Returning to San Jorge from Granada last week, I had an interesting conversation with my taxi driver. We were stopped by the traffic police in order to check the taxi driver’s legal documents.
“Are you worried when the police stop you?” I asked.
“Not at all,” he responded. “Everything is legal and correct.”
A friend, visiting Nicaragua for the first time, arrived in Rivas on a chicken bus. She needed a taxi to San Jorge to catch the ferry…about a five-minute ride. She told me that she paid $20 for the taxi ride from Rivas to San Jorge. I was furious because a colectivo ( a taxi that takes numerous people around the Rivas area ) charges 20 cords per person. An expreso ( a taxi that takes only one person to San Jorge from Rivas) charges 100 cords.
The Weekly Photo Challenge is On the Way. We’ve just returned from the USA…a wonderful visit with family and friends, but it is always GREAT to return home.
There are two ways to return to our Ometepe Island home. Sometimes we fly and walk to our house from the airport, but because we were returning with over 200 pounds of books and materials for my elementary school library, we took the ferry.
We usually see unusual things on our way home, but this was really unique. A circus was in town and the trainer took the elephant to the lake for a bath.
A malecón is a jetty, but in Nicaragua it is more like a boardwalk and a port. The San Jorge port, where people make connections to Ometepe Island is undergoing a facelift.
When it is completed, it will be a hub of activity with shops, new docks for the ferries, a new parking lot, hotels, restaurants, and a ferry station. When we returned from Granada to San Jorge to catch the ferry home, colorful banners and hundreds of swimmers greeted us for the upcoming Semana Santa week (Easter week).
“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?” ― C. JoyBell C.
Tito told me of the small fly named Envy, that is creating cracks in the sidewalks along the San Fernando Island in the Solentiname Archipelago. I wanted to know if the sidewalks in the Solentiname Islands connected the people like the sidewalks in El Castillo. What I discovered was somewhat surprising, yet understanding the jealous nature of many Nicaraguans, I gained a new appreciation for Tito, the grandson of a local businesswoman on San Fernando Island. Tito has several plans to reconnect the people and mend the cracks in the meandering sidewalks.
I won’t go into the history of the Solentiname Islands, so check out this descriptive article In Lush Nicaragua,Legacy of a Priest for more information. Tito is the grandson of Ms. Guevara Silva, the owner of the historic Albergue Celentiname Inn, where we stayed.
We arrived at the Malecón de San Carlos to wait for the daily boat to the Solentiname Islands. Finding a boat schedule online was difficult, but a captain at the Malecón reassured us that there was a daily boat which left at 3:00pm for the archipelago and returned to San Carlos at 9:00 am.
“Americans consider the sidewalk an anonymous backstage space, whereas for the French it is the stage itself.” ― Edmund White, The Flaneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris
If the French consider sidewalks to be the stage, then Nicaraguans consider sidewalks to be the entire theater. El Castillo, Nicaragua is proof that sidewalks set the stage for connection and interaction with others, especially in this tranquil community lacking cars, motorcycles, and other forms of motorized transportation.
If you come down to the River Bet you’re gonna find some people who live You don’t have to worry ’cause you have no money People on the river are happy to give~ Proud Mary sung by Tina Turner
Every now and then, I kind of like to do things nice and easy. Rollin’ on the Rio San Juan was one of those nice and easy kind of days. However, life on the river was not always tranquil. What a deep and rough history this river has: pirates, slave traders, William Walker, Cornelius Vanderbilt; cannons, forts, rapids, and crocodiles the size of dugout canoes.
Yet, embarking on our three-hour journey meandering down the olive-green waters of the Rio San Juan, I felt like an explorer perched on the edge of discovering a new way of life…a much slower-paced life…one in harmony with the rhythm and beat of the waves gently lapping the shore in the wake of our long, flat-bottomed panga.
What discoveries lie ahead? Will we find human imprints? Join me as we leave the sliver of civilization known as San Carlos, and glide slowly down the river into the depths of the jungle. Turn up the music! We’re rollin’ on the river Tina Turner style.
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ― Ernest Hemingway
Rolling down the Rio San Juan has been on our bucket list for years. However, having an end to journey toward was not our greatest reward. Instead, the journey itself was our fringe benefit because getting there was half the fun.
Oh the convenience of living beside a small airport! We walked our sandy volcanic path to the airport on a Thursday afternoon and caught a 15 minute flight to San Carlos, Nicaragua. We booked with La Costeña online. Make sure you book early because the planes seat 12 people. At a cost of $85 round trip per person, we felt like it was a bargain, if only for the convenience of walking to and from our house.
And we were off! We ascended over the patchwork of fields, quaint red tin roofs, and the calm Lake Cocibolca.
“Getting money is like digging with a needle, spending it is like water soaking into sand.” ~Japanese Proverb.
The Proposed Route of the Nicaraguan Canal
I may be naïve, but I subscribe to the idea that nobody is making strategic decisions about the Nicaraguan Canal Project. I’ve followed the Nicaraguan Canal Project for two years, now. The talk is grand, but the transparency surrounding the canal is nonexistent.
This morning I had to make a quick trip to the mainland to get our new puppy his serum vaccines. Boarding the Estrella ferry, I always notice a little something extra on the deck in addition to passengers. Usually there are bags of live chickens, buckets of cooking oil, heavily tied feed sacks containing mysterious things that bump and wiggle inside the sacks, and tattered boxes containing who knows what.
Today, I encountered a little something extra…coffins! Twenty of them surrounding the deck of the Estrella. Now, I don’t know whether there was an epidemic at the Rivas hospital and the coffins contained contents I’d rather not think about, or the coffins were empty and sailing to Ometepe because of an epidemic on our island. Either way, it kind of freaked me! There’s always a little something extra, usually odd and bizarre, when traveling the sweet sea.