So there I was, waking up inside the crater of a 23,000 + year old volcano.
I’d arrived the previous day to beautiful sunshine, and a pristine, blue lagoon. The night brought with it a Nicaraguan style thunder storm, and although that caused me to lay awake listening to the clangs and thunderbolts from the moody sky above for much of the night, it also brought with it that calming sense of safety; of me laying in a big double bed with white linen and four pillows all to myself, as I listened to it pour down violently outside my window, feeling thankful for staying in a hotel rather than a dark and damp hostel.
The little things in life make themselves clear at times like this; such as meeting a fellow traveler whom I can share a room with; otherwise I’d certainly still be sleeping in a hostel.
We had chosen a guesthouse called “Casa Aromansse”. We’d researched online whilst still in Ometepe, for somewhere that wouldn’t give us a party,instead, somewhere that would offer us a nice and relaxed atmosphere; somewhere preferably with yoga lessons that we could participate in each morning, before spending the remainder of the day relaxing and doing our individual writing, studying, reading or work.
Unfortunately when I awoke that first morning, I was to find that there weren’t to be any yoga lessons for the duration of my stay, due to the owner being ill (maybe that was my fault for not calling beforehand) but he welcomed me to practice yoga myself on their platform.
The platform was elevated to look over the lagoon, surrounded by big white drapes and the sounds of the wildlife making odd and interesting noises from the surrounding trees and bushes. I took myself down there embed with my iPad and a yoga YouTube channels and whacked out my best downward dogs and trigangle poses ’til I felt my butt cheeks no thigh were sufficiently stretched in all the right places.
After two nights here, it was time to leave; my flight out of Nicaragua was ever impending, and after being scared off cities by the monstoursly loud and fear-inducing Managua, I felt I owed it to the country to try one more city, so I took a taxi to the city of Granada.
Before parting ways, Sarah recommended to me I stay at a hostel called La Libertad, in a central location. I’d been informed that grandad was a “Gringo Town”. Make of that wan at you will. I myself, took that as an indication it would be somewhere I’d be less sexually harassed, verbally, maybe because they’re used to seeing more of us Gringos around? I’m not sure. However as soon as I dropped my bag at the hostel, and walked into the streets, I was experiencing it all over again.
I’m not being big headed. This isn’t me saying that I’m the female equivalent to a guy in a Lynx advert; where men see me and drop everything before running over to me to lick my face and tell me they love me.
No, I’m pretty confident in saying that any woman walking down the road without having a man next to her is pretty much going to be subjected to this behavior. It’s disgusting, and it’s degrading, not to mention exhausting.
Trying to feel comfortable running all over the city to see the sights, but questioning if you need to walk a different direction because you see a large group of men and don’t want to be harassed really means a lot of extra foot work.
If this behavior was to result in just one positive aspect, however, it would have to be the moment I got shouted at: “HEY MAMI”, and in that moment right there, I felt like Jennifer bloody Lopez. Not aesthetically of course, however I was in Latin America, and the guy did roughly resemble Pit Bull, so I enjoyed my moment whilst it lasted.
Moving on, I spent two fabulous days in Granada, doing the whole tourist side of things that my mother would be proud of. I paid real life money (58p) to climb Iglesias de La Merced, which is a lovely old shoddy church which doesn’t have a lot to offer (in my humble opinion) however it does offer a beautiful view of the main attraction in Granada, Catedral de Granada, (the yellow one in the pictures online), and also the rest of the city, including Mombacho Volcano.
There’s a lot of churches in the city of Granada, however the main reason people visit would have to be the architecture. It was founded by the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, back in 1524. Now to be honest, I just read that from the internet, however I think you’ll agree, that sounds pretty European, hence looking a lot like Spain.
Here, I was greeted by a nice man named Luis, on a moped, who kindly took me to the part of the bay, about 3km away, where boats were waiting to take tourists to the Islets of Granada; a group of 365 small islands where, from what I could gather, very, very rich people had houses.
I was told to clamber upon a little fibreglass boat with about 4 local teenage girls, who took more selfies than me (if you know me then that in itself is ridiculous) and with them screaming out excitedly in Spanish, asking questions to the boat driver, I sat back, and looked around, only wondering what kind of people lived on these islands.
After a lot of pointing at beautiful homes on tiny islands, the screaming suddenly accelerated tenfold when we approached one island, with no building or infrastructure on it whatsoever.
I suddenly hear screams in Spanish, and the only familiar words I can make out are “Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson” repeatedly. Pretty sure this guys dead, I suddenly have irrational thoughts of the King of Pop having not died, and instead sacked off the fortune and fame, instead deciding to retire to a small bushy island scattered around the Asese peninsula.
Alas, no. Instead crawled out a little monkey resembling MJ’s long suffering household pet, Bubbles, who I’m pretty confident in saying was never owned by Michael Jackson himself.
Granada was nice, however I’m fairly certain in saying that Nicaraguas main attributes have to be its beautiful coast lines, and volcanic getaways.
It’s a simply magnificent country, and I am SO glad I was fortunate enough to visit.
I’ve met some hilarious and fabulous people, at the same time as meeting people who reminded me why I love traveling alone (God I sound like a miserable bitch), but I wouldn’t change any of my experiences. I whole heartedly recommend this part of the world to everyone, as long as you’re aware that you’ve got to keep your wits about you.
You can’t relax as much as you can in other destinations, the chances of getting mugged or assaulted are rather high. I’d personally recommended girls to travel with friends or partner, unlike me, who as much as I’ve loved it, I’d have felt much safer with someone having my back.
Saying that, I was fortunate enough to not encounter any real trouble, but did have to be careful with certain situations, which I’d have much preferred to not have. I felt it was a place that pushed and tried my morals and views as an alone, independent woman, and indeed feminist.
Things that were said, and ways in which I was sometimes treated, made me want to lose it; rant about how unacceptable and disgusting it is to be treated in such a way, or to be made to feel a certain way, however instead I’d find myself having to bite my tongue and breathe calmly, acknowledging that me sticking up for myself was going to land me in a lot more shite. Example; some man gropes my bottom in London, he’s going to get shouted at and dressed down in public, however Nicaragua when I’m alone? Absolutely not. Instead my head drops down, and I shuffle away from the situation, embarrassed and angry, and that’s what I hated more than anything.
Saying that, I do hope to return one day.
I’ve certainly ended this leg of my trip in a far better way than when I started it. I’ve practiced yoga nearly every day, I’ve drank barely any alcohol, and I’ve appreciated my luck and self worth in a way that I certainly wasn’t before leaving the UK.
I now sit here in Houston Airport awaiting my flight to Denpasar, Bali, where I’m due to embark upon a yoga retreat. I’m sure this whole healthy living thing will loosen up a bit soon, having been to Bali in March this year, I know what kind of debauhery it can bring out in a person. However, saying that, I will endeavour to keep it up as much as I can. My bottom’s a little less wobbly, and I must say, I’m starting to like what I see.