>> Saturday, January 24, 2009
Our friend Danny told us that on his visit he wanted the quintessential Central American experience, so we tried to deliver and visit a variety of places during his week here. We went to pick him up at the airport around 9:00 pm on Tuesday (December 30th... we've been
busy lazy), and after a brief visit to our house in Masaya, we were back at the airport less than 12 hours later to go to the Atlantic Coast, an autonomous region that makes up about half of the geographic area of Nicaragua. From Wikipedia:
About 9% of Nicaragua's population is black, or Afro-Nicaragüense, and mainly reside on the country's sparsely populated Caribbean or Atlantic coast. The black population is mostly composed of black English-speaking Creoles who are the descendants of escaped or shipwrecked slaves; many carry the name of Scottish settlers who brought slaves with them, such as Campbell, Gordon, Downs and Hodgeson.For Volunteers, the Atlantic Coast is a magical land of mystery because of its distinct "English-speaking" (more on that later) culture and because travel there is highly restricted (and for good reason) by Peace Corps and the Embassy. It's possible to travel via land on a long, uncomfortable journey, but Volunteers are only permitted to travel by air after applying for and receiving special permission.
Bluefields was just a layover on our way to Pearl Lagoon, which was an hour away in the wildest boat ride we've ever been on, but everyone else seemed unimpressed.
The next morning, our trip started to take on a charmed quality after a worrying start. At 7:00 when we were supposed to meet for the boat trip, we went to the front gate of the hotel and no one was there. No Swedes, no Miss Dell (the owner of the hotel), and we thought we had missed the literal boat. Instead, it turned out, the Swedes had gotten back only an hour or two earlier and were comatose and unable to go on the trip. When Miss Dell got back she told us that only seven people fit on this boat anyway so the three of us wouldn't have been able to go with the five Swedes, but she would be willing to forget about the Swedes (who were actually Swiss, but that's an unimportant detail) and take us instead. There was a cool British couple that was interested, so we all decided to go to island paradise.
Here's Miss Dell dealing with the tight security at the ocean outlet:
We spent the whole day on two little deserted islands and we ended up climbing that tree: