time.............on a island in a lake

Isla de Ometepe Travel Blog

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View from Finca of volcano Conception.

I breezed through Costa Rica, crossed the border to Nic. Goes to show 1) how bad the border crossing to Nic is and 2) how much they just want money in the country.

I passed the border to Nic from Liberia, Costa Rica. The border crossing was a little confusing, not easily marked and getting directions or instructions from Nicas, I have found, is that they really either don't know the answer or they are just so eager to help that they will give you any answer that they think will make you happy. That conclusion done, I was told that entry and exit from C.R. to Nic was in the same building. I found that slightly confusing and queued up right next to the line where I was stamped out. Was given the same slip to fill out, second red flag, but me being the trusting, simple person I am, I filled out the slip again.

Pizza night at the Finca.. Everybody pitched in eating, drinking as well as making pizza.
Effectively, I was stamped out and back in, on the Costa Rica side, without anyone telling me I was making a mistake. Finally was clued in on where exactly the entrance was on the Nica side, slipped them the $5 tourist fee without them saying that I still, in effect, stamped in Costa Rica. Whatever. I passed through. That part of my passport is a bit fucked up. Oh well.

I then got the bus to Rivas, where I was told I could get down in the road to San Juan del Sur and catch a bus on the road. It was piping hot when I was dropped and not a car, bus stop in sight. That I was totally screwed. The road sign indicated a road to San Juan so I commenced walking and walking and walking.

Community Center. Day of opening!
One taxi stopped, but he quoted an outrageous price, said thanks but no. I would much rather walk myself into dehydration and heat stroke before I am screwed by a taxi driver. Really hate those bastards. Taxistas all over the world are exactly the same, slimmy little weasling thieves who prey on the unknowing and try to even screw locals. Anyhoo... I walked. The little thumb thingie didn't work, obviously.... I was later told that people don't stop for the hitchiking thumb, there is another hand motion that is used. That would have been good information to know. Finally after more than an hour heaving my pack, a bus passed and stopped.

San Juan del Sur is a haven for foreigners and is being gobbled up by foreigners buying land. They should change the name to Gringoland.

Eira, Jackie, and I with the kids at the Center.
Virtually the whole town was foreigners. It was depressing and scary. I finally found the shuttle to Maderas beach and decided to risk it and try and get to Parque Maderas and hope Tyler was there. Parque Maderas is an awesome new project that is supposed to finally open this month. I was thinking of volunteering there for a while before heading to the finca on Isla de Ometepe. I took my chances and headed there. It was a horrible dirt road to where the surfer´s beach is in Maderas. I was dropped at a house/hotel looking place with a barb wire fence closing off the property. After yelling a while, someone came down and told me I was at the right place and thank god, Tyler was there. It was already almost dark and I was in the middle of freakin nowhere, I knew the shuttle would be passing back by, but was unsure when.
Me and Dugo... on the Farm.
I hoped..... I chatted him and his girlfriend for a bit about the project. He showed me around a bit, not much could be seen as it was already dark. He said that I could stay the night, but they are not really set up for volunteers yet and he would show me around in the morning. Woke the next morning. We talked for a while and he showed me around and told me more about his vision and the project. He was leaving for Managua and said I could just chill out and decide that day if I wanted to stay and volunteer and wanted to know in what capacity I thought I could contribute. That day I had to think about the project and my future plans. He returned late and we spoke the next day. We kinda agreed that it was not the best time for me to try and volunteer, I had decided anyways to head straight for the finca.
Day before Christmas Eve. Lunch with all the workers on the farm and volunteers.
I left that day and headed back to San Juan, caught a bus to Rivas, then San Jorge where I caught the next boat to Moyagalpa.

I stayed one night there is this shit hole hostal, that was super cheap. Get what you pay for... Try  not pay to more than the least I can possibly pay and suck it up. Thank god I asked for a fan. The room was a cement block with the top part of the near the roof open to release heat. It only partly worked just enough to let all the little misquitos in. The fan was less for the smoltering heat as it was to make the job of the mosquitos more difficult. It partly worked. I had to keep my face submerged under the sheet. Needless to say, I was soooooo ready to leave the next day. I caught the first bus to Balgue and was dropped in the road to a place called Finca Magdalena, which is a farming cooperative, so to speak as well as a hostal.

Karen and Eira not totally enjoying the Monta del Toro en Balgue. Christmas Eve.
It is the starting point for the climb up Maderas volcano. There are two volcanoes on Ometepe. Conception is still active and the hike, I understand is posssible, but very difficult and a  bit dangerous. Maderas, is no longer active and swathed by foreigners staying at Maggie's and climbing up.... I just couldn't stay there. I was running away from the foreigners. I was told where the path was to the finca, I walked and walked the muddy path for about an hour and never found the finca. Upon my return to Maggie's I asked where the hell the path was and asked someone to just show me the beginning of the bath to the project. A group of guys thought that was really funny and another kindly offered me a ride on his moto to the entrance on the other side, for a small fee.
Cruel Tradition. Never see one of these again. Unless it is a man with his balls strapped and a woman riding on his back. ;)
Bastard.....

