When we reached Granada, I knew I liked it already. It was so cute! The buildings were many different colors and colonial looking. There were horses and carriages lined up along the center square. The center square had a nice little park with lots of vendadores, a couple outside restaurants and dozens of benches to sit and just enjoy the life happening around you. The only problem, Granada is HOT! Coming from the beach to Leon was hard enough in these extremely hot temperatures and I didn't think it was possible to go somewhere even hotter, but it was. I honestly have to say that I did not see the full extent that I could have because of the heat. However, I did take a beautiful day trip to Laguna Apollo where I tubed, kayaked, and laid on the dock. Had I known the beauty of this place, I would have definitely stayed there a couple of nights! Coming back from Laguna Apollo, I was able to catch the famous break dancing team, made up of the local street kids. They were amazing! Children from what looked like 5 or 6 to 17 or so years old, danced with no protection on their hands on cobblestone streets. This was definitely a sight to see and I'm so glad I was able to catch it!
Poste rojo: life in a tree house
From Granada, I decided to take a small side trip to stay in a tree house in the jungle with howler monkeys and many other animals that I choose not to think about such as tarantulas. Going into this tree house idea, I didn't know anything about it. I did call ahead and see if there was avaliablility, which I decided was a must if I was going to try to find this place. After getting the ok, I set off in the morning to what turned out to be a very crazy adventure. From my hostel in Granada I took a taxi. I was very naive to think that I would actually be able to get all the way to the hostel with a taxi. As the driver stopped on the side of the road of what looked like the middle of nowhere, he pointed to a dirt road to the side and told me that I had to walk the rest of the way. I started to think to myself, "maybe this isn't such a good idea", but decided to continue on. I paid the driver and off he went, leaving me alone with a bus stop of people and a dirt road that looked as if it led to nowhere. I started walking, holding my things close and looking as confident as I know how, when a tuk tuk driver passed. I stopped him and asked if I was going the right direction and he said yes and offered me a ride. I was hesitant because the taxi driver said these rides could get expensive, but the drive said 2$ and I hopped right in. He drove me through winding dirt paths that cut across fincas (farms) and pulled me up to some stairs. Now it was really time for me to walk! After climbing Telica, I swore to myself the rest of my trip was going to be for relaxing, yet here I am at the bottom of these steps, of which could for all I know be never ending, with my backpack on my back and my two bags in my hand with no other choice but to start climbing and hope for the best. The things I get myself into!
Extremely hot and many many steps up, I hear a friendly excited voice calling from the treehouse above. "Hola, hola, bienvenidos!!", a plump, happy Nicaraguan woman calls as a young Nicaraguan man comes and relieves me of my heavy travel bag. I had made it! Going up into the treehouse lodge, I am very impressed. Lots of hammocks to laze around in, walls full of quirky signs and trinkets and graffiti from fellow travelers. While looking around, I quickly realize that I am the only guest here. Thoughts go through my mind, both of "this might be neat to have this place all to myself" and the other extreme, "isn't this how most horror movies begin". I push all that out of my mind and grab my book and a hammock and go off into my own world while I listen to the sounds of the howler monkeys all around. Just as I am about to drift asleep I hear sounds of other travelers out of breath from the long trip up to the hostel. There are three of them, then a little while later come two more. I decide the comfort of knowing I am not part of the next horror movie beats having the hostel to myself.
Just as I was again returning to my relaxation, in walks the craziness. I hear a woman's voice in very loud English panting, huffing, and puffing as she comes up the stairs. An older woman, I figured just a fellow traveler. What I come to find out is that she is the mother of the man who owns the hostel. She explains to us that he is in jail and has been for the last 6 months. Apparently, he was in a car accident where a Nicaraguan man hit him from behind and died. Since this gentleman was American, even though it was not his fault, he was blamed for the mans death and put in jail. I knew that they are not very fond of Americans here but I had no idea how much, and immediately decided I would not drive anything in this country!
Unfortunately, although this woman was very nice and it was her first day trying to take care of the hostel, it did cut into the peace and quiet that I was hoping for. She did not know any Spanish coming into this, so she compensated by speaking English even louder in hopes that it would make them understand. Every once in a while I would look up from my book and translate for her, although it was very entertaining to see their attempt at communication.
That night I spent in the hammock next to the kitchen. They did have a really cool platform attached to the main house by a suspension bridge where I was originally going to stay, but a small black spider with a yellow dot on it's back (I assumed poisonous) falling on top of me, combined with the eeriness of the possibility of me sleeping alone on the platform in the middle of the Nicaraguan jungle creeping in, I opted to sleep near the crazy lady and the guards. It was amazing to sleep outside hearing the howling of the monkeys and the buzzing of the cicadas all around me.
A crazy yet thrilling experience, I am happy that I continued on with this adventure! Now I am off to my next adventure: Isla de Ometepe, an island topped with two massive volcanos.