Monday, November 17, 2008

Goin to a watch some bull runnin!

A picture of our hotel in Merida, wonderful place.

The waterfall that I never got to see!

The new gang in front of the chicken bus that took us to Altagracia, this thing was so full you cuold barely move.

Walking from the bus to our hotel.

A shot of the lake from the beach.
The path to the beach from our hotel.

Me in the lake, busting the pose as usual.

My foot after my not so smart Ninja jump into the water.

The view from out place in Chaco Verde.

Another shot of the lake.

Our hotel in Chaco Verde

Our ride to the other side of the island.

Altagracis gearing up for the festival.

I cook a mean omlete!

Volcan Concepcion, the one I climbed last time I was here.

Making our way to our hotel in Chaco Verde.

I forgot how great of a place Nicaragua is. The people are just so nice here, for my money the friendliest people I have met so far on this trip (even the guy who tried to rob us on the bus pointed us in the direction we needed to go when we got off). It is very cheap here for traveling and the countryside is gorgeous.

After staying at Chaco Verde, Tamarah and I made our way to the other side of the island that is formed by the smaller volcano, Maderas. We intended to climb it as there is a waterfall on the way up and a lake sitting in the now dormant volcano´s crater.

Ometepe is a wonderful island full of friendly people and amazing scenery, but the infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. Getting from Chaco Verde to Merida, which is maybe a 20km journey, was like trying to perform brain surgery. There is no bus stop there, you just have to flag down a bus, but most of them do not go to the Maderas side of the island because the roads are not paved there, but instead are horribly potholed, bumpy and muddy trails. We would have had to take about two or three forms of transportation to go the short distance. Fortunately for us, a tour was leaving from out hotel to go to the waterfall on the other side of the island. We asked the driver if we could get a lift to Merida and he said sure. Then, an Italian tourist tried to tell me that we had to pay him so that he could get his tour cheaper.

Now, I don´t know how things work in Italy, but where I am from, you pay the person performing a service for you, not some other yahoo that happens to be there as well. I told him I was paying the guy who owned the truck, and he threw a hissy fit like a true baby. After wasting everyone´s time, the owner finally relented and said I could pitch in on his fair. That isn´t right in my opinion, as if you agree to pay a certain price to go on a tour, then some other people join in, your price doesn't get divided by the number of new people, they pay their own fair. But, this guy was being a cry baby and had to save himself 3 bucks or else he was going to make every body´s day miserable. That three bucks would mean a lot to the guy operating the tour, as most of the people on the island are very poor, but this jerk had to save himself that money so he could feel like he got a good deal. As soon as we get going, the guy pulls out a camera that looked like it most have cost a good 3 grand complete with a lens that would make a National Geographic photographer turn green with envy. What an ass!

Then he and every other stupid tourist on the truck made the driver stop every time we passed some locals that were going about there business, washing clothes in the river, cooking over a wood stove, etc. to jump out, take their picture without asking permission, then jump back in the truck and drive off.

That sort of things just pisses me off so much and is what makes locals hate gringo tourists.You do not just run up to someone and take their picture without asking first, these people are not animals in a zoo, they are human beings just going about their day. How would you like it if a tour bus full of foreigners came through your neighborhood and then took a bunch of pictures of you taking out the garbage and then drove off, and then the next day a new bus full of idiots came and did the same thing? I was about to tell them all they were a bunch of morons but Tamarah asked me not to make a scene so I swallowed my protests. For the record though, she hates that too, she just doesn´t like confrontation whereas I almost enjoy it when I feel I am in the right about something.

At any rate, we got to where we were jumping off and the idiot Italian guy (henceforth referred to as the IIG) then tells me to give him double what the truck driver asked me to pay for our fare. So then I really gave it to the IIG and told him what I thought about him. It was petty but it felt good anyway.

Once in Merida, Tamarah and I hiked up to our Hotel, which was a great place overlooking the water. It was $10 a night and the restaurant had amazing food for about $3 a plate. We met some great people and had an absolutely wonderful time. It is the kind of place that you could spend a few weeks in, just hanging out, taking life nice and easy, enjoying a beautiful lake, mountain scenery and hikes, and great food served by the friendliest family you have ever met. I loved it there.

