Nicaragua: Ometepe and Granada
This is the tale of some fortunate time spent in Nicaragua… specifically, Ometepe and Granada. Verbally sharing these tales, and writing reflections only capture a fraction of their essence. What was experienced here speaks to what is communicated between the written words and the spoken sounds.
Part 1 – Ometepe
This segment of the journey started with a peculiar working situation, while I anxiously awaited an international Tica Bus. Nestled under a bush beside the Panamerican Hwy far from any town, I pulled out my laptop, turned on my hotspot, and happily began working. No need for fancy co-working spaces, and modern standup desks. Simply knowing I was living my life, and pushing the limits of my working situation drove my productivity to manage my responsibilities and get results.
After dozens of buses passed, and the other travelers hopped on ‘local’ buses, the bus I had pre-booked arrived. With my belongings, no cash, and my raggedy clothes I entered the bus and ventured towards the border. Luckily, a german couple helped float me through the border fees. This couple, and an Irish girl Sinead were also heading to Ometepe. We shared a quick meal, and a taxi on the mainland, then rushed for the ferry. As the ferry departed, the aurora of breathing changed. Sighs of relief, followed by gasps of disbelief filled the time, as the ferry coasted towards the island of Ometepe. As the sunset, the magical feeling of Ometepe surfaced. The experience was surreal.
The days that followed were no different. Time began to crawl as the local daily activities exemplified the simplicity of life. The first day, I explored the Northern part of the island on scooters with two Malaysian travellers, while Sinead hiked the local volcano that my heavily worn sandals could not safely handle.
My casual scooter ride quickly turned into an overly technical route. The scooter wheels were no bigger than 30cm, so one wrong decision at a small fork took us down some gnarly roads. Quite frankly, the roads resembled trails and would have been challenging for a basic rider on a proper motorbike. Nonetheless, I encouraged us to continue forward confident that we’d find the road eventually, but not before squeezing our way past a heard of bulls that walked along the broken dirt trail. As the heard approached us, the cattlemen behind the heard smiled, laughed, and heckled ‘good-luck’. Overly confident in my abilities I continued onwards, and drop the scooter twice. Damage was done, not to mention the beating the suspension took before finding the road again.
The days journey continued towards a local spring with a rope swing, and ended as I shredded back to the hostel for a meeting. After exchanging stories for the day, Sinead and I decided to travel east towards El Zipolote.
The sober journey into an energetic realm of experience was beginning (and still continues today).
Words inadequately illustrate the experience at El Zipolote. Many may assume that substances or natural medicines contributed to what is being expressed. All the time spent in Central America was sober, yet reality seemed to morph in a quantum manner. Rituals of yoga, meditation and many epic (organic, local, zero-waste ect..) meals challenged aspects of life that are rarely explored. The principles of permaculture provided a platform of inspiration to create similar spaces elsewhere, while emotional experience continues to shape vibrations of life from the properties small physical footprint.
However, the metaphysical footprint of the property and island are beyond noteable. Just ask any person who has entered the space to compare energetic levels from another physical location. As the moonlight grew, people trekked through fields, farms, and forests to a fire that acknowledged the power of lunar vibrations. Simple, sustainable, and surreal the time spent with the island was profound.
From local markets to waterfalls creating lush natural growth, the sights and sounds of Ometepe will not be forgotten. The words, sounds and visual shapes presented here only illustrate a pathetic percentage of this continuous paradigm. So it ends, and begins… be for the moment.
Part 2 – Granada
Off the island and up towards Granada, Sinead and I continued to adventure together. Landing on the mainland, the aurora of living was instantly noticeable in myself, and the environment. Sinead suggested we hitchhike to Granada to avoid the unknowable amount of stops the chicken-bus would take. I wasn’t opposed, but the challenge of working surfaced again. The highway cell coverage to date was great, so I’d wishfully assumed it would continue. So we stood, thumbs out like any other hitchhikers elsewhere… except I was plugged-in chatting about online marketing strategies for the month to come, and mapping out crucial team responsibilities. Nothing more than someone taking a business call walking in an urban city center. Then a trucked stopped, Sinead and I jumped in, and without a word spoken to driver beyond “hola” and “gracias” we basically made it to Granada. Unfortunately, the cell coverage was spotty and the unnecessarily long two-hour meeting ended after one hour. We checked into a posh hostel that juxtaposed reality. I worked for days straight, before unplugging again to visit a ‘tree-house’ hostel in the ‘jungle’.
Jungle rave and open mic night, that’s what called at the “tree-house” hostel in the jungle outside Granada. Simply put, a local DJ bumped beats all night and we danced danced danced!!! The evening resembled an epic house party, with tons of epic tunes and friendly local-international vibs flowing. However, watching people consume drug after drug, from white-powders to clear liquids only surfaced more questions and bizarre thoughts. Completely sober, the dancing and music alone triggered enough intense natural sensations that validated the actions and decisions I continue to make.
The night before the rave was an open mic night, which provide an opportunity to push another boundary. With zero recent performing experience, and nothing to lose I started playing some basic drum beats while the owner sang covers and original tunes. Eventually a guest, Zac started to perform. Alone with a guitar Zac brought a wonderful gift into the space. He was truly a gifted musician, playing an acoustic finger-picking percussion style guitar, similar to Andy Mckee. After Zac finished, the mic was open. Realizing throughout the evening that this was no ‘casual open mic night’, anxiety flooded my thoughts. Sweat dripped from my palms, and a dichotomous feeling rattled through my body. This was my chance to play… but still my none-rational fear mongering amygdala raged.
The decision was made, life is to be lived, and shared. Now was the time. I stood up, grabbed the guitar and started to play. I hadn’t played the guitar in months, and it showed immediately. I was a nervous wreck, alone in front of a few strangers with virtually no support. The 30-seconds through the clumsy beginning passed and I started to play a loop consistently. I recognized my sound didn’t have the same wholeness as other performers, but I continued anyways. With my head down focusing on the strings, I was completely unaware of my audience. This was a rookie mistake. Suddenly the sound of another guitar entered the soundscape, I glanced up. Standing beside me was Zac, playing a riff on my sound – support arrived, and together we jammed alright. Then, a local picked up a drum and voila we were making music. I glanced up from the guitar, and the room had begun to fill. The song ended and the local suggested we jam some Reggae. It took another learning moment to get the rhythm, but eventually we were jamming again. The minutes passed, and my head was still buried in the strings. The song ended, I glanced up from the guitar one last time… the room was full.
To many reading this, the performance may seem insignificant. However, this was a phenomenal learning experience about how to share music and perform my art. Crossing this major milestone broke a fear, and started a new habit. Since this ‘performance’ I’ve happily jammed dozens of times with friends, busked with a homeless man, sang in front of a small house party, and played 2 gigs locally near Vancouver. This experience brought creating music an order of magnitude up in my life.
The other experience I was fortunate to authentically see in rural Nicaragua was while I volunteered for a day to teach children English. Afterwards, we toured the substantially impoverished village that neighboured the hostel. Facing the reality of these living conditions in my thoughts alone was challenging, and act as a continuous reminder for how fortunate my community is.
Last, but certainly not least I must acknowledge the companionship I had throughout this entire chapter of my travels through Central America. The pleasure of sharing traveling time and tales with Sinead was unforgettable (thank you!). The quirky, and largely radical vibs I undoubtedly have, do not authentically meld easily with many. Sharing time and space with people on my vib is a lesson that continues to surface.
Believe it or not, we are all traveling together. We share this majestic planet, magical organic-spaceship, earth, home or whatever you call it together, as it voyages through the universe.
So let’s keep it kaizen.