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Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Ready, Set, Volcano! Granada, Nicaragua, Sunday, 29 December 2013 6:00am

I'm off again! I'll be spending a week in Nicaragua, then meeting up with Gina and friends in Costa Rica for a diving trip, and then Adrienne will join me for another week and a half in Costa Rica.

This was an early morning. Adrienne was kind enough to get up before 5 AM and drop me off at the airport. I've gotten spoiled by my TSA PreCheck status getting me to my departure gate in five minutes. I almost tried to walk through the security line with my second bag (which has my scuba fins... and a pair of scissors). Luckily, I realized in time and went back to the desk to check the bag. I slept through my flight to Houston, and half of my flight to Managua (which was pretty short), and arrived without incident, though still a bit groggy.

Anticipating my tiredness, I had splurged and arranged for transport from the airport to my hotel in Granada in advance. I spent the car ride chatting with the driver in Spanish. I'm pleased to find that the Spanish here is relatively slow and comprehensible. In fact, a lot of things here seem to be slow and comprehensible. The traffic on the highway, for example. Most of the places I've travelled, these speeds would have provoked lots of honking and abrupt lane changes, but things seem pretty relaxed here.

After checking in at my hotel, I talked to the woman at the desk for a bit about things to do in the area. She actually recommended that I go talk to a tour agency, rather than trying to sell me the tours (and getting a commission, presumably). So I did, and I ended up joining a number of other groups for an evening tour of Volcano Masaya.

The volcano is active, and was puffing out big clouds of slightly sulfurous steam. We walked around the cinder cones for a while, seeing various craters from different periods of the volcano's activity (including the huge crater that surrounds the entire area).

Afterwards we walked into some lava tube caves which were populated by bats. We had a bunch of them buzzing past us as we went, and got to look into one chamber that was swirling with them. It was interesting to see some caves formed through different geological processes. I think that all of the caves I've visited previously have been primarily eroded out by water. These had some kinds of formations that I haven't seen before, but they're old enough and damp enough to have some of the familiar water-based formations as well.

We didn't get to see the glow of lava from the bottom of the active crater, as I'd hoped (the nearest viewpoint was closed because of rain and high winds, and I hear that it's been a few years since there's been actual exposed lava to see), but it was still a very successful trip.

I ended up eating dinner with the other people from the tour and swapping travel stories.

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