Crater Lakes and Colonial Streets

Relaxing on the edge of Laguna De Apoyo. This Lagoon is in the middle of a volcano making the water a perfect temperature.

The lowlands here in Nicaragua continue to offer me endless beauty, entertainment, and of course, sunshine. On Sunday I went to a crater lake known locally as Laguna de Apoyo. Due to the fact that this lake is sitting on top of a volcano the water could not be any warmer. There is a small resort area up there, known as the Monkey Hut that allows you to use their kayaks, lawn chairs, innertubes, and docks for only $6 USD for the entire day. Something that I wasn{t able to take them up on was a bed in the dorm for only $6 more. When my housemate Juan and I arrived at 11 in the morning and pretty much had the place to ourselves. As the day went on a few more Nicas came around and also a really nice crew from Deleware. Wekayaked a bunch, tanned a bunch, and flipped off the dock a bunch. All of this was of course done with a nice bottle of Flor de Cana rum shared amongst the group.

The view from the entrance to the Monket Hut at Laguna de Apoyo. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

I know I haven{t been writing much about my school but let{s not forget that I{m doing a full immersion course down here and living with a family that speaks no English at all. Not only am I doing a full morning of Spanish lessons with my teacher, Karla, but I am also doing three to four hour long activities with her in the afternoons. I am the only student at the school so it is just another opportunity for me to speak in only Spanish for the whole afternoon. Karla and I have totally clicked and seem to have a really similar sense of humour. She has taken me to so many intersesting places that tourists and backpackers just don{t do on their own. For instance, yesterday we went to this badass prison called Coyotepe. It shut down in 1984 but not before thousands of political prisoners had been captured and brought there. The setting was incredible at the highest point just outside of Masaya where the view is outstanding. Unfortunately for the prisoners, there was no such view. Coyotepe is all underground and only tiny cracks for windows shared any light for the prisoners. I felt like I was in the bat cave as a security guard offered to give us a full tour for a tiny tip. We saw rooms that could hardly fit 2 people which were meant for five people. I don’t want to disturb you but this next part is quite gruesome. These small rooms had zero light in them nor any toilet. Prisoners would stay in the pitch black for years being fed hardly any beans and using the little extra space in the middle of the room as their toilet. The men would be so ill that even the sting of a scorpion (of which there were an abundance of at Coyotepe) would kill these men. We saw torture rooms where the walls were still stained red from blood that had been shed over 25 years ago. The prison also was now a bat cave as bats flew as close to us as possible as we hovered close to the single flashlight that the guard carried.

A view of Laguna de Masaya from one of the many towers along the prison of Coyotepe.
My teacher, Karla Maria Nicaragua Espinoza, and me standing under the Nicaraguan Flag at Coyotepe

Karla has taken me all over the place in the lowlands of Nicaragua and our main mode of transport has been the chicken bus. I think the more that I take the bus from town to town here, the less that I understand the process. I do not that it costs 10 cordobas in order to ride (24 cordobas = $1 USD) but the way they can fit so many people on is a miracle to me. Also their is the fare collecter who is always yelling about something and often times I swear he climbs on to the roof because I can’t spot him anywhere.

Once we get out of this high energy bus rides, we just walk around these beautiful colonial towns and talk in Spanish. Not only am I learning tonss of history about these places but I{m also just chatting with a friend in a foreign language. I am imrpoving my Spanish speaking abilities rapidly and it is a very gratifying feeling. I was worried about this week of schol because I was supposed to have a different teacher but I was ecstatic to see that Karla was able to stay and help me. I think there is another teacher with more seniority who was coming back to work this week but I was able to convince them that I only wanted Karla. I really don´t see the sense in getting a new teacher when your regular teacher already knows what you need to focus on in order to improve.

Internet is being super sketchy as usual so I´m not able to upload anymore pictures. Once again I didn´t have a chance to proofread so please accept that I am only a human with spell check in Spanish. I am still hiking lots and because of that I posted a couple more nature photos and walking around these colonial streets. This weekend I´m hitting up the Full Moon Party at the Treehouse and then making my way down to San Juan del Sur to meet up with my hombro JT (Justin Muirhead). Taking a week off this school business starting on Friday afternoon and heading down to the Pacific Coast in order to shred some gnar waves and just get down right tubular.

Miss all of you back home and hope life is treating you well. Just so you guys know, we did actually get about 15 minutes of rain today. Hope to blog it up before I head out to San Juan del Sur for the week!

The view of Granada from the top of tower in the Iglesia Xelteva
This is the spot where Karla´s family puts there loved ones when they movve on. Fortunately there are still lots of empty spots!
The cemetery in Granada is a very important but also peaceful place.
Karla even took me buy the local Paneria where I was ableto see how all the bread for the town is baked. A little different than in Canada I would say and man was it hot in that little house!
A beautiful view of Iglesia Xelteva from across the street
Snaaaake!! Look out for the snaaaake!! Oh no, it´s a snaaaaake!!
A beautiful flower that I discovered on another hike through the rainforest.
Horse wagons are as common as cars in Granada. These horses are helping to take the body of a loved one to the cemetery on the edge of town in order to be laid to rest.
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