Have I mentioned that it’s rainy season here in Nicaragua? It was easy to forget while in Granada.
Before coming to Central America, I pictured rainy season here to mirror the punctual thunderstorms of south Florida’s hurricane season – rain that pounds down, obliterating the horizon for 20 minutes a day before clearing up. In Granada and here in Ometepe, the rain is more infrequent than those daily storms but tends to stick around for longer.
It rained my first day coming to the island. The rain started around 4:00, more than an hour into the bus ride from la lancha to El Zopilote, the organic farm where I’ll be living and teaching yoga for the next few months. The rain began as a light drizzle but quickly increased in intensity, forcing bus windows to be closed and then quickly steam up with the humidity of the day and the passengers. I looked out the window at my new surroundings, taking in the lush green of an island with two volcanoes.
Isla de Ometepe sits in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America. I didn’t really appreciate the scope of the lake until I traveled by bus and then taxi two hours outside of Granada to find myself still on the shore of Lake Nicaragua with no view of Granada, but a view of Nicaragua’s border with Costa Rica. Que grande! From there, we boarded a ferry which took about an hour to dock in Ometepe.
At this point, I was famished and demanded food, so I refueled at a small comedor close to the dock with a fried egg sandwich and leche con pitaya. Pitaya, or dragon fruit, is a fruit of amazing pink-ness, sporting color that is darker and has more intensity than beet. It’s chock full of vitamin C, and strangely doesn’t pack much of a punch with the flavor. It’s super refreshing mixed with milk, or simply blended with lime juice.
After eating and drinking and chatting with a yoga teacher from France, it was time to complete the trip to El Zopilote. As I sat on a bus watching the rain pour down, my heart sunk a little at the thought of walking the extra 5 kilometers in the weather after such a long day of travel. Lucky, lucky me that the road we had to walk was paved with cobblestones – something new, according to my travel companion. Not long ago, the road was dirt and would have been slick with mudslides in the rain. We walked until we saw a yellow schoolbus parked just off the street with a sign stating that they sell nutella, pan, café, and more. Two young guys offered a map of the finca, and then it was hiking up a mountain on a slick stone path for another 2 kilometers. As the farm and hostel came into view, I felt that my day of travel was worth it. Artistic signs decorate the path, and the buildings are constructed from wood and bamboo. I felt as though I was walking into the cousin of Rainbow Hammock, a home away from home in the Ocala National Forest. This ecological hostel was created by like-minded people, I had no doubt.
Once I got settled in, I headed down to the pizzeria. The farm was founded by father and son, both from Italy, and they didn’t forget their pizza-making skills at home. The pizza is served up three times a week, sporting a mixture of mozzarella and Nicaraguan cheese and a heady array of choices, from fried egg to salami and mushroom, or you can get one topped with local greens grown here on the farm. The pizza is baked in a wood fired oven, taken out and handed to you sizzling hot. I feel so lucky to have landed here!
I’ll be teaching yoga once or twice a day during the week. Hatha yoga for the asana practice and meditation for la mente. The space is beautiful, and I’m just waiting for my students to find me. This morning, I had only the one who you see in the pictures below. He was an enthusiastic student, if not very attentive to listening to instruction. The space is beautiful, a clear space painted by an instructor who visited from Mexico. Tall trees and beautiful flowers surround the area. While practicing supta hasta padangusthasana this morning, I had a butterfly come and land right on my heel, quietly staying still as I stretched and breathed.
The nights here are star-filled and quiet. Well – quiet save for the array of frogs chirping, night owls hooting , and geckos knocking. It’s a joy to be surrounded by such lush greenness. The guests come from all over the world, and I’ve had fun conversations with visitors from Germany, France, Spain, Costa Rica, Argentina ,and Chile. I’m enjoying dropping into this slower pace of life and focusing more on my studies of espanol and yoga.