« January 2006 | Main | March 2006 »

February 23, 2006

Back on the Road, Camera in Hand

­Grow­ing a Beard

GRANADA, NICARAGUA - Lèon turned out to be quite an easy place to lose ourselves in. It was not only cursed with cheap accommodation and food, but also nearly all-night bars, good people and cheap rum. Like San Diego, Zipolite and Utila, the city was difficult to make short work of. This time at least we had a mission driving us ahead…

Back in Tegucigalpa, I was successful in talking Ryan out of purchasing a new digital camera, foolishly thinking that Nicaragua would be some kind of Mecca for cheap digital technology. I was quite wrong and can admit that now. After several attempts in Lèon failed to even turn up a camera shop, we knew Managua would be our best bet.

As usual, we took note of the horror stories of theft and crime, but knew roughly what to expect. An early start and a hundred kilometers into a headwind got us to the city, and apart from its complete lack of street names, signage and downtown the rest was fairly painless. A cheap taxi got us to the ‘LA-style mall’ and fifteen minutes in a store identical to the one in Honduras yielded Ryan a new camera.

That was yesterday, and today we spend in Granada, Ryan equipped with a high powered and multi-featured new toy. I, for my part, am through touting the benefits of film cameras and am getting ready to throw the dirty and cumbersome SLR camera I brought along into Lago de Nicaragua. Maybe tomorrow.


February 19, 2006

On Long Term Travel

LEON, NICARAGUA - A travelling friend friend sent this to me today as part of an email:

Three weeks is just enough to get your batteries reloaded before putting back on the harness; three months, enough to start dreaming in other languages; six months to forget where you're from, and after that, I guess you just start living the world wherever you are...

I'm not sure who wrote it originally (maybe she did) but, It got me thinking. We've been on the road for more than 5 months now and I can certainly say that I´m becoming accustomed to the travelling life. It's really starting to feel normal.

Tomorrow we're going to try to bike to Managua; yet another capital city in Central America. In this heat, it won´t be easy or particularily pleasant but such is life.

Tonight though, we'll drink and be merry. Apparently the place to be is the local Esso station. Yes, the gas station functions as legitimate 'night-club' here in Leon. Last night, it was the best party in town. I have a sneaking suspicion that drunk driving is more prevalent here than at home.

February 17, 2006

On The Road Again...

LEON, NICARAGUA - It's been a busy few days since I last posted. After being stranded in Utila for nearly two days, due to bad weather, we eventually did make it off the island and back to Tegucigalpa. Just in the nick of time for Willie to catch his flight back to Toronto. Brian and I have all the time in the world to go wherever we want whenever we want and would have been happy in Utila, but with the possibility of missing Wills flight, the pressure was on.

With a brand new passport in hand, Brian and I scooped up our bikes after a two week hiatus and zoomed toward the Nicaraguan border... by bus. Our plan was to get back to the point on the coast that we stopped our trip due to passport issues, before starting up again. This time there was to be no drama at the border, and two long days of cycling was to bring us to to our fabled Leon...

Nicaragua. There´s something inherently sexier about Nicaragua than Honduras. I can´t say what exactly, maybe it´s way it´s pronounced, maybe it´s the legacy of the Sandinista revolution of which there are signs of everywhere, or maybe there's just more to do and see here. Whatever it is, I´m going to figure it out. We plan on seeing some sights, soaking up the sun, and basking in the faded colonial glory of the cheapest (and poorest) country in Central America.

*With Willie gone, and Brian stuck in the stone ages. I really and truly am without means to post photos. I'm flirting with the idea of buying a new camera...

February 12, 2006

Three Lies

Our ClassUTILA, BAY ISLANDS, HONDURAS - When people here get the feeling that you're about to leave, they are often quick to remind us of the three lies that everybody tells in Utila:

  1. I'm not drinking tonight
  2. I love you
  3. I'm leaving tomorrow

Our diving certification course has been over for more than a day now, and this list of three lies was repeated to us over and over as we threatened to catch the 6:20 am ferry back to the mainland this morning. Of course last nights full moon party lasted well into this morning and we missed the ferry; not from sleeping in, but rather from staying up too long and losing track of time. It's alright, we promised ourselves; we'll just catch the next boat this afternoon...

That was before the clouds blew in and the winds whipped up the sea. Now they're telling us that the only ferry off this island has been cancelled for the rest of today and we may be stranded for as long as three days. The ferry operators have sighted poor weather as the reason.

No worries, I really can't imagine a better place to be trapped. Worse case scenario is that Will can fly (there is a small airport here) to Tegucigalpa on Monday or Tuesday in order to make his flight back to Canada, while Brian and I wait for the boat brave the crossing.

As far as SCUBA diving goes, we all had an incredible time and came away with our PADI Open Water Certification. We spent 4 days diving various reefs around the island and even spent a short but wild time snorkeling with a pod of dolphins. It happened very fast, one minute we were waiting in our dive boat, sunning ourselves and preparing for our second dive of the day, and the next our boat was screaming out into the Ocean on course to intercept their path. Once in position, we all jumped into the water like lemmings over a cliff. From noise and chaos of the boat, to the silence and deep blue sea in an instant. The dolphins were gone as quickly as they came, 20 or 30 of them in all directions, taking turns swimming up to get a close up look at me floundering at the surface, then descending deep into the infinite darkness below. It was an experience I'll remember probably forever.

February 06, 2006

Bound For The Bay Islands (Utila)

LA CIEBA, HONDURAS - This whole missing passport ordeal is proving to be quite pleasant. It's forced me to climb up into some spectacular cloud-forests, see a few more Mayan ruins (effectively making me an authority on the Mayan world), and if things go according to plan (they usually don't), it looks like it might allow me to spend a few days on a idyllic island paradise in the Caribbean getting my SCUBA licence in what's marketed as being the 'cheapest place in the world' to do it. As a bonus, I discovered today that it's whale shark season out there. That is to say, it's supposedly a great time to see them diving; not a good time to hunt them. Sounds fun. If I end up opting out of the diving, there´s still some promise of adventure; our guide book describes the place as 'freakishly hedonistic'.

We may be out there for the better part of 4 or 5 days and rumor has it that Internet access is expensive and difficult. I'll scope out the situation, but may not post again for some time.

February 02, 2006

Here Comes The Rain

Here Comes The Rain

This rain squall nearly caught us off-guard. This photo was taken in the village of San Juan on the way to Gracias, Honduras. I´ve also uploaded pictures of our climb up the highest peak in Honduras. You can see them here.