06.12.2016 - 10.12.2016 26 °C
Krista: Another early morning, we are up and out of the hotel by 4:30am and a wee bit nervous as this will our first experience on the chicken bus, we have a vague idea of where the bus station is and how long it will take to get to Estelí but it is still dark and our Spanish is really just English with some gracious’ and por favors mixed in. Even with the help of the night guard in the hostel, our taxi driver took us to the tourist bus station, then the shuttle bus station and finally the chicken bus. Jim was nervous about loading our packs onto the roof but there are a few others so we go along with the pack and manage to get seats fairly close to the front. The bus is not nearly as bad as we have been lead to believe, and the ride is relatively uneventful. In Estelí we leave the bus station, and take a taxi to the office of the society that has helped us plan our accommodation in Miraflor, review and pay for our trip then take a taxi to find a hostel for the following Friday night, then back to the office with a quick stop for breakfast at Burger King, this seems to be Central America’s most popular fast food. From here we catch a true chicken bus to take us to Miraflor. We had opted to stay a couple nights on a local farm to experience the local lifestyle and hopefully interact with the family.
Emily: When we arrived the husband and his grandson was standing at the bus drop off to walk us to their house. We were greeted at the front door by Martha which is the wife and she took care of all the cooking. We went to our room which was 3 single beds with mosquito nets over the beds. We were all exhausted from the long day so we took a nap after we ate lunch. We woke up near dinner and met two girls staying in the room next to us. We socialized and ate dinner together and talked about the places we have stayed already. The next day we stayed we were supposed to go on a hike at 8:30am with an English speaking guide but he was sick so his dad showed up, he spoke zero English which made us a little frustrated. Throughout the hike we just made the best of it, and tried our best to speak/ understand everything. Overall the hike was a success, and it wasn’t too hard. Later we went on another hike with the two girls staying in the room next to us to the waterfall… The walk was about 30 mins there and 45 mins back up. At night we played cards and talked some more and had pasta for dinner with refried beans and boiled eggs on top. We were tried so we went to bed earlier, although we would not know we would be waking up at 5am. What happened was I woke up at 5am and felt very nausea, dizzy, and my stomach felt like needles were piercing into my stomach. Then I started throwing up 2 times in a bathroom that is only a little better than an outhouse. I finally fell back asleep although we had to wake back up again at 9am which I was so exhausted and felt absolutely miserable. But we had to get up to ride horses for 3 hours to our next stay in the mountains. Our guide was the guide we were supposed to have the day before, but he still didn’t seem that good since he was sick yesterday. We told him I was sick so we tried to get there as fast as possible and I was in so much pain from all the bouncing the horse did. Soon as we got to our place I got off the horse and threw up everywhere.
Jim: We got Emily settled into a bed to rest and met our host Frank, a young 23-year-old who is running the whole place, cooks, cleans, farms and anything else you may need. He set to work brewing Emily a special tea called manzanillo, similar to chamomile but much stronger and apparently good for stomach problems. For lunch he served us an amazing curry with vegetables fresh from the garden and we knew we were going to be well treated in his company. Emily spent the afternoon in our very comfortable treehouse room above the kitchen mostly sleeping while Frank took us on a tour of the property. His garden had everything you can think of and when Krista pointed out a squash he asked if we wanted to learn to make a soup for dinner. Frank grew, grounded, and brewed the most amazing coffee I’ve ever had. We watched him from our comfy rocking chairs begin to prepare our dining. He had a small stand-alone building as his kitchen, but anything needing to be cooked over a fire was a short walk away that looked similar to a brick-oven pizza stove with two open holes above for pots. Emily headed down from the treehouse looking a bit better but not yet 100%. Dinner was served in a bowl, green looking curry with homemade chips surrounding the bowl, Emily look as if she was going to get sick at first glance of dinner. It was green, thick and cheesy, with absolutely amazing flavor. Emily couldn’t get past the look so I helped finish hers and mine, yum.. We had a nice visit that evening with Frank, he is a very respectful, hardworking young guy and we left the next day after a couple more five star meals to catch the chicken bus back to Esteli. We spent a night in Esteli at a comfortable hostel with a hot and very needed shower then wandered around the town, had a nice dinner at a café close by and tucked in for a good night’s sleep as tomorrow we are off to Granada.
Krista: All in all despite the sickness, Emily’s flu and my cold, it was a beautiful area and a good reminder to us of what we have and how little we need. I am so grateful for this time to experience new places, miss the ones I love and remember especially as the holidays approach how lucky we are to be and have been loved so deeply. Namaste.