In Omotope, the biggest issue is to get around the island. There is a public bus service—a good old chicken bus—running from one end to the island to the other but the schedule is erratic. Taxis are prohibitively expensive. So gringos usually rent motorbikes or bikes to explore the place.
I can’t drive a motorbike so I rented a bike for $5. My plan was to get to Altagracia, the other town on the East part of the island. Sure, people told me I was crazy. But locals don’t walk much (I was also told that there was no way I could walk to Punta Jesús María and it was an easy stroll) and I thought I would be fine—I mean, how hard is it to ride a bike on a paved road?
So I left, a bottle of water and a couple of sweet breads in my bag, a basic map in my pocket.
I passed pigs, horses, cows (I am such a city girl… I took pictures!), pulperías, plantain fincas and small villages—Esquipulas, Los Angeles, San José, Santa Teresa… I took a break in San José, where a bunch of people were playing baseball with Volcán Concepción in the background. Okay, 8 kilometres done. How many more to go? Ah yeah. Crap. At least 25. It is really hard to figure out the distances here because there is no good map with a proper scale.
It was very hot and humid as usual and I wished I could go topless. Not something I would try in Nicaragua though. I was fully dressed (well, wearing shorts and a t-shirt) but I heard whistles, kisses and catcalls each time I passed men.
The road was steep and I was biking against the wind.
At kilometre 12, I begun to reconsider my goal.
At kilometre 17, I said screw it and turned around.
Sometime, you have to be flexible.
I head back to Chaco Verde, a nice natural reserve at kilometre 12. There I had a Coke and enjoyed the beach for a while, before bumping into a group of Spanish backpackers who were staying at the same hostels. We explored the reserve together and biked all the way back to town.
When I brought back the bike and admitted I had attempted to go to the other village, the guy looked at me as if I was crazy.
Now I know why Che Guevara rode a motorbike and not a bike around Latin America…
You can see the complete set of Nicaragua on Flickr.