Woke to another cloudy day. Humidity is up a little. We met up with Sparky at the buffet and ate as we came into port. It was a good feeling to know that we would be on land again. Our call was for eight a.m., so we headed down to the Cabaret Lounge after grabbing our stuff from the room. Of course, it wasn’t until 8:30 before we actually were taken down to the tender.
The waves were a bit more frisky and Sparky tempered love of the tender a bit when she saw ours bucking in the water. She was a bit nervous, but I told her it would be better once we’d gotten away from the ship and do you know? They did. Sigh…
Anyhow, it was a short ride to the shore and I was proven right yet again. Sparky was determined that we would be riding in broken-down ancient buses. Our bus was brand new and was made by Mercedes Benz. It was very comfortable and even had a bathroom (for No. 1 only, according to our guide).
We settled back to listen to our guide, Elvis, along with our driver Antonio, tell us about their country. Our tour consisted of visiting a market in Rivas, a volcano at the Masaya National Volcano Park and finally a stop in Granada to visit a restored church and a museum.
While Elvis gave us a background on Nicaragua, we watched the countryside pass. This is a very poor country of about 6.4 million people. Elvis said that they are very happy with their government and that Ortega and the Sandistas were great heroes of the people. There were statues to them all over the place. The ride was over an hour and very long, even in a comfy bus.
We got to the market and Elvis pleaded with us to not go outside the market and also how to deal with aggressive guides. To my surprise, no postcards, but lots of shirts, hammocks, wood goods, and handmade items. I bought some magnets and a pound of coffee, Sparky found a couple of crosses, and TBG pick up two wooden masks – one black and sad, the other white and happy. I’m thinking comedy and tragedy!
Onto the volcano and the reason for this excursion. TBG adores volcanoes and if I can find an excursion with one, it’s a good thing. The park is fairly well maintained with picnic areas set aside. Poor Elvis kept going on and on about how incredible this volcano was and that we would be able to see actual magma. However, we could only stay five minutes because of the sulfur steam.
Well, yes, there was magma if you stood on a certain observation deck and leaned over. I was hoping for a bit more, but TBG was happy and that made me happy. Even better, so far, Sparky was doing quite well with her ankle.
Afterwards, we headed to lunch at El Filet. It turned out to be a lovely restaurant, just newly remodeled. Lunch was supposedly an average Nicaraguan lunch of: rice, beans, chicken, beef, fish, potato salad and a roll. Somehow, I’m thinking not so much. I got a photo of Fred with our guide and the owner, Nancy. The food was very good and the restaurant comfortable.
Now it was on to Granada, another long ride and after such a yummy lunch, I nodded off. I had lots of company, though. We got to the city and Elvis said that it would be a four-block walk to the church, but if anyone wanted to stay on the bus, it would park right outside. I misinterpreted this to mean that he would come and get us before going in, so I opted to keep Sparky company. Nope, we sat there while they did the church and museum. I fell asleep waiting and didn’t wake until they were getting back on the bus. Confused, I asked TBG what was happening and he said we were done and heading back to the ship. Boo hiss. I won’t do that again. That’s what I get for being lazy.
Then we faced a two-hour drive back to the ship. It reminded me a bit of the haul back and forth to Paris from Le Harve. We made the next-to-the-last tender and it was packed like you wouldn’t believe. As it was 5:30, we told Sparky that we’d meet her at the dining room and hurried back to the cabin to change.
The dining room was empty, so I’m guessing lots of folks just headed up to the buffet to avoid having to change. Oscar our maître‘d came by and said that we would have an open seating tomorrow because some groups would be late coming back to the ship. We frantically started wondering about our trip, but we are back by 3:15, unless Sparky and TBG get the shopping vibe on.
Dinner was a hodgepodge. Sparky had all three apps, but one as a starter, one as a salad and one as an entrée. She stared with the chilled pineapple, which had a dusting of five spice on it. Then she moved on to the shrimp and scallop cocktail and finished with the beef satay. TBG started with the satay, moved on to the shrimp and scallop bisque and then had the jerk chicken (he tasted me and loved it). I started with the satay, then had a lovely yellow lentil soup and the jerk chicken – it was so flavorful and tasty – not hot at all. For dessert, Sparky had one scoop of the ice cream (honey yogurt and something else) and a scoop of the chocolate sorbet. TBG had a chocolate chip cookie and a scoop of honey yogurt. I was too full to even think about it.)
We returned to our respective cabins and turned in. About ten I woke up to an incredible light show. There was a lightning storm – no thunder, just lightning. It was jaw-droppingly beautiful. I asked TBG to take video. I’m not sure if he got anything, but I hope so. After that, it was lights out for both of us.
Onto Costa Rica!