Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

My Trip to Nicaragua: Day 3: Ometepe February 12, 2008

Filed under: Travel — Stephanie @ 6:42 pm
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We left our hotel and headed over to the nearest supermarket in Masaya. We each picked up some breakfast and snacks. I got some yogurt and cookies (the cookies were a recommendation from L, who had tried that brand before on a trip to Costa Rica). We then headed to the bus stop to catch a bus down through Rivas to San Jorge to catch a ferry to Las Isla de Ometepe.

We had a beautiful view on a nice ferry. There were nice balconies to stand out on to look at the bright blue skies and the volcanoes in the distance as we floated across Lago Cocibolca. Apparently, some people were on the boat filming a tourism video for Nicaragua. They asked us if it would be all right if we were in it (they could tell that we were tourists!) There were people from all over the world on the ferry that day. Some people were from Nicaragua, others were from the United States (like us) and there were even people from as far away as Israel!

As is the case at many transportation terminals, there were many taxi drivers awaiting the ferry passengers. Some were offering complicated tourism packages. We were just looking to do something in the time we were there. We had read on the schedule that a ferry would be leaving the island at 2:00pm, so we didn’t have too much time to explore. We wanted to see the petroglyphs, but we wouldn’t have enough time. The taxi driver we hired luckily spoke English, so we were able to chat with him more. He drove us to Charco Verde (Green Lagoon) Nature Preserve. The lake there is said to be enchanted. They say if you swim in the lake, you will never want to leave. The interesting part about the lake was that it was very silty, most likely from the volcanic rock.

We ate a hearty lunch, and then got back on our way to the Ferry. Unfortunately, the departure time for the ferry was an hour later than what we and the taxi driver thought it was. So we waited on the island for another hour. We interacted somewhat with the local people there, including a little boy that liked to throw leaves at us, but we were all pretty warm and tired, so we mostly sat in the shade drinking copious amounts of water.

The ferry back was not nearly as nice as the one we took to get to the island, but it ran, and that’s all that mattered to us. We got a cab right off the boat (there were plenty of cabbies there waiting for us), and headed off to San Juan Del Sur. We stayed at hotel Estrella (i believe), which according to a guidebook had a bunch of bats. This hotel made me the least happy of the hotels we stayed at. I think there actually were bats…and the beds maybe had some guano on them from them. Also, the cost of the place seemed to change from one statement to the other. And they said that they would hold on to our key while we went out to the beach. They warned us that if you left stuff out, it would get stolen (at the beach). Leaving our key with them, combined with one other thing, is where I think there was a big problem…I announced to my friends that I would pay for dinner that night because I had 500 cordoba on me that I needed to spend. I’m almost certain I had that money….and when I went to pay for dinner that night, it and perhaps a US $20 was missing from my wallet. So, note to everyone…don’t talk about how much money you have on you. It’s a dumb thing, I know, and I guess I really wasn’t thinking. You live and you learn!

I think in total I perhaps lost$50US from that theft. In the long run, that’s not too much, but it would have been nicer to not have lost it, and deal with the upsetting idea of someone stealing things from me.

At any rate, we did go out to the pacific ocean, and played in the big waves. The coast there is known for its beautiful sunsets; we managed to show up during a cloudy sunset, but it was still beautiful!

We had dinner at a nearby restaurant, again taking advantage of the relatively cheap cost of everything. One of the fun facts (for my friends and me, at least) was that the guys working at the restaurant were watching a Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees game!  We were disappointed to find out that they were most likely Yankees fans!

Towards the end of our dinner, a huge lightning storm moved in. We saw amazing lightning over the waves, which seemed to light up the entire sky! Along with the lightning, of course, was a bit of a downpour! The roof of the restaurant started to leak, so we paid our bill and got ready to leave. Our hotel was literally right across the street. We booked it across the street, and managed to get completely soaked running through the already flooding 10 feet of street!

We all changed into dry clothes and just headed to bed. We went to bed a little bit sad…it was our last night in Nicaragua!

 

My Trip to Nicaragua: Day 2: Masaya November 2, 2007

Filed under: Travel — Stephanie @ 4:21 pm
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Tuesday:

Like I mentioned in my last post about my trip, the hotel came with a complimentary breakfast! We could choose among a list of meals (some were more “American” than others, since the hotel is popular with business travelers). We all picked the Nicaraguan Breakfast (red beans, rice, scrambled eggs, cheese, corn tortilla, fruit juice, coffee). We checked out of the hotel, and off to a pharmacy to look for some aloe, as well as some more sunscreen. Due to our not-perfect Spanish, we ended up getting some diaper rash lotion that contained aloe. Close enough, eh?

Took a cab to get to the bus going to Masaya. At a couple of the stoplights, people came up to our cars, trying to sell us bananas, cell phones, birds, and baby turtles, among other interesting objects.

The bus (well, it was more like a van) to Masaya was a bit crowded, but we all fit in there pretty well.

We found a great hotel, Hotel Monte Carlo, which had rooms for $10 US per night! (You could splurge and get air conditioning for an extra $10)  The woman running the hotel was super friendly. She hailed a cab and made a deal with the driver for a trip up to Masaya Volcano National Park.

The volcano was AMAZING!!! It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The park rangers handed us gas masks because there was sulfur emitting from the active crater. I definitely coughed quite a bit before we put those on! We went all the way up to La Cruz de Bobadilla (The Cross of Bobadilla)…though I think there was a sign saying not to go up there! We read in a guide book that there were demon parakeets that lived in the volcano…they were able to survive even with the toxic sulfur gas, an interesting adaptation. There was also a dormant volcano that had been so for centuries. It looked very different: instead of brown and gray rockiness, it was green, grassy, full of trees and flowers.

Back to the city for a tasty buffet for only 38 Córdoba, which is about $2 US!

We wandered around the market for a while. I obsessed about what to buy. I knew I wanted a hammock and an ornament (or something I can turn into an ornament). Now before you think I’m some silly tourist, let me explain the ornament thing. I realized that a big part of decorating the tree at Christmas is remembering where all the ornaments came from. And since I also don’t have any ornaments up here (they’re all at my parents’ place), I figured this would be a good way to start.  I’m pretty sure we all bought hammocks.  M bought a few paintings as well.   We also grabbed some ice cream before heading out!

We relaxed for a bit at our hotel, and then ventured out to Lake Masaya, to see the sunset. It was beautiful to see the sunset over the volcano and lake.

We had a late dinner at a nearby restaurant. We were the only people there, and by the end, the guys working there had gotten ridiculously drunk and giggly, which was fun, cause some of us were getting giggly too!

M and L headed to an internet cafe to check on some things, and A and I headed back to our hotel to get a good nights sleep.

 

 
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