Day 12 - Time is No Object

Today was our last full day on Ometepe. Catherine woke up the boy’s room, took a look around, and said, “Oh. My. God. How are you guys possibly going to pack all this?!” The room is a disaster. It was worse when the day first began because Catherine made us put all our stuff into one area of the room, even if we didn’t pack it, so by the time we left there was at least a skinny path through the middle of the room.

Jack, Abe, Ben, and Bob volunteered to go down to the school to work one last time in the morning to clean up the lab. Everything was done, it was just messy. The rest of us stayed at the Finca and slept in. Some guy was supposed to come in the morning and take us on a tour of the upper part of the Finca where they have some cool petroglyphs. Skylar saw a sign that said it was a 2 mile hike. Our interest diminished. By noon, the guide still hadn’t shown up so we assumed it wasn’t going to happen. It’s probably just as well that it didn’t, because we were all exhausted.

At 12:30, the work party returned to the Finca for lunch. Lunch was fish. Not just any fish but the fish that we caught yesterday on the lake. The sight of them fully intact with the skin still on them was fairly unappetizing, but the most courageous of us dug in anyway. Now this part you’re going to think I’m lying, but I AM NOT: the fish was so good. It was amazingly prepared and there was tons of flavor. All the fish were different species but they were all white fish. We got to pick apart the fish to our liking which for some meant taking a few bites and stopping and for others meant scraping at the vertebrae with fingernails to scrape off every last piece of meat. A few people told me I took it too far. My eating style did start to resemble my dad when I picked at a third person’s fish carcass after they were done.

Lunch went a bit long and we didn’t leave the Finca until the time we were supposed to be arriving at the school. It was hot again, and by the time we got to the school everyone was sweaty. On the way, the girls started freaking out about being late and that they would cry if everyone was just standing there waiting for us. Well, we arrived at the school and there was only 5 or 6 people already there. They were setting up for an event. The event was called “La Reina de la Maiz” (Queen of the Corn). It was like a dance and beauty competition. We got there at 2:00 PM. We were supposed to be there at 1:00 PM. The event didn’t start until almost 4. So had we been on time, we would have been even more miserable than we were for the 2 hours we had to sit in the blazing hot sun.

So here we are in the sun waiting for 2 hours when finally the emcee starts announcing things. The sky starts getting dark and it starts to rain immediately after the first act. It would rain through the entire event. If they had started when we got there or when they said they’d start, we could have avoided the rain. The girl that Catherine and I ate lunch with everyday, Jennifer, competed for the Queen title and did really well. It was all traditional dance with some weird breaks between competitors. There was this big lady who danced and lip sang a Spanish song. It was pretty wacky. Then another girl, who we knew from earlier encounters, did an EXTREMELY provocative dance with another boy. Abe describe it as a fertility dance. We didn’t get to find out who won the competition because it was a two-day event, but we’re rooting for Jennifer.

After Queen of the Corn, we headed to Ben the Ice Cream Man’s restaurant for our first dinner out. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this was the best meal we had all trip so far. He made us lasagna and garlic bread. The lasagna was vegetarian so everyone could eat it, and the bread was addictive. We got ice cream for dessert. We lounged around and played games until 8 or so when Ben wanted to close up. At this time, we walked back to the school for the “fiesta.” Half of the group was dead tired and the scene of the “fiesta” was very unappealing. Basically, picture a basketball court full of tackily-dressed Nicaraguan men aged from 4 to 50 smoking and drinking, a smoke-filled room with music blaring so loudly that it hurt, and 3 Nicaraguan couples dancing to Latin pop music. For all intents and purposes, a normal dance. The large majority of the group that did not want to be there was extremely disappointed when it was announced that the bus to take us to the Finca wasn’t leaving until 11. That left 3 hours of “fiesta.” Enough people didn’t want to stay that Mike ended up arranging for the bus to come early and make two trips to pick people up. The few people who stayed said they had a great time.

Tomorrow we have to get up early to pack so that everything is ready to go when the Nicaraguans come for lunch to say good-bye. We should be to Granada by 3:30 PM by my calculations. But we’ll see.

I didn’t learn any new Spanish today and I am sad about it,

Will

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