March 08, 2003 GMT
Nica...vale la pena??

The rain was waiting for me in the mountains, and a string of bad luck started in Esteli...

Las Manos crossing. The confusion continues over the border. It took nearly 2hrs, even though i used a "paper jockey". The most difficult thing to do on your own would be, to find the roving inspector wandering in the lines of lorries.
$10 for the bike and $7 for me.
The rain was waiting for me in the mountains and a string of bad luck started for me in Esteli.
I dumped the bike in the rain on a slippery bit of wood. Dented the LH box. A minor wound. Maddening. It was bound to happen one day, why not on an Andean piste? Not a street corner in Esteli!
Next thing was in Granada. A Nebraskan, who runs the guesthouse, reversed into the bike. Knocking it over; you guessed, LH box again. This time it needed a wooden mallet. So did that guy! Crikkey allmighty, he didnīt even need to reverse, nevermind 6ft.
Things happen in 3's; but there is a week's break, at Laguna de Apoyo, before No. 3!
Proyecto Ecologico, which researches fish in the crater lake, run a language course. A week of verb tenses....boring, but the basis of the language. This at least helped my ears separate the flow of sound into words! (Never mind that i don't understand them)
A german family came for xmas- with their stolen and speculas (the yummy cinnamon cookie). Then there was Nelly, a 70yr old Dutch backpacker. And Andrea, also Dutch. Andrea is a keen 'birder', w/ lots of interesting stories of Bolivia and Venezuela.
Jeffery, one of the administators, took Andrea and me for an afternoon of birding. Spot the bird in the bush! My neck!
So many lovely birds. There is a group called Tanager; Jeffery was hoping to spot a Summer Tanager. Andrea started singing...."we're all looking for the summer tanager." ...a la Cliff Richard, Summer Holiday. GROAN, couldnīt get that stupid song out of my head!
On the way back to the jeep we heard the Mantled Howler Monkey. We were 20m away, underneath a fairly large male. He leaned over his branch and barked down at us! ooohoohoOHOOOHOOO. Just like that. Very impressive. As were his creamy white balls; such a contrast to his dark brown/black body!
At the end of the week i moved out of my room and into the tent. Andrea, who was starting a language week, moved in to my room, with hopes of a bug-free zone. She was up in the main house and had 2 scorpians and an assasin bug. I had nothing--that i was aware of!
The sunday i left the lake, lucky number 3 was waiting for me in Masaya. I drove up a one way: the wrong way. Only 5m. A policeman wrote me up for $10, i offered $2 but ended up paying $5. This happens to Nicas too, the cops go home with wads of cash.
On i went, backtracking north to Leon, on a construction road from hell. Thinking...."this had better be worth it".
....ŋvale la pena?.....

Posted by Jo-Anne Smith at March 08, 2003 03:50 PM GMT

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