Day 7 (Recreation Day) – After our usual 8am breakfast, we loaded the bus to head up to Masaya. The drive was “just about 30 mins” in Nica time, 1 hr real time. The first activity on our agenda was a canopy ziplining! I had done a short zipline once before, but nothing like this. We got geared up and ready for the 2k of ziplines.
We had about 6 guides with us, mainly younger guys who all spoke English. They called us girls all “bay bay” or “missy” or “super girl.” We gave one of our cameras to the guide, and he has pics of everyone, so look for those on Facebook before too long. We took the first few lines normally, learning how to hook in and brake. Then, a few people got to go “Superman” Style.
After I did that once, they asked me if I wanted to go upside down, with one of the guides, to the next line. I said yes, of course! It was quite a thrill to fly upside down, fingertips touching the trees. After that, we got to go upside down on our own, and a guide caught you at the end. In my opinion, upside down was way better than Superman style!
When we got to the end, the main guide told us we had two options to finish – either two short lines, or one long line with a surprise at the end. We jumped at the second option, and the surprise was that they bounced the line as you zipped down – making you feel like you were going to hit the ground each time! The hour and a half flew by (pun intended). We turned all our gear in, then loaded up the bus for the next part of the day’s adventures.
The next place we headed was Granada, to explore a little and eat lunch. The city is the oldest landlocked city in Central America. (The oldest city overall in Latin America is Old San Juan). It was settled by the Spaniards about the same time as Louisiana was, so the architecture and layout strongly resembles the French Quarter. Granada is home to all the poets, artists, and other intellectuals of Nica.
We ate lunch at a nice Italian restaurant, and ran into the ISL vet team there. This was the meal that I realized that I really liked cacao, a chocolatey drink, one of their national favorites. There was also a cute little playhouse in the restaurant. Pavel even made a “women in the kitchen” joke! Lindsey and I were sitting on the end of the table closest to it, so when she asked if anyone wanted to go play, I said I would!
After lunch, we walked around Granada some, and went down to the town square area to check out some of the venders. The children would come up to you, whimpering, “Please miss, I am so hungry.” I gave some of them cordoba coins, but even that didn’t feel like it was helping much. We went from Granada out to Lake Nicaragua, where we took a boat tour of the islands. They were formed by volcanoes hundreds of years ago, and are now inhabited by several thousand people. Some are private, owned by one family, and some are lived on by several families. The private ones were owned by the families who owned the rum business or printing business or wealth Americans and Europeans. The view was beautiful.
We went out to Monkey Island, where at least 6 monkeys currently live. They weren’t interested in our snacks at all, but they came close enough for pictures.
We spent most of the tour oohing and ahhing over all of the homes. The islands start at US$150,000 and go up, if you’re interested. We saw a few FOR SALE signs.
After the tour, we headed to the Masaya market, the same place we had been the night before for dancing. It was crazy big, with tons of venders, though most of them sold similar items. They would call out to you in Spanish, and if you didn’t answer, they would call out in English, if they spoke any. We had to be careful not to show our money, and always kept one of our leaders or guys in sight. I ended up with Katie, and we shopped and bartered for lots of fun things. I bought some stuff for me, and gifts for some family and friends. The children were here too – they would give you a ‘gift’, usually a flower or heart made from palm leaves, then ask if you had anything for them. Their sad, dirty faces got me every time.
We stopped at the mall on the way back to the hotel so Jenna could get a new camera. Hers had broken earlier in the day. She and Pavel went in, and the rest of us waited on the bus, listening to music. We had discovered the auxiliary plug in the bus, and jammed for every ride after that. A huge storm started while we waited, with some crazy thunder and lightening. After one huge clap, all the electricity in the buildings around us went out. Like in baggage claim, it didn’t seem to phase anyone. However, it meant that the stoplights weren’t working. Roads and driving in Nica are crazy normally, but with no lights to regulate anything, it was downright insane. Our wonderful bus driver, Don Juan, did a great job maneuvering and got us back to the hotel. We took a few minutes (sitting in the dark) to regroup and share our market purchases, then we went out to eat. We ate at a Mexican restaurant, which was a nice change, but it still had the same Nica taste to it. I did try a new drink at dinner – sandía. It was basically watermelon put into a blender and poured over ice, and it was so yummy! I’m going to have to try and make it at home.
With that, it was the end of our fun-filled rec day! I’m really glad these days were built in, so we could see and experience Nica and spend time as a team.