Nicaragua Day 11-12: Around Ometepe

After breakfast, I walked along quiet rural roads lined with farms baking under the hot sun, with gorgeous picture-perfect views of Volcan Concepcion. Found my way to Charco Verde. It was a peaceful, quiet pond with waters lapping against the shore and perpetual cool breezes with Volcan Madeiras topped by clouds in the background. The sun's rays reflected off shimmering waters. The entire scene, with the volcano in the background, looked like a tropical version of a vista of Mount Fuji.

I gave a little kid C$5, and was regretting doing so, fretting that it might encourage begging in Ometepe, which currently doesn't exist. Thankfully the kid volunteered to be my guide up to the Mirador del Diablo, so I didn't feel so bad.

I really enjoyed the time I spent with this shirtless, scrawny, tanned 12-year old who spoke with a lot of confidence. If only I could understand what he was saying in Spanish. Mirador del Diablo was nice, with an okay view, though its nothing to write home about.

A bunch of Americans ascended after me, and were complaining loudly. A middle-aged woman in a blue sleeveless top said loudly how surprised she was that "this park" was so undeveloped, and had no gentle meandering path up through the forest but instead had such a steep, direct climb. Felt above it all and strangely fit as I sat there with the little kid. I gave him C$100, a pencil, packet of 1/2-eaten banana chips and a bottle of water.

Later, I hitchhiked my way to Altagracia on a succcession of 3 vehicles. It was cool to sit in the back of an open-top pickup, feel the wind blowing through my hair and see the sights along the way instead of squeezing in another old creaky schoolbus.

The afternoon wasn't spent as pleasantly. I waited to buy ferry tickets and then waited to board the ferry. The entire process took about 5 hours, and it was horrible. It was in a dusty, small settlement in the corner of nowhere surrounded by flies and rubbish. Fortunately I had some good company, including an old British couple (the husband is 81 years old) who are spending their retirement traveling the world. They said the friendliest place they had visited was China, and that they wouldn't mind living there. It's interesting hearing that because as a Singaporean, I have had different experiences in China.

Trekked the 2km back into town for some grub. Disappointing. Nicaraguan food, except vigoron in Granada's parque central, fried chicken at Tip-Top, Lucila's cooking and that fish dinner at Posada Chico Largo, seems to always turn out disappointing. The variety is small, and the meat is always overcooked. The meat was so tough that you could clobber someone on the head with it. Ugh. I miss Asian food. Next time I travel, I'll go to some place famous for its food.