Saturday, July 14, 2007


So far, I have gone swimming in a a crater lake at the top of Volcan Madera, boarded down another, Cerro Negro, and gone sliding upside down across zip lines through the canopy on Mombacho. We went to the Isla de Ometepe last weekend, an island in Lake Cocibolca, and on Saturday, we crawled and slipped and slid and stumbled our way up and down a very muddy Volcan Madera. Another weekend of volcano play to add to the list.

We took our time while our guide, who appeared to be in his mid fifties or maybe even early sixties, took a lot of breaks to roll up cigarettes to smoke and touch up the trail with his machete. The poor man had to listen to us while we sang Grease and Spice Girls and whatever else we could think of to keep ourselves trudging along towards the end. Although, after doing with four times a week for fourteen years, he has probably had to deal with worse. I had my first monkey sighting, too, a white faced, long haired, and very suspicious creature that was eying us from a tree off of our trail. We also encountered a small family of monkeys eating bright orange fruit down by the entrance to the finca (farm) where we spent the first two nights, a forest crab that snapped its claws at us as we walked by (and when our guide poked at it with a stick).

We ended up staying at this intensely crunchy hippy eco-farm owned by two Italians in the middle of the island the next night, resting sore muscles and singing eighties songs. We ate at a comedor on the island and when a hog walked through the tables to rub up against a boulder in the cooking area i didn't even think twice. For some reason, that made me happy.

The food was amazing. We just asked for whatever they had, and the women working there emerged from a smoky back area behind the house with six heaping plates of rice, beans, avocado, thick and sweet homemade tortillas, and a dollap of ketchup to top it off. I asked if they had any salsa, any chile sauce to put on our food, and she plucked these little green pepper bulbs from the bushes around us, dropped three or four in the middle of the table, and told me to be careful. More than enough spice.

Also, I've started to take dance lessons. They're once a week, fifty cords a class, and pretty much my whole house goes. We do salsa (not real salsa, I've been informed, but an easier gringo version- still pretty rough for me), bachata, and merengue. We never have enough guys around to partner up with, so the teacher recruits these awkward and a little bit gawky teenage boys to dance with us. I definitely have middle school and high school school dance flashbacks at certain points during lessons. My usual partner appears to be about fourteen years old, and, when we first started, would sort of hold my skirt instead of actually touching my hip. I think that he's getting used to me, but the awkward factor doesn't exactly help me get over how stiff I am to start with.

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