Bade a fond farewell to Granada this morning. Lidia dropped us off at the station and William and I caught the bus for Rivas. I managed to snag the last seat, in the very last row, while poor William had to spend the one and a half hour ride balanced precariously on a giant metal milk container a passenger had placed in the very back.
We rolled through a landscape of edenic, tropical splendor — mango, breadfruit, papaya, coffee and banana trees were everywhere, as were giant malinche and ceiba trees. Farmers plowed their land with teams of oxen. The ride was enlivened by the bachata, cumbia and reggaeton music pouring through the driver’s speakers. I was also greatly entertained by the young man working the rear exit of the bus. Everytime we pulled over to take on another passenger, he threw open the back door and pulled the person up. With the bus taking off at great speed and hurtling back down the road, the man would clamber up a ladder outside the bus and toss the passenger’s large bundles on the roof, then climb back down the ladder and swing himself back inside. There was no margin of error for his work — if he slipped or lost his grasp on the ladder, he was a goner.
Eventually we made it to the docks at San Jorge, where we were ushered on to a small, rust-bucket of a ferry. I eyed the murky, white-capped waters of the lake and tried desperately not to think of all the newspaper articles I have read over the years about rust-bucket ferries in developing countries capsizing and drowning hundreds of passengers. I tried desperately to avoid my knowledge that the lake contained bull sharks, a species so aggressive toward humans that they make great whites seem like pussycats in comparison. It didn’t help matters when they made us write our names and nationalities down on a list that they gave to the dockhand on shore before departing….I surmised that they must collect that info in case we capsize en route and they have to notify the foreigners’ embassies. But when we pulled away from shore and the engines purred smoothly and the boat’s rhythmic rocking was gentle, I was able to relax in short order and greatly enjoy the 45-minute ride to Ometepe Island.
We’re the only guests on a small farm in a deserted stretch of the island. We’ll be here for the next few days, unless the mosquitoes chase us out earlier — they’re brutal!
Peace & Blessings,