Today marks nine months on the road, and we have been observing this milestone by holing up in an air-conditioned hotel in Granada. The current mood has a bit to do with travel fatigue, a bit to do with heat exhaustion, and a whole lot to do with a whole lot of bites.
Something I didn’t do on my previous trip to Nicaragua was to visit Volcán Masaya, an active volcano that last spat up rocks in April 2012. I didn’t give too much thought about the dangers of visiting an active volcano, but as soon as we drove into the park, we found ourselves surrounded by the black rock of lava fields, as well as warning signs about evacuation routes.
There is a pretty good nature museum that unfortunately closed shortly after we got there, and other than that, there was not much for us to do other than stand at the edge of the crater. The trail around the edge was closed, as were two other lookout points, due to recent damage. The crater was unexpectedly awesome, just the massive cloud rising out of it. We couldn’t stay too long, because the sulfur dioxide was making us feel sick.
When we got back to the car, we discovered that the delicious roast chicken–half of which we’d eaten in a supermarket parking lot, and the other half of which was to be our dinner–had not-so-mysteriously disappeared. Milo is not a very big dog, and it was not a very big chicken, but still–everything was gone but the styrofoam tray and the plastic wrap. We were a bit shocked at the thoroughness of his work in the 15 minutes we’d spent looking into the volcano (they wouldn’t allow Milo out of the car near the crater’s edge). This was the beginning to a pretty terrible night. Even though Milo had gotten past the most dangerous phase of consuming cooked chicken bones–the swallowing part–we still worried about him all night, as those pesky bones have been known to cause problems in all phases of digestion. After a sad dinner of cheese and crackers for me and Juan, we spent the whole night providing another inadvertent dinner (us!) for the sandflies that passed through the screens. We are not a pretty sight at the moment–more bite than man. I’d wanted to stop at the craft market in Masaya before heading to Granada, but after that night, I was in no mood for browsing or shopping of any kind.
Granada is only a 20-minute drive from Masaya. Like León, it is prettier and way hotter than I remember. After four nights of no- and substandard showering and sleeping, I demanded we get a hotel, where we could at least itch and itch and itch and itch with air-conditioning. Luckily, we saw these random signs for Hotel Casa Barcelona, a spot that is dog-friendly, and with one parking spot just for us inside the gate. Somehow, I am beginning to feel like a wimp after all this time on the road. It’s weird because I think Baja was equally hot and buggy at times: shouldn’t I be getting more tolerant of all this discomfort, and not less?
We’ve decided that some of our travel fatigue could be due to the fact that we have failed to do any real planning, and having to make a little plan every day gets tiresome. So today we spent the day plotting out the next six weeks until we get to Panama City. It feels good to have some sort of plan, and has helped to get us more excited about things. It was beginning to feel like we were just wandering around sort of piteously, looking for any place to rest ourselves comfortably. We would prefer to feel home-free, not home-less.
More photos at limpire.