Arriving in Granada, Nicaragua was very easy from Masaya. It cost a few cents by chicken bus and I arrived in less than an hour. I could tell I was near the central plaza when I saw the colonial buildings and I signalled the bus-driver to stop by banging on the ceiling of the bus. Luckily, I turned out to be only four blocks or so from the hostal Oasis, so I didn’t have to hire a taxi. When I entered Hostal Oasis I had a tremendous case of deja-vu, the layout was almost exactly like Lazybones in Leon. The reception, garden, pool, dorms, common areas all were almost identical. Then when I entered my room I encountered two fellows I had met at Lazybones! is that funny or what? I’m beginning to get used to this sort of thing along the “gringo trail.”
At first glance I liked Granada, there’s a lot to like: colonial buildings, cool breeze from the nearby lake, and everything designed with the tourist in mind. Therein lies the rub. Because of so many tourists the prices are inflated in restaurants, and anywhere you go you are accosted by salesmen, taxistas, moneychangers, tour guides or just plain beggars.
Hostal Oasis was an oasis from the chaos outside, and I enjoyed cooking my own dinners in the kitchen and meeting lots of travellers from all over the world: Israel, Austria, Germany , and of course Canada. I couldn’t imagine what to do with my time outside of the hostal, and though I enjoyed playing guitar and using the free internet, I decided it was time for San Juan Del Sur.
I took a short, cheap bus ride to Rivas, then another to San Juan. I realized immediately why everyone adores San Juan del Sur: the streets are clean, the air is cool, and it is small and well arranged around the beach, plaza, and market–all just a few blocks from one another.
Just as I stepped off the bus I spotted a young lady wearing a Surfing Donkey T-shirt, the hostal I was looking for. Giselle from Argentina guided me three blocks to the hostal, which was $7 a night for a dorm with breakfast and kitchen facilities, and a cold swimming pool. I think I´ll be staying here a few days.
A funny thing, or two, happened today: just after having lunch at a comedor in the market I bumped into Matt, who was one of the guys I had met in Leon AND Granada, so he holds the record for the most times I’ve met someone on my trip by accident. Then a few minutes later I was talking to Elena from Italy who promotes Surfing Donkey as well as her macrame bracelets, when I spied another familiar face– Do from Israel, whom I had met way back at Casa Verde in Santa Ana, El Salvador. He told me he had just put Megan on the bus, so I just had time to wave hello/goodbye to her. Like I said, I’m getting used to this sort of thing on the gringo trail.