September 29, 2015: Touring Granada

This morning I was up early and got in about an hour of writing before I had to have a conference call that was supposed to be about half an hour and ended up being more like two hours.  So it was a busy morning.

An hour into the call, so probably around ten thirty, the power went out.  It is our second day here and suddenly the power is out already.  Not a good start to things.  I had to switch from WiFi calling to the cell network and use my battery to do the last hour of the call, which ran me down a bit.

After the call the house was getting pretty hot as there is no AC left in the bedrooms and no ceiling fans anywhere in the house.  It gets warm fast.

We gave it a little less than an hour and figured that the power was not going to be on anytime soon so we rounded up the kids from the pool where they were keeping themselves cool and we went out for the family’s first walk in the city.  Dominica and the girls have not seen anything outside of the house yet, this is their first foray into the city.

We stepped out of the front door and there was a police line tied, quite literally, to our front door and running across the street.  We looked to the west and clearly we were inside the line, not outside of it, as the street right next to us was covered in the power lines that had come down!  No wonder the power was out.  It was going to be out for a long time.  No need to wait around for it.  We are down for the day.

We walked southeast down to Calle Arsenal and past the Parque Centro to Kelley’s Waffle House which we had found on Google Maps, of all things.  On the way there we found an amazing art gallery with tons of stuff that we just loved.  We plan to go back there soon.  There were several pieces from three different artists that we are really interested in.  It was a nice stop on our walk.

Lunch at Kelley’s was really good.  Liesl got a waffle.  Luciana got pancakes.  Dominica got pancakes and scrambled eggs.  I got huevos rancheros with gallo pinto, the national food of Nicaragua, which was very good (it is a form of rice and beans.)  Liesl ate half of her waffle.  Luciana ended up finishing it for her.  We all enjoyed our food very much.  This was our first restaurant in Nicaragua.

From Kelley’s we walked to the Parque Centro and around it a little bit.  Many of the famous pictures that I have seen of Granada are taken right here in the park.  I recognized nearly everything.

We were thinking about taking a horse drawn carriage tour of the city and right as we were starting to think about it a guy came up offering us a tour for $45 (all tourist stuff is done in American money which, as we have already moved over to Cordobas, is rather annoying) for the four of us for two hours.  We had time and we felt that this would actually be pretty awesome – getting a big, grand overview of our city right now at the beginning of our time here so that we would know more of what there is, where things are and how to explore before we have been here for a while trying to figure it out on our own.

The girls thought that a horse drawn carriage ride sounded pretty good.  So we climbed on up and began our tour.  What a great way to spend the day, it was hot, of course, but being in the open air with the movement made it not so bad.  We were covered so not a lot of direct sunlight hitting us more of the time.  The girls rode facing backwards and Dominica and I sat in the back facing forward.  For a while Luciana went up front with the driver and the tour guide and rode between them which was adorable.  They even offered her the reins to let her drive the horse but she was too timid to try that.  She later said “I don’t even know how to steer a horse!”

The tour started by going nearly right by our house and up to the street with the grocery store that I was on last night and past that to the Poet’s Park which, we discovered, has an awesome playground in it that we hope to bring the girls to tomorrow.

We got to see a lot of the city and had a really nice time.  Since we got the big tour it also took us out east to the lake and down south on the road running along the lake.  It was cooler by the lake and very nice.  There is a park that runs along the lake that has one of the biggest playground complexes that we have ever seen.  Liesl could not stop talking about how the playground just kept going and going.

We went to the marina where they give forty five minute tours of the lake by boat. There is a group of islands, 365 of them specifically, out in the lake.  They are tiny but many have houses on them.  The tour goes to about 65 of them.  Luciana really wanted to do the boat ride but Liesl did not.  Dominica and I both wanted to so our votes won.  Liesl wasn’t so happy.

The boat ride was really neat and interesting.  The same guide came along and we just had someone driving the boat.  The ride went out through the islands and we got to see indigenous people fishing out in the lake which was interesting and some amazing homes built on the tiny islands (think New York’s Thousand Islands here) and we went out to Isla Pirata to the Restaurant Pirata (Pirate Restaurant) where we got drinks and Liesl ordered a bowl of fish soup which was excellent (and had an entire fish in it, head and all!)

It ended up being a very enjoyable day.  We had a great time as a family.  This was the ultimate use of a day without power.

After the boat tour we had no carriage as the horse was not feeling well so a car took us back to the Central Park.  We paid our guide and walked to the bank and loaded up on cash so that we could do spontaneous things like this more easily again and we hit the little market that I went to yesterday morning and we got several bags of groceries and even a really interesting comic book about Nicaragua that seemed like an amazing score.  Then we walked back to the house.

When we arrived home, it was about four thirty, the power was back on!  We were very excited about this.  I got right to writing and did that for several hours.  Thankfully we were eventually able to turn the AC back on!  It was very hot today.

The girls swam again and later on they both spent some time playing Minecraft.  I’ve gotten my older HP laptop, the little ultrabook, set up with Minecraft now so Liesl can play on a laptop nearly any time.

Around eight we all migrated to the bedrooms as it was too hot to be in the house.  Dominica and I watched The Nanny for a while before she went to bed around eleven thirty and I stayed up till around one getting caught up on some writing, including today’s SGL post.