the nicaraguan chronicles – part 3

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Coming to in a hammock at 6 a.m. with a killer headache and your back in shambles is not the ideal way to greet the sunrise. However, my circadian rhythm decided I had to be awake when the aftereffects of a night of drinking decided to tell my body to go to hell. But at 25 cordobas a beer, it’s a hard thing to say no to another drink (exchange rate is $1 = 22 cordobas). I’m sure doing those shots of Jameson didn’t help, but what else are you going to drink at the only Irish pub in Granada?

And then I remember what happened at that pub last night and my morale plummets even further through my clouded mind. We had a great time drinking with a few Australians and a South African, watching the rugby match between their native countries, when I opened my wallet to close my tab and realized I was missing money.

A lot of money.

I had left my bag unattended for a couple hours in our room at the hostel while we swam in the pool and hung out in the common room. And based on M’s explanation of cab kidnappings and robberies in the country, I suspect I was robbed by a Nicaraguan working at the hostel. Reason being – I wasn’t robbed blind.

A cab kidnapping occurs when someone (typically a foreigner) hops in an unmarked cab – something M told us never to do – and the driver takes you to the nearest ATM, pulls a blade and orders you to withdraw money. He then, obviously, relieves you of said money. But before driving off, the driver will actually leave you with enough cash (say, 30 cordobas) to get another cab so they don’t leave you stranded. Honor among thieves, I guess?

My own personal thief left me the equivalent of $25 while s/he helped him/herself to about $180.

And the only thing I could think the next day when I woke up, in regard to my world-traveling knowledge and prowess, the one thing that ran through my mind as I stumbled through my haze, eyesight fuzzy, from the uncomfortable hammock to my bed, was one word:

Rookie.

the nicaraguan chronicles – part 3
treetop flyer

After finally rising for the day four hours later, hangover surprisingly gone and vitality returned, the five of us headed back to Kathy’s Waffle House for breakfast. Another delicious serving of gallo pinto and eggs propelled us to the open-air market for a bit of browsing and shopping, preceded by a quick stop at the ATM to make up for my new-found lack of funds. We were all excited for the next stage in our journey that was to begin shortly: a one-night stay in the one, the only, the Treehouse Poste Rojo hostel.

We boarded the chicken bus around noon, discovering before long why this particular method of transportation bears the name of a farm animal. After about 15 minutes we arrived at our destination, an inconspicuous drive off the main road. M asked some locals if the hostel was nearby and they pointed us in the right direction. And we were off!

A beautiful hike through a bit of rolling farmland and Nicaraguans playing soccer and music with equal enthusiasm, under the cover of cascading storm clouds that never let loose, led us into the middle of the jungle. Hoping we were going in the right direction, we plodded on.

me, k, c and m

From left to right: me, K, C and M

The road to Poste Rojo

The hike to Poste Rojo

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poste rojo – anybody home?

Greeted by the first signs for the hostel sent a sense of relief through the group (or me at least). Confident in our direction we hiked forward and up, climbing narrow man-made paths, stepping over trails of leafcutter ants, and (supposedly) under the watchful eyes of the notorious howling monkeys. We didn’t see any dang monkeys, but Nicaraguan workers for the hostel who came up after us said they were down at the bottom of the trail in the trees. Stupid monkeys. . . hidin from us and stuff. . . ruinin our Nicaraguan adventure.

Dang monkeys aside, we got to the hostel and were enthralled with the layout of the place. None of the gringo workers were present to start us a tab for our stay, and a couple Nicaraguans who were there informed us they would be back soon. We had the place to ourselves. Literally no one else was there. No fellow hostel-jumpers. No volunteers. So we did what any sane traveler would do – we explored that place from top to bottom.

This hostel was simply incredible. It was like a treehouse and playground for grown-ups. Complete with a rope bridge, winding jungle trails, ladders, a big red pole we raped later that night, a swing, a look-out post, hammocks, and alcohol. . . well, a guy can’t go wrong with a combination like that. Once our curiosity about the place was sated, C, A, M and I sat down to a rabid round of euchre while K settled herself in a hammock with a book. I popped the top on one of the victorias in the fridge (Nicaraguan beer) and we enjoyed our solitude for the next two hours before anybody showed up.

“you’re in the fuckin’ jungle, man”

We got the breakdown of how the hostel operates and a little history on the worker who greeted us at the end of those two hours. The worker, a native Canadian named Rob, told us that eight months ago he visited Nicaragua for two weeks on a whim, fell in love with the country and has been living there ever since. “It’s the most beautiful place on the planet, man.” And from the vista granted by Poste Rojo’s perfect placement, I can see why he would say that.

He gave us directions down to our dorms, a steeper grade, 500-foot descent, and warned us to beware of deadly coral snakes, poisonous spiders (the big ones), and poisonous scorpions (the small ones). One of the girls said, semi-incredulous, “Are you serious?” He laughs and says, “You’re in the fuckin’ jungle, man.”

Now, when a guy tells you to watch out for poisonous spiders, stinging scorpions and snakes that can kill you within hours of a bite, regarding a trail you’ve already climbed and now have to go back down, you quickly learn the legitimacy of the phrase “ignorance is bliss.”

jungle sunset = sweet

After a hesitant trip to the dorm and back to the common area, keeping our eyes peeled for anything that could murder us, we settle by the bar for the night and I’m suddenly no longer drinking alone. Listening to the consonance of Jimi Hendrix, James Taylor and Brett Dennen, we watched a beautiful sunset and let the rum and beer take us on one hell of a trip with the owner of the hostel, Chad, and Rob. For me, this was one of the most memorable nights of our 9-day stay in Nicaragua.

sunset

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One Response to “the nicaraguan chronicles – part 3”

  1. the nicaraguan chronicles – part 5 « livin' like a freebird Says:

    […] all made friends with Shannon and Joe, and it turned out they had, just a week prior, come from the Poste Rojo Treehouse hostel the five of us had stayed at two nights before! Giddy as virgin school girls, we jibbered and […]

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