Dynargh dhe'n Blogofrob

Sunday 13th March 2011

San Juan Del Sur is a funny little surf town on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. Bars with names such as 'The Iguana Bar' and 'Big Wave Dave's' crowd around the beach front. Drinking in them, one can find middle-age American women with ankle-bracelets doing their own 'Shirley Valentine' ("I said goodbye to my Australian boy this morning, so sad, the sex was incredible" - this wasn't said directly to me, but it was conveyed throughout the bar at such volume receiving the information was unavoidable). Also hanging around are similarly aged faux-hippies (think long grey beard pony-tailed tied with an elastic band) who drive around town in their Land Cruisers and HiLuxes, and I think own the bars and restaurants.

These establishments convey a eco-tourististic, carbon neutral vibe through book exchanges and passive aggressive notes in their menus ("A note on why we do not supply coffee in cardboard cups: Too many people grab a coffee and jump in their car. This is wrong" and "Apologies for the slow service, Our kitchen is a converted laundrette - we never intended to become a full-blown restaurant".) The menu responsible for this also contained book reviews in the back, by the proprietor. I vowed never to return after reading the review of Lolita. The review noted that the book's subject matter had proved controversial when it was written. "Perhaps", the review continued, "if it had been released today, it wouldn't have caused such a stir." I wonder. It's still a book about a man who marries a woman simply so he can have his way with her 12 year old daughter (who he drugs with sleeping pills). And a note about the Ponzi style book exchange operated at this and other cafes. In summary - "give us 2 books, and take one. If you don't have any books to give us you can buy one from us for US$3."

Rant over, the town was actually a relaxing place to spend a few days before we headed off to the Isla de Ometepe, an island created around two volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. Here we stayed at a genuine eco-lodge, solar powered and complete with compost loo. The place was beautiful, and in the middle of nowhere. In the evening we stumbled down pitch black dirt tracks trying to find somewhere to eat, while marveling at the night sky, crammed full of stars. Our room was large hexagonal space, reached via a short wooden spiral staircase. Two of its six sides were completely open to the elements - no walls - and every night, smothered in DEET and under a tightly fitted mosquito net, we fell asleep to the weird and exotic sounds of the surrounding jungle. On the first night a loud screech in the middle of the night kept George awake in terror of vampires until morning. The screech didn't bother me. However the prospect of going to the loo in the middle of the night did. The compost loo was down the spiral staircase, out into the night and down to a hut a few metres away. As George had found a tarantula nestling in the area at the bottom of the stairs, I was reluctant to make the journey in the night. Consequently, I made my way to one of the open sides of our room, and relieved myself into the dark jungle. I think I can say it was the first time, and probably the last, that I have ever urinated out of a hotel window.

The island was lovely. We hiked around one of the volcanoes, under grunting howler monkeys, swam in a spring water pool, and canoed through wetland looking (in vain) for Cayman, before making our reluctant departure.

Volcano Concepcion

143 - posted at 20:21:08


Two things, one; I'd been reading a book on vampires and so that is why sleepily I thought they just might be attacking us... And secondly, to add context to your toilet issue, they did actually say you could do it as their garden appreciated to fertiliser! In case people think it is going to become a habit of yours..

1: George - 00:04:32 on Monday 14th March 2011 (permalink)

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