Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Capriccio Nicaragüense

Me and Teena in Switzerland 2003

During my senior year of high school I became very good friends with an exchange student from Switzerland. She introduced me to the chocolaty voice of Leonard Cohen, and the beauty of batik wrap skirts. Together we spent hours walking from place to place (an homage to her pro-walking homeland), bicycled to the library, cooked, and discussed the most important intricacies of life, like ‘what do you think Bob Dylan meant with that line?’ Because of Teena I became more confident with my individualism, coming at a time when life was a lot easier if you just did what everyone else was doing. Over the years we have managed to see each other twice, both times in beautiful Switzerland, and there was never much talk of her returning to this side of the Atlantic. That being said, last week Joe and I went to Nicaragua. The one in Central America.
Getting comfortable in a restaurant in Granada

In early December, Teena wrote to see if I would be able to join her for a portion of her Central American travels. She would be starting in Costa Rica and working her way up to Mexico over a three month period. Those wacky Europeans sure do know how to travel. In any event, I told her for sure we could meet up, offers like that don’t come around just any day of the week—catching up with a good friend who I almost never see, and visiting a new land, not bad. I suggested mid-February, knowing our jobs would be able to live without us for a few days, and she figured by then she’d be in Nicaragua. So off we went.
Howler Monkey mid-jump

View of Volcan Concepcion from Volcan Madera
The most exciting part of the trip was getting to the island of Ometepe, which is created by two large volcanoes (one active, one dormant) connected by an isthmus. Myself, Joe, Teena, and Simon (a guy we found along the way) stayed at a farm at the base of the dormant volcano. While we were there we lounged in hammocks, watched howler monkeys, indulged in the Nicaraguan cuisine (rice, beans, and cheese), did a little bird watching, and climbed the volcano. And at night, when everyone else had gone to sleep, Teena and I stayed up and talked and talked. It was perfect.
The reward after climbing Volcan Madera

The last full day of our trip was spent back on the mainland outside of a town called Masaya. We wanted to get to this beautiful crater lake that we had heard so much about and finish the trip off in style. When we arrived it became clear that this was not as remote as we had hoped, in fact it was nothing short of a resort. No matter, make the most of it. We went for a dip in the largest crater lake in Nicaragua, but were quickly chased out by floating poops. The other swimmers didn’t seem to mind, but we did. You could see the beans.
Teena, me, Joe, and Simon on Isle de Ometepe

It was a short trip, but we packed a lot in. And on top of all our activities there was still time to reconnect with my dear old friend, which was above and beyond the best part of being down there. 


Just Carol said...

Love the adventures you take! Poop in the lake--yuck!

Ron said...

Yea, great trip, "cool beans"...
No wonder you should keep your shots up to date!

Brenda said...

I hope you have more pictures of Teena. The beans in the lake may explain the asparagus indecent. :)