Ometepe Island and Apoyo Lagoon.

After the fun of Granada I was looking forward to going to Ometepe. Ometepe is a very small island made up of two volcanos, Conception volcano – which is active in the north, and in the south Maderas Volcano, which is where we were staying.

We got a bus (once we found the correct bus terminal) to the dock and met a Brazilian guy on the way, who thankfully could speak spanish and managed to stop us getting scammed for double the price than needed. The boat trip was actually rather enjoyable, it took a while to cross and we were one of the last people on it so had nowhere to sit and were squished down in the hull. It was an old ferry type and the noise (from the at least 50-year-old engine) was deafening and black smoke billowed up from in-between the wooden floorboards every five minutes or so. I went and stood outside, which most of the locals seemed rather alarmed at because as soon as they had got onboard they had all adorned life jackets.


While stood out there, watching the island come closer I met a Costa Rican girl called Sol and got chatting to her. Coincidentally Jake was talking to her boyfriend Will, inside. They hadn’t sorted a place to stay so we suggested our place, we were staying at a hostel called Monkey island and it was only $4 a night for room and breakfast.  We got on really well so they joined us.

On the island we said goodbye to the brazilian guy who was staying in the north, and got on the last chicken bus – of only five trips the bus makes round the whole island. The bus was full when we got on, so they squidged us into the space at the back made to fit about 10 people and all our rucksacks and bikes and boxes, rather uncomfortably but manageable, they then fit 15 more people into that space, then breaking all laws of physics and personal space they fit 20 more people in! It was horrible, extremely stressful and cramped. I was literally nose to nose with about 30 people, our exit was the path of least resistance so anyone getting out had to come through, over, or under all of us. Then get on the same way, but by then it had started to pour with rain so they got on soaking wet. There were no real roads either, so we were bouncing and jerking around all over the place. By the end I was so stressed I was catatonic. After the two-hour journey then half mile walk with our rucksacks in the pitch dark to find our little hostel I couldn’t even speak

Once there however I managed to settle down. It was all open plan and  very basic. They cooked us dinner which was delicious and only about $2.50. we looked in our room which was very basic, and decided to break the budget (haha) and spend an extra $2 a night and upgrade to a nicer bigger room with private bathroom which was extremely worth it. Walked into that room and was met with a huge, thankfully not poisonous tarantula on our doorstep blocking the way, now im not scared of spiders but that thing did make me jump. Thankfully it decided it didn’t want to stay the night… it was a cold fresh water shower too, heaven after the heat of the day.


Our first day all four of us went to climb San Maderas volcano, part way up to San roman waterfall. It was a 3km walk (it said) once you got there up to the waterfall, but that was the issue, it was all up and some of it really steep. We had to stop a lot because of the heat and trek and Jake wasnt feeling to well. We managed to get up to the last km – and that last km seemed to be triple the amount we had walked before. It was through the jungle so not a real path, jumping over logs, and wading through rivers, it was amazing scenery and lovely to listen to the birds but it was very hard work.


Once we got to the waterfall it was worth it, well I thought it was. About 260ft high and a little pool at the bottom to swim in which was extremely refreshing after the walk an absolutely freezing after about 30 seconds so the others didn’t stay in very long.


We were just getting dry and putting clothes back on when the heavens opened all of a sudden and it poured and poured, so strong that you could barely see 3ft in front of you. There was no point jumping over rocks to avoid getting our feet wet now. The path turned into a mudslide and we basically slipped all the way back. It was fun though. English people cope remarkable well in the rain.


On the next day we found the hotel was run by a family and there was a little girl here who showed me her bunny rabbits and some of the words she was learning in english, – I am Happy, I am sad, I am angry, I am sleepy. She loved it, doing cartwheels all over the place and chasing after rouge rabbits. She was at the age where she didn’t really get the gist of being gentle with the bunnies, but you could tell she loved them and were well cared for. I am scared of rabbits as a rule, (think I must have watched Watership Down too young) but these I could cope with.


