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Home sweet home!

Parade at our front door.

Okay, so the water and power situation is now at least consistent. We get both power and water all weekend. There is no water every weekday between the hours of ~8AM and ~3PM, and there is three hours per day of no power, running on weekly schedules. All very respectable really.

Attractive butterfly

After we returned from Costa Rica we took an exciting shopping expedition to Managua, which I mention only because there were bagels and on our return in the microbus (which we were later told were nicknamed “micro muertes” or micro-deaths which is comforting) we lost some large, clunky, metallic thing from the bus as we were sailing down the highway. It looked somewhat... axle shaped. Luckily after the thumping, the bus came to a halt sedately on the correct side of the road as opposed to the ditch or the oncoming traffic and the axle shaped piece of machinery sailed off backwards down the road. We all thanked our blessings and caught the next chicken bus back to Granada, which didn’t involve chickens but did involve a complete lack of space. Haven’t been to Managua since, bagels or no bagels!

Somewhat Bird of Paradise-esque but not

Thursday was something along the lines of Independence Day here - not from the Spanish, which is in September, but from the previous governing forces of dictatorship and whatnot. So there were lots of men in cammo, FSLN flags in the street, parades, and fireworks. It was all very exciting, and we particularly enjoyed seeing Nicaragua’s President Ortega on TV a couple of nights later with Hugo Chavez (President of Venezuala and general despiser of American Imperialism), Ortega holding a toddler we assumed to be a relative of his wearing a very sweet little FSLN flag on her head.

Yet another attractive flower

On Sunday, we decided to be a little adventurous and head to the base of Mombacho to the Orquideario and Mariposario to see the butterflies and orchids. We caught a taxi with a very nice driver who for the equivalent of fifteen dollars took us on the twenty minute drive, waited for an hour, and then took us home again. We struck this deal because there was some kind of festival happening around the Pueblos Blancos (white towns), the buses were jam packed and there were whole families trudging up the roads due to lack of bus space.


The entry to the orquideario and mariposario (orchid and butterfly nurseries) was a massive fifty cents for adults and twenty five cents for children. There was a little path up to a big greenhouse type structure but with mesh instead of glass. There was a section inside the structure that had more mesh, and that contained the butterflies. Surrounding them was the orchids. Orchids are extremely strange plants. As Dave says, if anything was to convince him of the existence of aliens it would be orchids and mushrooms because they are just plain strange. Which means that a place full of orchids, some of which are unique to the volcano, is a pretty fun place to be.

Okay, these are the transparent butterflies. The camera wasn’t that steady, but you can actually see THROUGH them; they are sort of purple with black edges (the flash and bad macro focus don't do them justice). Weird.

After we had peered at all the orchids in amazement we went into the inner sanctum of the butterflies, which was fabulous. There is nothing quite like standing in amongst a whole load of brightly coloured flowers and orchids while dozens of brightly coloured butterflies sail unconcernedly around you. There was a little path around the mariposario, which provided the opportunity to see different kinds of butterflies and plants in different areas. There were a whole load of the transparent butterflies which are mesmerising, and there was a glorious black butterfly whose wings were covered in tiny white circles and triangles hanging out on a piece of pineapple. In this case, I think the pictures speak louder than words. After an hour of butterflies and orchids we went back to our obliging taxi driver and headed home.

Way to be strange. These are just one of the oddest flowers I have ever seen...

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