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Peregrinations Mexico and Central America on Motorcycle: Open road, open heart, open mind.

Month Six: Little Corn Island Part II

NICARAGUA | Monday, 12 September 2011 | Views [1870] | Comments [2]

More beach? Yes please. View from Casa Iguana on a stormy day.

More beach? Yes please. View from Casa Iguana on a stormy day.

So much has happened in the past few days that I want to catch you all up on, but I can't regale you with those shenanigans until I catch you up on the past month. Catching you up on a whole month of events? Yeah, right. Especially when those events became all blurred together in the phenomenon called "daily life". But I'll give it a shot.

After making a run to Bluefields and El Rama to make sure the bike was well-stored for an extended stay on LCI (which was an adventure in itself: gunfight outside my hotel room, a debit card that stopped working, and getting in a full-on yelling match with an armed military man who wanted to get a bribe out of me), I settled into my daily life on the island quite easily. Daily life included (but was not limited to) the following:

1. Wake up at my "home" at Three Brothers, where Randy and Lucilla took good care of me and all the other travelers. I was regularly threatened with a beating when I was gone all day without telling Lucilla. My alarm in the morning was one of two things: either the suffocating heat waking me up after the fans shut off (island power is only on from two in the afternoon to five in the morning), or my crazy flat-mates on the balcony outside cracking a crude joke or yelling "patti patti patti!" at the tops of their lungs. Then toe-in-the-hole with coconut bread for breakfast, while hanging out on the balcony with the same crazy people.

2. Head to the beach! I usually hung out on the north beaches, which were quite private and secluded, a situation that greatly assisted me in my plot to get rid of all my tan lines. But if the day was overwhelmingly hot, it was often better to hike through the swamp to the east beaches, which it was breezy all day. But I preferred the hike to the north, which wound through the edge of town, past the school and the basketball court, through the baseball field, along a hard-packed mud path through tall grasses and fruit trees, and eventually popped out a half hour later at the beach, where crystal-blue Caribbean waves lapped on white sand, and coconut palms arched out over the shore.

3. Head back from the beach, sweaty and brown(er). Take ice-cold shower back at Three Brothers. Is it two o'clock yet? Because that fan would sure be nice...

(Dive-shop cat Crazy Legs. He has a hair-fetish, don't hold it against him.)

4. Go diving! This usually happened in the morning, not the afternoon, but hey, there's a lot to include here. Diving with the best dive company ever, Dive Little Corn, was a fantastic experience. I did a refresher dive, then a ten-dive package, then my Advanced Open Water certification, then a two-tank trip to Blowing Rock, then another fun dive...it was a lot of diving, and it was all perfect. I saw hammerhead sharks, bottlenose dolphins, and king fish and tarpon (each the size of me); eagle rays flying through the water like, well, eagles; stingrays, moray eels, pufferfish, box fish, drumfish, filefish, angelfish; fish with electric-blue spots, fish with neon yellow tails, fish that swam with their dorsal and ventral fins, fish that looked like needles, and fish that looked like punk-rockers...the list is endless. I even had my fintips nibbled by an overly inquisitive nurse shark, although I'd rather not repeat that experience. Huge thanks to my excellent instructors, dive-masters and friends Jen, Dave and Jeff, and to Shell, Clint and Cheryl for running such a safe and friendly operation!I'll be back for my DM!

5. Go to work! Yes, that deserves and exclamation point. After a brief stint at Casa Iguana, I worked at Tranquilo, the most popular bar on the island. The view was amazing, the people were great (that's you, John and Lisa!), and the patrons were most often fun and interesting. We rocked out to awesome playlists from Lisa's iPod, mixed caiprihnis and pina coladas, cracked the lids on Tona and Victoria beers, and wiped massive puddles of condensation off the bar before they dripped onto peoples' laps. Out over the ocean, there were often lightning storms on the western horizon, which lit up the towering stacks of cumulus clouds like gigantic, apocalyptic fireflies. It was one hell of an office, I'll tell you that much.

6. Walk home via the dock. At the end of the dock was a tall streetlight, which, for whatever reason, called all the barracuda and eagle rays to it. I passed by the dock almost every night on my way home, and I usually had the company of many friends. We'd watch the barracuda floating near the surface like terrible, toothy submarines, and wait for a spotted eagle ray to swim by with its wing tips sticking out of the ocean to touch the cool night air, just like a child dabbling his toes in the water. Sometimes we'd jump in, scaring away all the 'cuda, to revel in the bioluminescence we kicked up, and the massive star-swept black sky above.

7. Then home to bed, exhausted and ready to sleep and get ready for another day.

Of course there was more than that. All the little interactions with friends, the pace of island life (slow), the games of cards on the deck of Casa Iguana,the sounds of reggae and country music pounding out of peoples' houses, saying hi to everyone I passed on the path (there are no motorized vehicles on the island, how cool is that?), the smells of salt and fish and smoke and muggy human reek and freshly washed children, the founding of the Little Corn Disc Conspiracy (LCDC!), the bonfires and the slack-lining, the all-too-frequent goodbyes, the tremendous storms where the rain came down like drowning and lightning cracked down to touch the ocean just off shore, the Crab Soup Festival, the snorkeling adventures in Tarpon Channel, the gossip and the rumors of a small community, Dysfunctional Family Sunday dinners...sigh. I can't believe I left.

But I did. It was time to continue my original journey. A few weeks ago, after having lost heart in my own adventure for awhile, I looked at the map of Costa Rica and Panama, and my desire to finish the drive to Panama was rekindled. But I couldn't have it both ways. In order to drive to Panama, I had to leave the island.

Fortunately for me, I ate triggerfish twice. According to local lore, if you eat triggerfish (the locals call it "oldwife" because the skin is so tough), you can never leave the island for good; you always have to return. And there's no doubt in my mind that I will. 

In the meantime, I have something else to look forward to: a ride through Costa Rica and Panama with other motorcyclists. That's right, I've found other riders to tear it up with. But that story, and more, will have to wait for the next time I write, because right now I'm off to explore some jungle canopy.

Until next time,




Somehow the updates get more and more interesting! Enjoy the rest of the ride!

  Paolo Sep 13, 2011 3:44 AM


:) Been thinking about you lots and daydreaming about your adventures. Thanks for the update!

  Bobbie Sep 14, 2011 6:29 AM

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