Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ometepe y más

Today we are in Granada, fabulously touristy, chock full of gringos. We are on our way back to La Dalia from Ometepe island. Heather has a bug or some such thing in her belly and is lying down in the dorm room. Hopefully she will recover for the 6-8-ish hour bus ride tomorrow.

Okay. Let us begin with the billiards tournament. The tournament works like this: We organize a tournament against VIH (HIV) wherein about 16 participants register to play billiards and recieve some education about the virus. In between each round of billiards, Heather and I give a brief "charla" (talk) about an aspect of the virus, how it works, how to avoid it, etc. Then, during the last round, the two players who are left have to answer a question about the charlas each time they get a ball in the pocket. If their answer is wrong, the ball is placed back on the table. The thing about this is, the men here never get any education because it is all geared toward women and children.

It was a blast. We had about 80 men crammed into this billiards hall and with the pouring rain outside, and no power. We had to climb halfway up a ladder against the wall and scream the charlas out to be heard. Here is a picture of Heather up on the ladder.

And some more random shots... there is a great picture of heather with me putting a condom over her arm, accompanied by a speech about how some men believe that their penis is too big to use a condom and about how none of their penis´are bigger than my wife´s arm. It is very compelling.

Well, after that, we had this language taller, or workshop, back in our training towns. Except this time, Heather and I were together in Santa Teresa. It was an intense crash course in the advanced compound tenses like past perfect subjunctive, in order to speak hypothetically. Try getting by in a lnguage, working in development in a thirdworld country where you can´t comfortably construct phrases like, "If you hadn´t thrown the garbage in your yard, you wouldn´t have slipped on the pop bottle on your way to the latrine in the middle of the night and and wouldn´t have broken your head." Yeah. Without compound hypothetical tenses, can´t be done. Right Ben?

Anyway, now we are practically fluent. Not really. But since most of the people from our group were gathered together in Carazo again, we decided to go to Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua (its the great big one on the map). It is an island in Lago Nicaragua which was formed by two volcanoes. They are a good time. Smoking and angry looking.

So we stayed on the island in a little hotel. I was pretty fun but pricy on volunteer budget ($0 per/hour). But cheap for tourist budget. It was $9 per person per night. The "all you can eat" buffet of Nica food was about $5.75. Ouch!

Yep. There they are. So we hiked around on Saturday looking for petroglyphs. Found ém. Got some great views of the volcanoes and plan to return for some of the more serious hikes later on.

Two of the other guys had birthdays this week and the girls got together real sneaky-like to plan a piñata. It was a good time. Then we swam in the lake, incidentally, the only land-locked source of fresh water sharks left on the earth. We swam in shark infested water. (Okay, to be fair, they are practically extinct and supposedly much further out.)

(at the hotel)
Well, thanks for the birthday wishes, those who sent them. We are now officially free to travel and have visitors so,... the flood gates are open...

Ometepe island

The piñata (the car, from Cars)

...and we close with a shot of Heather and Kory in beautiful Granada at twilight.

Thanks for the chocolates and letters and things. Abbey and Kim, I got the gummy bears, and letters from the kids and you guys, on my birthday. That was fun. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Si no hubiera fuiste...

Sent you a text on your bday, don't know if you got it, but if not, Happy birthday mang! That's a pretty amazing turnout at the billiards tourny. Did you offer them prizes or anything?

"Si tengas SIDA, tu pene es tal como un lapis q' ocupas para escribir invitaciones a una fiesta de la muerte"

6 ball corner pocket.


The Varbles said...

That's hilarious about the condom. lol. The excuses men think of... :)

What an amazing adventure you guys are having! It looks so beautiful there from the pictures. Much different from here, in a peculiar yet facsinating way.

Well, we are moving to Sacramento, CA hopefully the first of August. We are expanding our online biz out there. Our house sold after only 36 days (with this market we are very lucky). We are so excited to have an adventure ourselves. Lily is an amazingly good baby. We just love having her part of our lives.

Love hearing about all that's going on. Have a fabulous day!

Love, Charlotte