Before we move on down the road, we’ll share a good news story we learned about in Santo Domingo.
In 1993, two wonderful German folks Monika and Michael Hohn visited Ometepe for the first time. The Hohn’s were shocked at what they found. Their story is one of philanthropy – in a very big way. Over the next 15 years, they contributed $1,800,000.00 to various programs that brought healthcare and education to communities all over the island. General medicine, physiotherapy and gynecology were just some of the services that became available. Eyeglasses were distributed, wheelchairs made available, and kids went to school. Evidence of their work can be seen everywhere. The picture below shows the clinic in Santo Domingo.
Not Good Neighbours
Here’s another interesting photo from Santo Domingo. It lists all the people who defaulted on loans given to them via programs targeting development of the region. Morosos = defaulters.
In between rain storms, we left Santo Domingo for our hostel in Balgue. A few days prior, we were kindly informed by our hosts that Sundays are not good days to be taking the bus on Ometepe. Only one bus a day runs to Balgue on Sundays and it’s late in the afternoon. Denis at the Urraca Loca Hostel offered to find us a ride. The best deal was taking a “moto” taxi. We jumped at the inexpensive estimate, not really knowing what a mototaxi was. We thought it might be one of those Tuk Tuk’s. That would be cool. Then we saw them… Two young guys showed up on their motorcycles with spare helmets. “Must be for us”, we said. You bet.
The ride to Balgue was great. There are many Grande Topes (speed bumps) to cross and we got used to the rodeo quickly. My bike was missing a footrest on the left side so to compensate I had a death grip on my rider’s trapezius. As we zoomed along, we noticed the change in the flora and fauna. Within 7 kilometers everything became far more lush and… populated con animales. Howler monkeys called down from the trees on the roadside and pigs ran in front of the moto. Lots of dogs too, all well behaved.
After making a right turn on a rocky side road and a left turn on a track shared with horses and other motorcycles, we arrived at our home for the next 3 days – Hostal Urraca Loca.
Just as we expected, the hostal was the host’s house accompanied by little outbuildings for us touristas. It was just incredible to be sitting under cover watching the warm rains come and go surrounded by lush gardens and the small fincas (farms) nearby.
The Rain Comes
We spent part of the day walking the main road in Balgue. The skies were still stormy and at one point we ducked under cover at a roadside stand while the torrents passed by. Like the west coast of BC, it doesn’t get so green and lush without some rain!
Evening dinner time rolled around and led us to a favorite local eatery called Café Campestre. It’s notoriously slow when busy but we managed to sneak in before the crowds appeared. Being Sunday, it was a special evening when they fired up the wood BBQ and offered many luscious items from the grill.
We felt very fortunate to be in such “exotic” surroundings enjoying the freshest green salad and grilled meats from the region. Wow.
After a restful night in our private room with a deluxe mosquito net, we awoke to a fresh morning with sunshine making its way past the fast moving cloud cover.
We were spoiled with a very tasty breakfast served by our hostel hosts and then we decided to just enjoy the day soaking up the vibe from this little oasis in el bosque. It is a workday here too… which really feels like home… work is ongoing to build a new guesthouse and shower. Good to see.