The typical Latin American diet consists of three key ingredients: rice, beans, and chicken. Recently, I've had the luxury of switching things up: after losing Saturday's "traditional" lunch to a bout of sea sickness on Lake Cocibolca, my diet officially changed to one of jello, oatmeal, and papaya. I've spent much of the last couple days sleeping and rehydrating, two things easier said than done in the intense Granada heat.
My case of "mareos" excepted, however, Saturday's boating trip was in every way a success. The group was given a splendid tour of Lake Cocibolca's nearly four hundred islands, stopping at
two along the way. To the "Island of Hope," owned by the extended family that inhabits it, we brought a "Winne the Pooh" pinata. I had the chance to operate the pinata while the children of the island beat the stuffing out of it: using a rope fastened in a tree pulley, I managed to maneuver Pooh safely out of harm's way for only a handful of songs before he was ripped to shreds.
We then stopped at a private island for lunch and kyaking. In hindsight, it would have been better for me to have done a little bit less of both, but I was living in the moment and savoring life. Ancient petroglyphs, tools, and indigenous statues graced the island resort - seeing these objects outside of a museum made for a rare treat. One particular island we passed on our tour sported at least a dozen monkeys. In our one encounter with another tourist boat, we watched with childlike glee as a monkey swung from a tree branch onto the neighboring vessel. It ran up and down the length of the ship several times, both frightening and amusing the passengers.
On Sunday the group took a "canopy tour" (that is, a zipline tour) of the Mombacho Volcano. I was still suffering the effects of the "mareos," so I had to pass on this amazing trip. My classmates have just started to fill me in on what I missed, so I'll be sure to report more on it as the information becomes available. For now, I'm looking forward to getting back into our weekday routine of classes and volunteer work: my host family helped me correct the Spanish grammar of the anecdote I'd written for one of my classes, so I'm excited to see if professor Bayardo (one of our local teachers) approves of it!
Finally, reaching back in time all the way to this past Friday, we took a morning tour of Granada. We saw the famous churches, the historic armories and military fortifications, and hundreds of indigenous artifacts. We even all posed together with one of the last remaining railroad engines - if I recall correctly, the trains shut down in the early 90's after a government initiative to sell the old engines and buy new ones failed. (Only the first half of the plan was carried out, leaving the industry rather handicapped.)