The gang went on a hike to go and see the waterfall but I had to skip it as when we were swimming the day before I managed to injure myself.

The water in the lake is very high right now as it has been raining a lot. So, there are quite a few rocks and such that are now underwater which you would normally be able to see. So I in my infinite wisdom, climbed onto a tree and swung off of it into the water right onto a rock.
Now the part that shows how dumb I was is that I knew the rock was there, but I thought that with my Ninja like agility, I would be able to land on it and balance without falling.

Well, apparently I need to brush up on my Ninja skills because I didn´t balance on it at all but slipped and my foot went down the rough side of the rock like a piece of cheese on a cheese grater, taking all the skin off the inside of my foot near the toes. Needless to say, I had to skip the hike. I should be fine though, I cleaned it up and have been taking good care of it.

Today we are in the little town of Altagracia, the place I stayed last time, as there is a big festival today and night, with bull running, food, drinking, dancing, etc. We are in a group of 8 and just got settled in and are looking forward to a fun night.

Until next time!


Lisa in Louisiana said...

OOOOOOoooo PICTURES!!! Good Job!! except for the foot injury - yikes! also - glad you got to tell IIG off. he definitely needed it.

TP said...

(in Kung Fu accent) "So your ninja training has been suffering from the trip...young grashoppa' where is your focus?"
(in IIG accent) "Fo-get-ta-bout-it!"

Much love love brotha,

LSUtri-guy said...

"...I swallowed my protests..." -your writing is getting better. there are so many parts in that story that describe me perfectly- the enjoying confrontation, the hate of touristy things, the urge to display my hypothetical ninja skills! but i definitely would not have botched the landing!

Jeremy said...

Yeah Buddy!! Sounds like you are having a blast and the scenery is gorgeous. I must say that you have just incurred a fine from the High Ninja Council for your diminishing skills and lack of restraint in displaying such poor agility. Remember a Ninja never shows a weakness!! LOL The fine was reduced slightly (i.e. a beer or two) for setting the infamous IIG straight. You can thank your brethren at the council of Yahoos and What Nots for graciously appealing to the High Ninja Council on your behalf.

Much Love,



Whoa...weird moment. You have to clear something up for me, Reece. The tall guy in your first picture, the second from the left standing in front of the bus looking sideways with a fisherman's hat on. Do you know anything about him? Is his name Tim? Is he from Australia? That looks EXACTLY like the Australian Tim that traveled across the Sahara with me three years ago. This is weird...

Anonymous said...

The first picture of the laundry is brilliant, the volcano pic is excellent as well.

your story reminded me of when i was in Kyoto, Japan. My friend Danny and I sat and waited hours in the Gion District so we could see real Geisha walking on the streets. But seeing as once there were thousands of Geisha and thats dwindled down to 45 at the time I was there, it makes it harder to see them. I realized that the later to sundown it got the more tourists started arriving. I was so shocked when a Geisha came out of a house everyone started running around like mad trying to take her picture. The site made me physically ill so I asked to leave. My friend was like ok we've been here for hours and I just told him i didn't care to get the picture anymore cause i wasn't going to invade the persons space to get it. It was just awful, I cant imagine what they go through each and every night just trying to get around to the different bars/houses especially since that movie came out. If you ever make it to Japan try to stay away from being there when that takes place you'll go apeshit.

Reecius said...

yes pictures are a good thing!

and wow, you guys had some funny responses, i was crackin gup the entire time I read these. Yes, my Ninja skills are definitely lacking if I cant even swing off of a tree branch and land on a wet, slippery rock that I cant see!

But then, i think my mental skill must be lacking to even try that!

No Josh, that guy´s name was Tim and he was from Chicago. But he was a really nice guy and a lot of fun to hang out with.

It sound slike i already dont want to see the geisha then, its the same reason i avoided going to a lot of the indigenous trips in Panamas jungles as they have turned into tourist shows. It just doesnt seem like a good thing to me, to treat people like objects to be looked at.