We hired a canoe from the hostel and went canoeing out on the lake. It was very hard work, as no matter which way we went it felt as if we were fighting against the tide. There were some little islands we rowed to and we got out to have a look, and sure enough there were monkeys on them, hence the name monkey island, but there monkeys, unlike Costa Rica were not friendly at all. They came down screeching, shaking branches and swiping at us, very territorial, baring their teeth. We scampered as quickly as possible, a Capuchin monkey can bite off a human finger in one go and I would like to keep all mine.

After canoeing we swam in the lake. Its much cleaner near Ometepe than by Granada so was nice to do. We then face another animal attack of ants this time. All around our cabin. It was full of them, they were attracted by water in the sink and smell of the kitchen. Never seen so many in my life. Thankfully they didn’t make it too our room.


Our third day we met two girls from Luxembourg at the hostel who were travelling Nicaragua. Sarah and Philippine. We chatted to them a bit then out for lunch with Will and Sol. Everyone on Omepete knows everyone, I think the cafe we went to was ran by the hostel workers brother, and the little shop down the road by his wife’s cousin. Life feels very simple and pure and organic. Not easy mind, but nice. That evening we sat at the pier and watched the sunset before the rain came in.


We said goodbye to Sol and Will as they were leaving tomorrow, same as us but catching the 5am bus, we were lazy and caught the 8am one.
So the next day we got the bus back to the main pier, which was a lot less stressful than before, and got the boat to the mainland with Philippine and Sarah.

This time he boat trip was not fun. Right from the start it was listing to the side quiet dramatically and was a lot smaller and more fragile than the last boat. The wind blew strong too and it became the worst boat trip of my life. Both me and Jake genuinely thought it was going to capsize. It tilted over so far over at one point I could have sworn it couldn’t right itself, and Jake had an evacuation route planned. Our bags were on top too and didn’t know if they had been tied down so were afraid of losing them too. It was not pleasant, especially as there is bull sharks in the lake too. I could see now why all the locals put on life jackets as soon as they got on board.

we made it to the other side, kissed dry land and got another bus to the Apoyo Lagoon.


We said goodbye to the girls who were going to Managua and found our hotel which was right on the water of the lagoon. We had a little four-poster bed, tent thing as our room, out in the open air looking down onto the water. Basic but lovely. (The orange thing on the right side)

We got up early the next day, thanks to sleeping outside and the monkeys and cockerel, and went for a fresh morning swim. The place didn’t have many rooms, it mostly issues day passes, so we had the whole lagoon to ourselves for a bit which was magical. We used the hotels kayak and paddle boards and went around the edge of the lagoon (not all as its huge) and jumped off the floating platforms they had in the middle.


After lunch we went out on the canoes again, messing around and playing tag. Jake caught up to me and tried to board my canoe. He knocked me into the water and flipped my canoe over, while trying to right it, it fell again, but this time on my head. It hit hard and knocked me under the water, Jake had to pull me up and check I was okay as I was so dazed I just stayed half unconscious underwater. I couldn’t move or see straight or was able to get back on my canoe for  a while.

​(I don’t normally sound like that)

After that we decided we have enough time in the water and decided to slowly go in. I went for a lie down as I felt absolutely awful and inevitably it made me feel worse. Looking at my symptoms Jake realise I probably had quite bad concussion so got the taxi to the nearest hospital. I don’t actually remember any of this, apparently I wasn’t walking right, had a huge lump on my head, was forgetful and slurred my speech. I do remember that it was very difficult to communicate with a nurse in Spanish even with my translation app. They concluded that I’d hit my head and had a fever… great. They suggested to me all these pills for fever and ignored the concussion, so in the end me and Jake just went back to the hotel and waited until I felt better.

The next morning we left Apoyo and headed to Leon in the north of Nicaragua. Despite the bump, I really enjoyed Omepete and the lagoon.

Managua and Granada – Nicaragua 

It was the first time I had to do a land border bus crossing, and I did not enjoy it. We eventually managed to convince the reception lady to call and ask which bus stop we needed, as there is quite a lot in San Jose.

