Monday, July 4, 2011


Day 27 and 28 Esteli, Nicaragua Monday 07.04.11
Saturday night we found a hostal at a cafe that serves organic food. We are styaing in a room near the back of the cafe, close to the kitchen. We went to our friend Claudia´s grandmother´s birthday party after we settled in! The Latinos know how to throw a party! The WHOLE family was there, probably 60 or so total. It felt like a poporazzi was hired to follow us around and snap as many photos as possible of the white folks at Abuelita´s 79th birthday, haha. We ate really great food, birthday cake, and met grandma. A surprise mariachi band came in and sang some traditional Nicaraguan songs, and the whole family sang along with them. It was such a sonderful cultural experience. We left at 1100, but it was evident that the party had really just begun.

Sunday we booked a trip to Canon de Somoto, the one place that Scott really wanted to see. We took a 2 hour bus to Somoto, a 30 min bus to our guide´s house, then left for our hike. Neither one of our guides spoke ANY English, which made for several moments of confusion, uncertainty, and hilarity. Particularly when one guide tied a rope around his waste, jumped into the rushing river, and swam to 6the other side, while the second guide stood on our side fo the river holding the other end.

Picture this...
narrow rushing river wedged between 2 200 foot rock cliffs
guide on one side
another guide on the other side
very thin, weathered rope stretched across the rushing river
6 very confused gringos standing in our suits and life jackets wondering what is about to take place

The guide on our side of the river motions for someone to jump into the rushing river, catch the rope, and use it to pull yourself across the river so as not to get caught in the strong current and thus be carried down river. This was all communicated via hand signals, our little understanding of Spanish, and wide eyed looks. Whitney, a girl in our group who understood Spanish well, jumped first. The current started to take her, but she caught that little rope just in time and pulled herself across. One by one we followed. We soon discovered that this would be our method of moving up the river for teh next 2 hours, with some moments of swimming and gripping finger holds in the rocks when teh current wasn´t too strong.

There were also moments when we had to jump off of small cliffs into the water to grab the tiny rope to get to the other side. Yes, those were my least favorite. Thankfully we only had to do it twice. We had NO idea what was going to happen with every step and stroke along the way. We only knew what was to happen next by following the lead of a guide. Oh, he just jumped off of that 10 foot cliff into the water, I guess that´s what we are doing now... awesome.

I must say, though, that the canyon was beautiful. Swimming down the dnarrow river and looking up at the sky, surrounded by high canyon walls coverd in trees and foliage was a marvel. Well wirth teh uncertainty and confusion. We got back down river by jumping into the water and actually allowing the current to carry us down. It was so wonderful to just lie on our back and drift. There was only one moment in the river where we had to drift through a rapid... I only went under water once! And, thanks to my white water rafting experiences in Colorado, I knew to keep my feet in front of me so as not to slam my head into a rock... it worked.

We realized that there was no First Aid kit when Eric got a blister and there was no bandaid. Getting hurt was simply NOT an option.

Before swimming up river, we spent a little over an hour hiking to the top of the canyon for a view of the landscape above. It was wonderful. Mountains and green hills rolled for miles. We were actually able to see the border of Honduras at one point!

Well, that brings us to today´s adventures. My last post will be about our adventures today, then I will hopefully be able to right more in a few days.

Wet and sunburned,


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