This morning we woke up and laid there. Everything hurt. Literally everything. I´m pretty sure my hair hurt. After rolling ourselves out of bed we made a to do list: 1. find aloe vera for my sunburn (it was bad), 2. find breakfast, 3. find out where and when to catch our bus to Merida, 4. pack and get on a bus. We failed at number one. The only pharmacy open on Saturdays didn´t have any aloe vera, ugh! Breakfast was next, this we were successful with and an even greater feat was the fact that I kept it down. We wandered the central park of Altagracia for a few minutes and then headed back to the hotel to pack up and find out about buses.
We caught the bus from Altagracia to Merida from the central park. It was an old school bus, as most of the public transit down here is (retired buses from the US and Canada). They are put to work here! The bus started out on cobblestone, but quickly the road turned to rock and dirt and we were bumping here there and everywhere. I took a bit of video from inside the bus – there were poitns we were sure it would tip over. Even better, the driver looked to be about 17 years old, and his helper was probably about 13. The trip took about 2 hours – as the crow flies it probably should have taken half an hour to go that distance but the road conditions make the trip way longer.
We arrived in Merida and walked to our hotel. The hotel is “Hacienda Merida”, and Ryan wants everyone to know that it´s like a resort! He had outdone himself on this one – and I think this was the official anniversary. Our room was one of two rooms on the upper floor looking out onto the lake, with our own private king sized hammock on the patio. The room was beautiful, the bathroom was great, the shower was huge, and you could hear the lapping waves from everywhere as well as the chirping of geckos.
Our afternoon was spent lazing. It was the most wonderful day. We laid in the hammock for a bit, then wandered down for some lunch at the restaurant, then laid in the hammock and read a bit, then wandered a bit around the hotel grounds. Awesome. The hotel was, at one point, one of many vacation homes owned by the Somoza family prior to the contra war…most of Nicaragua sees the Somoza´s as bad corrupt politicians (the hotels perspective was a bit different…perhaps a bit biased?). After the Somoza´s fell out of power most of their land holdings went to the government, and much of it has been redistributed to cooperatives, including our hotel. The hotel was government funded at the outset and it´s income goes toward supporting the community. Anyway, they have done an incredible job and we wish we could have stayed longer.
That night we ended up skipping dinner, still full from lunch. We had gone down to check out the buffet though and while down there met a tour guide offering a decent price for a kayak trip in the morning. He wore a T shirt that says he´s part of the guide cooperative (collectivo) – now we know. We booked it and headed to bed.