang out and grab something to eat. I walk into a nice looking place and who should happen to be there but the family from Colorado. I mention the problem with buses on Sunday and hint at possibly hitching a ride with them when they are ready to leave, which they were willing to do but they were heading to some swimming hole next and I was still waiting on my lunch, so I wished them well and said maybe we'd run into each other later on. The lunch was pretty good (chicken Kabob and a banana licuado), but what was really cool were the neat looking semi-domesticated Urrucas (magpie jays) that hung out there snapping up french fries and other food tidbits tossed out by the tourists. The place was a little fancier then the cheaper looking roadside comidas up the road where the backpacker crowd seemed to congregate, but I think it is worth it sometimes. On the way out, I asked some of those backpackers if they knew about any buses and they said they had asked a few people and had gotten as many answers, none of which were particularly encouraging. I knew from asking the busdriver earlier that his last run at least was to leave Altagracia around 4PM and if I wanted to get back to the turnoff in time to be sure of catching that bus, I had to leave pretty soon, so I started off walking. And then it happened! I guess I was pushing the pace a little too much for fear of not making it to the intersection in time and I wound up re-twisting my ankle...badly. First I howled in pain and hopped around for a few minutes and then, with no other choice, I continued on my way limping very badly. Fortunately, within a 100yds or so, another pickup truck came along. This one already loaded with what looked like a local baseball team and a few bicycles. I barely had time to find a place to put my feet in the truckbed before we started off again. I was sitting with butt hanging off the back tailgate, trying to limbo under the metal bar that was 2 feet above that, finally giving up and just holding on with my arms and keep from falling off the back. That was a very long 10 minute ride for me and my arms and butt were pretty sore by the time we got there but were still feeling better then my ankle. I hopped off the back and gave the driver his 20c ($1) before he sped off towards Altagracia.

Then I crossed the road to meet another fun group of guys waiting for a ride to Moyogalpa. One of them went off and found a driver that would give us a ride for 30c a piece, so again we all squeeze in to the back and off we go. I didn't understand half of what they said but they all seemed to be joking and having fun. The guy next to me started counting off the others to figure out how much we all owed the driver. Uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, ses, siete he counted each guy and then when he got to this one guy who must have weighed about 300 lbs he went ocho, nueve, deis, once. Which got a big laugh from everyone. But then I reached over and patted his also fairly ample stomach and said "Cuidado amigo, tu eres un poco gordito tambien" (watch it my friend, you're a bit of a fatty yourself) which got an even better laugh from everyone, including gordito who blushed a little. It was feeling pretty cramped in the back there with 9 guys, until we passed another truck loaded with a couple of horses and I don't know how many guys hanging on to the railings off all sides. And we were making pretty good time as the driver drove pretty fast. stopping only when we passed a small horse parade for some festival in the last town before we got to Moyogalpa.

The rest of the day was spent back at the hotel hanging out in a hammock with my ankle up and an ice compress trying to keep down the swelling, trying to stay as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, it looked pretty bad and that most likely any further hiking would be out for my trip.

Misplaced my notes, but the total cost for they again came in around about 600c or the low 30's.