Day 70 – Wednesday, September 4, 2013
We are still on the beachfront of Lake Nicaragua. We were supposed to travel to Granada today however our guide is supposedly checking into needed vehicle repairs. He did arrange to have a rear wheel cylinder leak repaired today. The mechanics made the repair right at our campsite within a few hours. He was supposedly checking locally for other needed parts so here we sit for another day. Can you feel my skepticism about these delays yet? Julie notes “I am sensing the teeniest hint of skepticism. He hides it so well. (Did you feel my hint of sarcasm?)”
Julie and I planned a trip to Ometepe Island on the ferry but the bureaucracy was more than I could take. First we made a reservation for the round trip. We then had Inspector Gadget look at the “rig” to assess costs. We then lined up for an hour or more. Of course, the off-loading melon truck broke down on the loading ramp. We suspect this may have been on purpose because the guy sold melons to everyone on the pier. We paid our assessed fee to the ferry company. Then we went to a different window to pay the tax for the dock area, then we paid our tax per person because we were foreigners. I want to know how they knew that without asking us? Then we were questioned about the size of the rig and assured, after phone calls to the ferry owner, and assistance from the tourist office that everything was good to go. The tourist officer insisted we not pay any other fees except to the mayor of Ometepe Island on our return trip. So, after waiting for the melon truck to get towed off the pier, we were waved ahead for loading. But wait, we had mysteriously not paid enough for the size of our rig. The loading guru insisted we pay more. Again, my patience wore thin and a standoff ensued. I was holding up the already late line of travellers and insisting that we not pay any more. Eventually, after involvement from the tourist office, armed police and military, ferry staff, and probably a few others, we got a refund and were turned around and sent out of the area. Back to the beach for the day. Third world antics are beginning to take its toll on this gringo and the fact we are not getting the trip we paid for. Julie notes “Yes just reading this again has worn me out. What he didn’t mention was that we were just going to walk aboard and tour in a bus or taxi but our illustrious guide insisted it would be a much more pleasant trip with our vehicle with us. I am not sure why we keep listening to him. Humidity brain I think. Brad’s usual arm waving escalates dramatically when he is trying to explain ‘that it’s just the principal of the thing’ in a foreign language. No wonder he is losing weight on this trip. Brad let them keep the last 20 cordobas in taxes as that was about when the armed guard came to check on the arm waving foreigner or ‘Windmill Gringo’ as how he will likely go down in Ometepe legend. Again, I reminded him that I do not know how to say ‘don’t shoot’ or ‘which jail did you take him to?’ in Espanola so I am hoping he has got all his rebelling against authority in foreign lands out of his system. Plus if they’d hauled him off I would’ve had to drive the truck into the lake to turn it around and everyone knows how I hate to get my feet wet.”
Julie notes “Our alternate form of transport was waiting if they happened to confiscate our vehicle during the ‘Windmill Gringo of The Ometepe Ferry’ debacle. In the distance you can see our intrepid leader’s vehicle as he ‘waits for parts’. Cynicism intended. He was most likely enjoying our ferry loading escapades from afar.”
Chess game on the pier waiting for the ferry. The shirt pulled up over the belly is a men’s fashion statement here in Central America. Julie notes “Our Emily made this look popular 20 years ago, in Canada, with her 3 year old baby belly sticking out. She’ll be happy to know that it is catching on. I love it. Makes me wish for a second that I was a man. Got a hot belly, in any sense of the word, pull up your shirt.”
Our beautiful beachside campsite overlooking Lake Nicaragua and Ometepe Island.
A refreshing dip in the warm waters of the lake.
Fish for dinner for this guy. Julie notes “Our regret to all egrets out there, we have been calling you cranes. Our surprise extended stay here allowed me to search out the bird book. Black feet, yellow beak = the Great Egret. Big eyes, red face = embarrassed travellers. We’re disappointed Kristin and her bird buddies didn’t point that out to us earlier!”
Wind generators on the distant shoreline. Julie notes “Again, I bet you thought this was going to a picture of Brad and maybe Frank, didn’t you? If only they would do wind generation on a distant shore line.”
One of the many pictures we took of the ever changing volcanos.
…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick