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Granada, Gioconda, Granada, Gioconda

No more William Walker stories...

overcast 25 °C

The day started with a quick breakfast on the patio of Alhambra with Kristy and Anthony, a very nice couple from Australia who was working in London before this trip. Gioconda, an attractive nica woman in her late 20s or early 30s, was waiting for us already in traditional Nica costume, a long off-shoulder black dress with a few color stripes, her hair tied up and heavy makeup.

Gioconda started by taking us to a monument in Parque Central. After explaining the history of Granada for about 15 minute, she sang the national anthem. Some nica stopped and removed their hats while she was singing to show respect to their country.

We then walked thru some historical sites such as the pre-columbian stone in the center of town (now used mainly for directional purpose), a monastery and a nice church. The view on top of the church tower stretched all across to Lago Nicaragua, a hugh fresh water lake in the middle of the country. Rumors had it there used to be sharks in the lake until the Japanese came and killed them for profits. So thanks to the Japon, we are now safe to cruise around in speed boats without worry. She sang a few more songs on the way.

Between the morning city tour and tour of Lago Nicaragua in the afternoon, I managed to skip lunch and relaxed in the hotel pool for a short while. It's all worth it after walking under the sun for hours. The water was freezing and a bit greasy, however. No big deal. It was the swimming that counted.

We started our afternoon speed boat journey into the lake by taking horse carriages thru some bumpy roads with tons of tiny flying creatures on the way. Once on board, we saw some private mansions belonged to local business families and also foreigners. There are literally hundreds of tiny islands in this lake. At one point, we saw a house with a confederate flag. One has to wonder if this world has really moved forward as we thought it did in the last 200 years. We got off on an island with a fort and treated by another singing performance by Gioconda. Cruising thru the wetland and marshes, we saw the residence of literally thousands of birds, some hugh nests hanging from branches and captured monkeys.

I always love sunset by the water. Just haven't had a chance to experience it for a while since DR. This time, the sun was glowing behind an abandoned russian cruise boat. No one in Nica knows how to fix this boat it so they just left it here for years.

By now, it was getting dark and our boat was swinging pretty heavily with the waves. We were all longing for the shore, esp. Gen who had already o.d. on her sea sickness pills. It must be the silence that bothered Gioconda, she suddenly stood up and sang another song, making the boat more unstable than it already was. No one had the heart to ask her to hurry up but we all had just about enough of her voice at this point.

Finally, we landed but it was not over yet. Gioconda took us for a long walk in the dark to the local train station. The moon was out by now in the distant far side. Rada and Don walked off to have their romantic moment. It was the loudest open-air train I had been on with music bumping and locals screaming at almost every passer-by. I grapped onto a bar and took a picture of this crazy scene. All of a sudden, I heard someone calling my name from behind. It was two local men asking me to take pictures of them. I was not sure in the beginning because of the experience I had with the indigenous woman and her baby. A minute later, everyone around me was calling my name. The situation was uncontrollable! When I took my camera out, they all cheered! Is this natural high or what?

Giocondo's tour was officially over. Her passion had impressed all of us. And she charged next to nothing for it. Omar and I decided to have a drink with her in the parque cafe, maybe we can see the other side of her, the not-so-talkative side. We did. We talked about lives, work and even relationships over dinner at a local restaurant. Gioconda even got a bit emotional at one point because of her frustration at being a smart and educated Nica woman. Married women in most of Central America countries are still being treated as 'maids', according to her. On the contrary, it's ok for men to have babies with multiple partners. We walked Gioconda home after dinner. 10 minute later, her mother finally opened the door, obviously still angryed at her or the fact that she lost her key a few days ago. Poor girl...

It must be the atmosphere of Alhambra. Gen, Gareth, Chris and Micha were drinking and chilling over the porch next to the swimming pool when we got back. Without hesitation, we joined them. I have to admit that the chemistry was amazing for people who have only met for such a short time. Everyone was easygoing and have no hidden agenda. After a while, I headed back to the room and joined Karin for 'Spiderman 2'.

Posted by shinenyc 10:31 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged backpacking

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