Well, it had finally happened…I had opted to eat a hamburguesa at a local corner restaurant in Granada and my body rejected it as quickly as I had consumed it. It was indeed my first experience of traveler’s food poisoning and the bathroom at our hostel became my best friend for the night. Unfortunately, in the morning we had already planned to make our trek to Isla de Ometepe; an island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua created by two active volcanoes. The only way to get to the island was to take a public ferry which would take approximately 1 hour long. I dreaded the thought of being stranded on a boat while my bodily functions did not comply with my brain. When we took a taxi ride down to the port of Rivas, we realized that the windy weather was becoming a concern. Grains of sand hit our faces as we purchased our tickets and waited for the ferry to arrive. Thomas decided to purchase a coffee and pastry while we stood with our backs to the gust of the wind. Thomas concluded that his pastry (pasteles de pollo) was much crunchier than usual due to the sand.
As my body continued to grasp the idea that we would be on a boat with this windy weather, Thomas continued to cheer me on as we waited. It was about the same time we were approached by two women backpackers; a Spaniard and a fellow Canadian. The two travelers appeared to be a bit worried about the conditions of the water. For myself, I kept thinking about the unimaginable….that rumble…that rage in my stomach. As we continued to laugh about the journey we were about to embark on, we saw the ferry pull up to the man made port. It was then I became concerned about the stability of the ferry.
The ferry was old. That wooden vintage look….similar to the one that belonged in a movie destined to be shipwrecked. The wooden vessel rocked back and forth as we climbed aboard. We headed straight to the cabin for shelter as the sand continued to strike us in the face.
Once we were on the boat, the instant rocking caused my stomach to take a turn for the worst! We hadn’t even departed yet and I felt that I was going to experience a serious case of traveler’s diarrhea. Thomas quickly took my bag off my back and told me to sit down in one of the middle seats away from the windows so the rocking wouldn’t be so severe. I felt myself beginning to sweat. As I tried to pretend that I was feeling ok… I felt my body go into cold sweats needing to relieve itself from the torture of that hamburguesa. In front of me was the washroom and it was the first time in my life that I would refuse to use a public restroom as it looked as though it had never been cleaned.
Thomas settled into a seat near a window. With the winds gusting, he attempted to close the wooden window but it was stuck. The other travelers we had met, were sitting across from us and began to look as green as I felt. While we heard the boat engine start, the first wave hit the side of the boat to the point where water reached the open window and SPLASH! Thomas was soaked. His body cold, he moved closer to me laughing as though he should have known better. I, on the other hand, naturally began complaining… stating I was going to throw up…or worse!
Another backpacker who was sitting across from us offered me a Dorito chip. My response was a simple plea for the empty bag as I updated him on my status. Kindly, the backpacker leaned back into his seat smiling and began to eat his delicious treat faster. Praying in desperation to survive, I closed my eyes and eventually fell asleep. By the time we arrived on Isla de Ometepe, I had just woken up. Thomas grabbed our belongings, both of us thankful to have reached our destination safely. I knew my day was about to get better.
The next task at hand for Thomas and I was to find a home for the next couple of days. We had decided to find a hostel once we arrived on the island. The two girls told us about the hostel they booked and suggested that we should come check it out. Without any regrets we decided to book at the same hostel called Hospedaje Central. The hostel embodied that simple relaxed Nica vibe and for a reasonable cost. Our private room was basic, containing two beds with a simple in-suite bathroom. I decided to ‘freshen up’ once we settled in, taking my time for a relaxing shower. Afterwards I tried to eat some traditional gallo-pinto as my body attempted to cooperate with me. As the afternoon arrived at our doorstep, I went outside and enjoyed the view of one of the volcanoes relieved that my horrible Nica ferry adventure was at last... over.
…Or at least I thought. (Stay tuned.)