After visiting Matagalpa for one day, I continued my travels to Selva Negra and Miraflor. Selva Negra was a delightful 2 day stay in a beautiful mountain resort that looked like the home of "Hansel and Gretel". There, I hiked in the cloudforest and run from a mountain lion (I haven't run this fast in a while) whose roar I heard very close to me. I heard howler monkeys but didn't actually see them and saw some other critters. I hiked through the coffee plantations eating oranges that were still green but tasted ohh so good when one is hungry. I had a wonderful room with warm shower but little food as it was rather expensive. There, I met Patricia Moody, an english teacher from Bristol who told me about Miraflor. During dinner, we discussed my visit to Miraflor and I decided that I would stay there for 4 days.
Now,I am back from my four day stint at UCA-Miraflor. Thanks to my wonderful friend Patricia, whom I met in Selva Negra, I ventured for 4 days to Mirflor where she had been working as an English teacher. I stayed in El Cebollal, the cloud forest area, at the Finca Fuente de Vida. It was beautiful, tranquil, very green with lots of banana trees, coffee plantations, potato fields and flowers. Most of the houses do not have electricity (which means no TV, hurray). We had a tiny little bulb that was powered by a auto battery and just lasted long enough to give us light during dinner and some after dinner reading time. The finca also featured three dogs, a cat and two small green parrots. Thanks to all the sugar water bird feeders, we did enjoy lots of humming birds flying around. The food was healthy and organically grown (so we think). We went on a 6 hour horseback ride into the jungle to see the wildlife. We spotted hauler monkeys, one quetzal and a green toucan but all were so high up in the trees that we had to be very patient. We had a wonderful guide who knew were to find the birds. Later we went swimming in a waterhole, it was cold but refreshing. On the way back from the waterhole, the lady through whose property we had to march to get to the waterhole, invited us for roasted corn on the cup. The other days were spent hiking around the area, taking the bus to the small town of Yali, or doing nothing. I did relax and actually got to read an interesting book called the No.1 ladies detective agency in Botswana. I also bought some organic coffee for my family in Esteli.
But now it's time to move on. I am getting antsy as I have been here for 2 weeks now. Unfortunately for me (not for the farmers), hurricane Ivan has provided Nicaragua with some heavy rains that seem to be lingering around for some time to come. Well, after all, it's hurricane season.
So, tomorrow I will head for Leon where I will be celebrating Nicaragua's independence on July 15th. Friday, I plan to go to Managua to meet up with Patricia and then head to Bluefields (depending on the weather situation).
One more thing, since I don't have a digital camera, I received permission to use some of the pictures Gerry and Sharon Channer, fellow travelpod members from Canada, have been taking. They have been traveling in their VW camper since January 2004 and pretty much ploughing the route I will be ploughing. If you have time, check out their web site and wonderful pictures at http://www.travelpod.com/members/thymeoff.