Nothing to Do but Gaze at Two Volcanoes

“. . . as they looked out on the great expanse of green, the banks of Lake Nicaragua, and Concepción and Maderas, twin volcanoes, with their peaks shrouded in clouds. . . “       -Gioconda Belli

Spanish Word of the Day: Garrapata

“When we ignore the body we are more easily victimized by it”

-Milan Kundera

It was last weekend at some stage, at some point, at some time.  The memory of the discovery is vague. I can’t recall whether it was Saturday or Sunday when I noticed something stuck in my skin, under my chest, right on the outside of my right ribcage.

Nicaraguan Cuisine

Maduros (Sweet Fried Plantains) and Gallo Pinto (Rice and Beans) are ubiquitous to this land and almost impossible to not eat daily.  

I may exaggerate a tad but I’m not gonna lie, nor will I be Pollyannaish about it. Generally, Nicaraguan cuisine has less gastrointestinal goodness than Iberian,  Mexican, Peruvian, or Venezuelan  fare.  This shouldn’t be surprising as Nicaragua lies at a great economic disadvantage to almost all of its Latin counterparts.  This country actually ranks as one of the top three poorest lands in the entire western hemisphere.  This means that a huge chunk of the population lives hand to mouth and needs to focus on sustenance as opposed to fancy food.

Circumnavigating a Volcano

Mira, los frenos no funcione.”

I said to the man who gave me a daily bicycle rental rate of 100 Cordobas (less than $5).

We took the bike to his mechanic buddy next door.  He made some adjustments.  I tested the brakes and deemed them to be at about a 75% working order.  This felt like perfection in comparison to the 10% the rental man erroneously assumed that I’d venture out with.  I was a bit shocked that he thought I could make it with those brakes as he had helped me map my route.

I wasn’t asked for my name or for identification.  He just took the money and asked that I had the bike back by five or six pm.

Themes in Transition

After changing the theme of the blog and looking at it a little bit more, the following expression appeared in my thought process:

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

After tirelessly looking into various theme opportunities,  I’ve decided to use the current one as I feel that it looks rather earthy.

Biking Along a Stretch of Ometepe

Although parts of the roads are paved, many stretches possess a whole slew of varied dirt and rocky terrain.

It’s possible to rent a horse, moped, motorbike, personal driver, or bicycle. I opted for the latter.

Coping With Clamor

While sitting at my latest workstation at the Landing Hotel in Moyogalpa, the first tiny town where the ferry arrives on the island of Ometepe, the notion of chaotic noise popped into my mind, literally.

My original goal for this work session was to find a better theme for my earth drifting endeavor. Instead, the idea of noise pollution has consumed my thoughts. Here in Nicaragua, and this is true in other parts of Latin America, there seems to be no concept of noise being a contaminant.

Drifting around Granada: A Photo Essay

Like León, Granada provides a virtual utopia for photographers, even amateur ones like myself.  Here are the Granada photos that I liked the best:

Feel free to click on these large thumbnails to provide yourself with an enhanced visual introspection.

Working and Wandering

For a few days now, I feel that I’ve found some equilibrium.

The hostel I’m staying in, The Bearded Monkey, includes wireless Internet and provides great tables for working, along with plenty of outlets.

There are hammocks for reading and napping, which is especially nice in the afternoon when the sun’s natural sauna kicks into high gear.

A Museum for an Aphrodisiac

Like most Europeans and the majority of people from the American continent, I immensely enjoy chocolate; but it goes beyond that.  I’m actually a chocolate fiend.  It’s so bad that I have a rule, I don’t buy it.  Or, I buy only a small amount, because I always eat what I have.  I can’t stop if it’s there; thus, for me, this small amount is important, as chocolate has beneficial properties when consumed in moderation.

Upon walking along the outskirts of the city center of Granada again, I saw a chocolate museum right in front of me.  I’d never visited a museum such as this so I absolutely had to go in.