Thursday, May 6, 2010

Birthday in the Isletas

I cannot believe that my son is seventeen. He had to take the SAT in Managua on Saturday so his birthday on Sunday was meant to be a day of relaxation and recovery. Thelma invited us to go with them to her uncle’s isletas. The isletas are a group of many tiny islands in Lake Colcibolca near Granada. They were spewed out by the Mombacho Volcano sometime in the distant past.

Now they are the playground of the prominent families of Nicaragua who maintain houses there among the very close -knit families of the isletas. In their natural state, the isletas look like small piles of rock and grass sticking out of the water. Some have elaborate houses on them and some of them have shacks with pigs and chickens, something cooking on the wood fire stove and lots of little kids jumping in the water. Each tiny island has a name and someone who grew up there knows the name of hundreds of different islands.Transport is by boat.

We met the lancha to take us to the island at Marina Colcibolca. As usual, we were travelling lightly with only beach towels to sit on, pasta salad to eat and water to drink, all carried in a market basket. And as usual, the Ginsbergs brought a cooler on wheels full of a variety of delicious lunch food, ice, soft drinks, rum, hammocks to lounge in and folding chairs to sit on. Loaded up and off we went.

This was the last day of Ellen’s visit and I was glad to have the opportunity to get out on the water. Mombacho was beautiful in the distance. Everything is green again. When we pulled up to the dock at the isleta, the wizened caretaker came to help us unload. He had wild curly hair, a cadaverous face, lots of gold teeth and pronounced limp. He is nicknamed the pirate and spends his life living on a less than 200 square meter island covered in mangoes.

The island had a commodious palapa with a picnic table where the pirate set up the hammocks. There was an empty swimming pool that is pumped full of lake water only when Thelma’s aunt from Canada visits. We spent the day in the hammocks, in the water, eating ripe mangoes eating green mangoes and drinking rum. The lancha came back around 5 to take us back to land. By that time, the boys had become restless and reverted back to their much younger selves. The were pelting the mangoes with stones to bring them down and finally running around the island.

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