Friday, June 8, 2012

Granada, Nicaragua, May 15

The place where I ended up staying was not in the Lonely Planet, so I took a chance at Casa Blandon.  The rooms here are reasonable, $15 for a private room and bath.  It's cramped and dimly lit, but it has a decent shower with lukewarm water, and my room is sufficiently cool and clean.  That water felt refreshing after the long journey, and they had another private room available, so Marty took one, too.  It's kind of nice not eating alone, and Marty and I do have some things in common, but I don't really feel a connection with him--but I digress and will continue about him later.  In any case, we went out to eat after where I tried some local food, their style of carne asada (a style of smoked, BBQ meat I loved in Mexico), which was really tasty, and a drink containing ginger and a local fruit called coyolito.  I don't know what it is, but I loved it.

I ate breakfast at the Garden Cafe, where thankfully they have free wifi, so I checked email and let everyone know I was safe by posting on Facebook.  I took my time, writing every detail in my journal.    It was nice to spend time alone, too, in a comfortable environment where I could be alone with my thoughts.

This is the courtyard at the Garden Cafe, which I came to call my Oasis
The place I'm lodging is actually the home of a family, and they've outfitted some spare rooms as guest rooms.  Many of the hostels I've been in have been poorly lit, so I'm getting used to that, though I still don't like it.  But even with the fan, I was cool and comfortable during the night.  I make sure to shower right before going to bed, which was my practice in Mexico, so the fan would cool me down more with damp skin, and I slept okay.

I ended up running into Marty.  He has been really kind and helping me, even giving me the $1 bill I needed at the border so I wouldn't have to change my $5 bill, but he seems to want to do everything together, and I'd just like to roam on my own, or at least I had wanted to do for one day, today, if nothing else.  But he caught me when he was seated at one of the restaurants on our touristy street as I was going back to the hostel.  I joined him, thinking it was just for a quick smoothie, and that was it.  But he joined me at the museums I wanted to see, and I think he might have been bored because I stopped to read stuff that was all in Spanish.  At the second museum, Mi Museo, the collection was way better and had a free tour guide and brochure, whereas the first museum didn't even have a brochure to follow.  But again, the tour was all in Spanish, so I hung out with the guide, and Marty didn't stay for me to translate.  Interesting tidbits about Mi Museo is that it's a private collection, owned by a Danish guy that moved to Nicaragua, and also that much of the research on the artefacts he collected is being conducted by a prof and PhD students at the University of Calgary.  Go Alberta!  Then Marty wanted to eat together, but I wasn't hungry.  I had eaten a large breakfast so I could skip lunch or just get a snack and coffee somewhere.  I don't know what to do.  I can't even ditch him because we're next door at the hostel.  I'm hoping we'll end up booking separate tours tomorrow to just do something different.

Later I was successfully able to shake Marty for a bit but couldn't avoid seeing him eventually in the evening.  We ended up talking to a chap who had twice tried to offer cocaine to Marty, actually a nice fellow, so that made it sadder that he was dealing drugs.  He was really helpful, telling us not to go to the lake after dark because it's too dangerous, filled with guys with guns and knives.  I asked him where I could find fresco de cacao, a local beverage that a Nica friend suggested I try, so he told me where to find it in Granada's central park, and it was an informative conversation generally.  Finally some lady called him away to dispose of a live frog, so we went to find a tour for tomorrow, but the places were all closed.  So I'll spend tomorrow here I think, and book for Thursday.  Thankfully, Marty does want to do a different tour than I do, so I'll have some time away from him.  I'm so thankful for that.  We went to this little restaurant for supper he wanted to see for the music.  He was as outraged with the prices as I was, but I enjoyed the music more than he did because much of it was salsa, but he wanted to go in the middle of the second set.  It was just as well as our hostel owners were on their way to bed, so we caught them in time to be let in, but I really dislike the pressure of not doing what I want.  It will all disappear soon enough!

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