Sunday, January 06, 2008

The strange world of the corn islands

The corn islands are about 70 miles (I think?) off the east coast of Nicaragua. But how different. I flew in an 18 seat plane which was actually not bad at all, and I found big corn island to be one of the most bizarre places ever. Tin shacks and people speak a language all their own here. A mix of english, spanish and mumble jumble of all kinds of strange slangy sayings just from being so isolated from land. I found a hotel from LP, didn't like it, found another and just decided to stay for one night. The natives supposedly speak english, but I found that I understand them much better when we just use simple spanish. This guy above, a typical islander, sold me a coke and of course I could barely understand him! He was really charming and funny though. Another thing about this island. They Loooooove country music. yep! Everywhere you go, you hear some twangy heartbreaking song about losin' a woman or being kicked out one's house. There is also a lot of garbage laying around, which bothers me. Big corn could be so much better if people took pride in their surroundings. The roads (well, there are like 3) are also the most pothole-y roads ever, and it had just rained, so the island was a muddy mess. I laid in my hammock, had some caribbean curry lobster stew with rice, (it had corn in it so I can be satisfied to know that I had some corn on the corn islands) and chatted with some Americans and Dutch people in the restaurant, sat through a little power outage, then it was time for bed. Food is still not going down as smooth as I'd like, but I am getting much better.
This morning I had breakfast while watching a sad monkey named Irma tied to a tree, then went down to the dock for the boat to Little corn. I've heard amazing things about Little corn and I was eager to get there. The boat was one of the most fun and terrifying experiences of my life!! There were maybe 20 of us crammed in there, in this wooden boat, going up swells that must have been 7 or 8 feet, maybe more. It was exactly like being on a roller coaster for a half hour. the boat would go up, everyone would scream, you'd be airborne for a second or two, and the bright blue sea was just at your side. I wanted to take photos so bad, but I could barely hold on. The whole time I was thinking, are you kidding me?? This was two hours ago and I am still recovering. I was laughing and squealing the entire time. I was holding on so tight there was no time to stop and be scared, we all really got our 4 dollars worth. The canadian guy next to me said that little corn is special because it's so hard to get to. I said, yeah, it probably weeds out the riff raff.
Little corn is paradise. In a wet, rainforesty type of way. No cars, no garbage. I'm not sure how much swimming I will do today, there are little bursts of tropical rain but it's really beautiful. Little corn takes about an hour (I think) to walk around, and I am staying on the far side in a place called casa Iguana. It's run by some people from Chicago, who I have not yet met. I looked at a few different types of accomodation and unfortunately fell in LOVE with the most expensive type of bungalow. I wish she hadn't even shown it to me. I kept asking the girl who showed me around about spiders. So, you ever get tarantuals in these huts? Do people ever wake up with a tarantula on them? I'm from the city where there are no spiders. What about wolf spiders? Which huts have the least amount of tarantulas near them?? She confided that the two orange huts were the most spider infested, so I stayed clear of those. I have an outdoor shower and she made sure that I understood that there is ALWAYS a chance of seeing a tarantula in or near the huts, but that they sold alcohol as well so as to better deal with the spiders. The chef at the iguana went to the CIA, and people on big corn told me that "he knows his sauces". The girl who showed me around was happy to hear that I was such a foodie, because the chef is her husband. We all eat dinner together in the main hut like at the Iguana Perdida, so I will learn more about spiders and the people at the Iguana later.. Wow, two places with Iguana in the name. But this is no room of straw. It's way, way nicer!
above, path to my hut, view from my porch, coca cola guy on big corn.


Liz said...

Wow, I am either losing too many brain cells not working, or it's beem too long since we've talked b/c it took me a while to get a little bit to get two of your statements/ said you heard of some accomodations from LP. I was sitting here thinking how in the world did Latonia help you pick out a place to stay?
Then, your chef being from the CIA? I imagined some retired due from the Central Intelligance Agency down there cooking now. I get it though....Again, I'm a little slow.
It was downright balmy here today...almost 60! It was nice to be able to go for a walk and not be freezing!!
Have some corn for me!

trisha said...

i think we should check out the iguana cafe (halsted/grand) when you get back :)

nice relaxing weekend in chicago - weather is finally warm enough to leave the apt. nothing too cray took place - we'll have to re-ring in 2008 when you're back in town!

ten cuidado chica!!

funchilde said...

the description of the boat ride was fantastic! so glad you're feeling better!

Kate C. said...

The islands sound A-Maizing! Had to get that in there again. I can't wait to see more pictures of Little Corn.

Be careful of the spiders!

Btw, do you have a back update? Do you still have the welts?

sara said...

Liz - LP is lonely planet, (at home means the fabulous mrs. partee.) CIA is the culinary institute of america. well, you know but in case anyone else doesn´t..

sara said...

Oh, and the horrible red boils on my back are fading