November 24th, 2005: Granada, Nicaragua
Today I got to play Tarzan on a canopy tour. We took our bikes halfway up the volcano Mombochu to the national park entrance, and from there we took a rickety truck further up the mountain to the canopy tour base station. After you pay your fee they get you all geared up in the harness, which turned out to be quite the invasive procedure. Two of the guides work on you, doing up buckles and snaps all over the place!! Then they give you your "brakes" which are actually a pair of work gloves with a big pad of leather crazy-glued over the gripping area, and a dorky helmet which wouldn´t protect you from a stale marshmallow flying at your head let alone a crash into the middle of a rainforest. Then the fun begins. You start off climbing up to an extremely rickety platform that they build around the top of a tree. From there, they give you a 5 second lesson...in Spanish...of how to do the jump. They buckle you up to the cable wait until you muster up enough courage to take your feet off the ground, and then "wooooooooosh!!!!!" you zip along a cable until the next platform. I was a little light on the "brakes" so I built up quite a bit of momentum before the tour guide had to catch me at the end. Then the real fun begins! They do the "Superman" twist on the regular jump. You´re strapped on the cable by your back, face down, with the tour guide behind you wheelbarrow race style. It is great because you get to see more of the forest, but it is also very scary since you aren´t able to hold on to anything, and your guide is fully in charge of your braking. You better hope your guide isn´t hungover the day it´s your turn to plummet headfirst into a tree! After that it was the upside-down jump. This was probably the most "interesting" of the jumps solely for the reason that in the picture it ended up looking more like a lesson in Kama Sutra than an innocent rainforest tour. Overall we were taken on 17 different jumps through the forest. It was an exhilirating experience and I´d definitely suggest it to anyone that is up for a little adventure. After the tour was over we stopped at the mariposa (butterfly) emporium. It was very small, but the butterflies were just beautiful and I couldn´t resist taking a few pictures. I have decided that I must visit the butterfly conservatory in Niagara Falls when I return....who´s in? The rest of the pictures from today´s posting are of the "old hospital" in Granada. It is a truly remarkable building which has such great potential (minus the trees growing out the side of it, of course). Apparently there are plans to restore it and make it into a hotel underway, so it would be interesting to see, down the road, if that takes shape.