After throwing a total fit, one guy finally sucumbed and showed me the path. He ended up taking me all the way to the Finca. I could never have found it. There was really no path. We cut through three pastures, climbing over barbed wire fences and finally passed through a small opening in another fence that led to the Finca. I later learned that the finca and Magdalena do not have a good relationship and therefore, the hesitation to help anyone at there. I later learned more clearly what the root of the bad relationship was......

When I got there it was a bit strange and it took a while for people to warm up. The director never warmed up. He was the source of a lot of conflict with the community and with many volunteers. Although I think he has a good heart, he is a bitter, sad, lonely person and a horrible communicator.

Couldn't take much... Retreated for a cool one... Lot of drinking that night. Interesting Christmas.
I originally wanted to stay through Feb and every day, my departure date shortened and shortened. Until I gave myself a deadline for the day after Christmas. Although he was an ass, the people there were awesome and I became really close to many people there. One girl I will visit at a meditation center when I pass through Guatemala...

Didn't learn as much as I had wanted or expected as the director, was not open to teaching or answering questions. I spent one year traveling and working on farms hoping and looking for a teacher. I finally arrived at a proper Permaculture farm and still couldn't find a teacher. What I did find, through his lack of openness, was a resolve and englightened understanding that I am my own teacher. I take the responsibility for learning what I should learn. As we walk through life, if we are blessed with guides here and there, that's awesome and we should embrace it, other than that, we need to see clearly where we want to be and make it our own reality. I always teased people who are sheep, but this trip made me see that I have been traveling looking for a shepherd.... I am my own teacher and I am looking forward to taking ownership of what I want to learn and making my own dreams a reality.

Now briefly..... my Christmas..... What a strange little trip that was..... Christmas eve was an event, it was the first day of Monta del Toros, bull riding. Although I am total disagreement with this, I have never seen it myself and needed to see what it was all about and see the culture of Balgue. We helped prepare some things for the next days dinner and me and Karen wanted to get a drink before going down. We went down to my favorite bar right on the lake ( I had done a lot of drinking while there, the finca was incredibly stressful.... me and Tona - the local beer - made it through many painful days). At 2:00, the drinking began..... We then met up with Roberto. He was my Spanish teacher for a while. He was an awesome person, just couldn't teach. I had about two weeks classes with him, but then we decided to just have conversation..... over beer. The deal was, I would buy beer and we would talk, he would correct my grammer.... That didn't work too much as after a bit of drinking, we both just talked shit. Really he was very educated and we had some awesome conversations. Well, we met him at his place, chatted with his family for a while and then headed over to the rodeo.... Met the other peeps from the finca in the road. He wasn't too happy, because he asked that day just to be with us alone... That soooooo didn't happen. He and his family aren't the biggest fans of the finca... Anyways. We watched for a while. It was too much for me. Cruel and pointless. I spent like twenty minutes feeling sick and finally said I couldn't watch anymore. I was pissed with the whole tradition. That made him feel bad, but oh well. Us girls left and the guys stayed on. We continued our drinking at one of the local vendors....... We didn't stay too late. Roberto and I arranged to meet the next morning for horse back riding...

I got up early and did some more preprep for the Christmas dinner. Then headed down to town to meet him. We waited forever for his brothers to show up with the horses, which never happened. We were walking in route to his farm to get the horses ourselves and met his brothers in the road, I said it was too late and wanted to get back to the finca to continue helping with the preparations..... The big dinner, was a combination of the Directors friends and the British neighbors friends from Granada and Managua. Well, we prepped food for hours and finally took the food down. Holy crap, a group of loud obnoxious Americans was sooo not what I wanted my Christmas to be. I ate a plate of food and had some wine, before I peaced out from that hell-hole. Told everyone that I wanted to go back downtown where the party was at... I walked to town back to the rodeo where they where having the big party..... Wanted to just drink and watch. Sat and drank a bit with the Germans and then proceded to go dancing when I saw Roberto... That was uncomfortable as he confessed earlier that he liked me.... I was not wanting to see him again. Anyhoo. He paid for both of us to go in to dance and we did for a bit .... I was soo uncomfortable and  a little upset as this was not what I wanted my Christmas to be... Said that I wanted to step out and go for a drink. We were sitting there when two guys from the finca came down, totally drunk off there asses. They were so much fun drunk. Roberto was really uncomfortable. I told him  that I think I should help the boys back to the farm. The walk back was the best part of my Christmas.. I was so not drunk, but they were. Trying to get two drunk guys back to the farm through dark, dirt roads, over rivers and through the woods was so much fun.... We laughed our asses off the long way back...

Got back and we all feasted on the left overs from the dinner, which we could barely eat earlier. We all passed out early in the a.m. Great Christmas!

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View from Finca of volcano Concept…
View from Finca of volcano Concep…
Pizza night at the Finca.. Everybo…
Pizza night at the Finca.. Everyb…
Community Center. Day of opening!
Community Center. Day of opening!
Eira, Jackie, and I with the kids …
Eira, Jackie, and I with the kids…
Me and Dugo... on the Farm.
Me and Dugo... on the Farm.
Day before Christmas Eve. Lunch wi…
Day before Christmas Eve. Lunch w…
Karen and Eira not totally enjoyin…
Karen and Eira not totally enjoyi…
Cruel Tradition. Never see one of …
Cruel Tradition. Never see one of…
Couldnt take much... Retreated fo…
Couldn't take much... Retreated f…
Isla de Ometepe
photo by: Clarafina