Picture of the interior of a bus in Nicaragua. I apologize for the poor quality; it was shaky.
After another day of rest on Saturday after being discharged from hospital, I was more than ready to get out and start doing some exploring. It came as a giant relief on Sunday when I went back to the hospital with Raul, and did a final blood test. The result: white blood cells and platelet count returning back to normal, and I was pronounced healthy.
The aftermath: I dashed straight back into town, rented a bike, and cycled 6km out of town in search of 'Peninsula de Asese', a clean swimming beach that Lonely Planet raved about.
The sad reality: This place either doesn't exist, or is very, very inaccessible.
Another lesson learnt: Take whatever guidebooks say, especially when they're describing a place far away in vague terms like 'take the road with the hand-painted sign for El Baneiro", with a pinch of salt.
Anyway, it was great to cycle a total of 12km under the hot sun. I perspired a lot, and it feels good to be active again.
The next day, it was finally the day to leave Granada. Went to the ferry terminal an hour earlier to try to get tickets for the ship across Lago de Nicaragua to the island in the middle, Isle de Ometepe.
The sad reality: Stuck in a line with about 20 locals and 10 tourists for half an hour, only to be told the ship was full. Probably because of the backlog from Christmas.
Another lesson learnt: Never trust people/guidebooks when they say there's no need to book ahead. Always book ahead when you've CONFIRMED your plans. I'm not the biggest fan of booking ahead, but for a ferry which only sails twice a week, you really should. Even one day ahead would have made a difference.
So, I took the bus to Rivas and took another ferry from San Jorge to Moyogalpa on the island. Here's what I wrote in my trusty red notebook:
I have only you to keep me from going crazy. Met a succession of strange individuals in this trip. First, a 38-year old guy who kindly helped me find accomodation for the night in Ometepe and went together with me from the bus to the pedicab to the taxi to the ferry, trying to communicate with a series of gestures. With a breath that reeked of alcohol. And offering to take me up Volcano Concepcion the next day for only 150 cordobas (US$7). (By the way, this didn't happen. He didn't show up even after an hour's waiting, and anyway the going rate for guides was US$20.)
Then, when wandering the tiny backward town of Moyogalpa trying to look for something to eat, I randomly met a stranger. He seemed enamoured by the fact that I was Chinese/Japanese (and didn't really understand the concept of Singapore) and kept doing weird kung-fu signs and grunts. He took me to a 'barato' (cheap) eatery and I ordered fish for the seemingly good deal of US$2.50. The "fish" turned out to be a couple of small, round, orange fishcakes accompanied by the usual beans and rice, salad and a tortilla. It was not a good meal. And then when I was eating (I had already kindly bought him a drink, and he was still at my table), he pointed to himself and asked if he could eat some food. I said OK and he hungrily devoured about 1/3 of the meal. After I tried to force the rice-and-beans into my mouth a few bites later, he indicated that he wanted more. So I pushed the plate over to him, and he finished my entire meal in a matter of seconds, licking his lips after he did so.
The eatery was a rip-off too, charging much more than the going rate for food and drinks in Nicaragua."
Something to be happy about though: I found a relatively decent private room with attached bathroom for just US$7 a night.
- See more at: http://globalconversation.org/2010/12/30/day-8-9-cant-wait-get-out-granada#sthash.Zk1lrd0f.dpuf