The border crossing was much more expensive than we had anticipated. We had to pay $8 each exit tax and then $14 each entry tax into Nicaragua on top of the bus fare we had already paid. The journey was okay at first, they didn’t blast the air-con like they did for Jake, but played movies very loud, well very loud for me, I find sense sensitivity is something that affects me a lot with my Aspergers. It took seven hours to reach the border and we didn’t stop once, we were so hungry and dying of thirst when we got there. I found the border crossing very stressful. It was at night, we had had a long day, everyone had extremely large guns, asking us questions in Spanish and I didn’t really understand what was going on. I did panic quite a bit, which doesn’t look good at border control.


Once on the other side, in Nicaragua, we saw a lady selling Pringle’s, they looked heavenly to us, and without really knowing the exchange rate we gave her a 100 Cordoba note and hoped that was enough (worked out about three dollars.)

Once at Managua we couldn’t find a way out of the bus station, then the taxi driver didn’t know where we were going so took a while to get there and eventually arrived around 10 PM. The woman at the guest house we were staying at was really nice it took us out to get something to eat, she did our ordering for us as our sleep-deprived Spanish was awful.

*********************************************************

We only spend one full day in Managua as there is literally nothing to do. We walked down the main street filled with lots of light up trees called revolution Avenue; we went to the pier and looked out over the sea which was filthy, rubbish everywhere, it looks like the sewage pipe went straight into the water which was a very stark difference from Costa Rica. We went to the Main Square near the park, presidential Palace and cathedral and that’s about it, we did everything there is to do in Managua. The little bar made out of someone’s home next to ours was the best part of the day.

The next day we set off for Granada, a little village town by the side of lake Nicaragua. We stayed in a place called – surfing donkey on the lake. Only about 1 km from the Main Square so very central to everything which was good. The place was nice too, very social, with a pool and Hammock chairs. There is a 24 bed dorm which is completely open, and looks out over the lake, no windows or anything – at least it’s hot here. We found that hammock chairs are the most comfy things ever, if we had enough room in our rucksacks I would definitely be taking one home.

At the surfing donkey there was something new each night, Sunday night was barbecue night, so sat down with people from all over the world and chatted the night away. American, Russian, Israeli, German, Spanish. It was great, we even got garlic bread too … it was just heaven. The drinks where very strong. The rum and cokes had 75 mil shots in them, which means I was drunk after two.

**********************************************************

The second day we attempted to climb one of the church towers but it wasn’t open, we did see a lot more of the town though and managed to book a few tours. We didn’t stay out long, soon the heavens opened and Jake was not best pleased about getting soaked to the skin again.


Around Granada there is a lot of horse and carts, it’s a symbol of Granada. Unfortunately they all seem very thin and weak, most have sores on the back so will not be going for a ride. We got a better look at the lake too, it’s filthy, you can see why they advise you not to swim, every so often along the shore there are big piles of rubbish that get swept up every day. Apart from that Granada is actually lovely and beautiful to look at.

Day three we had a very long lying and then a healthy early lunch at this healthy food place, I got an avocado and tuna sandwich with Chia seeds and turmeric smoothie drink which was really nice, turmeric is really popular here. We went to the main cathedral and had a look in and climbed up the bell tower to see over the most Granada, Jake even came up the last bit despite his hatred of heights. They were painting the ceiling with bible stories, but the pictures were very bubble-like, more cartoonish like a children’s book then what you usually see in a church, it didn’t really fit at all.


That night we had a tour to Massaya volcano, we got picked up and drove to the entrance, then had to queue for about an hour. Our guide said there were 28 visible volcanoes in Nicaragua and nearly 1000 unseen ones. There are only three volcanoes in the world where you can definitely see you lava every day, here the Congo and Hawaii.

When we got up to the top it had gone dark and you could see over the Massaya town, then we got the summit and look down to the crater and could see the lava bubbling below. It was so bright it made the smoke and the sky red. It was really beautiful, almost mesmerizing to watch. We didn’t have long enough in my opinion but so happy to have seen it.

The day after we had a walk along the lake going the other way, away from the town. The lake smells and is seriously contaminated, the huge piles of rubbish are piled up every 6 foot. We walked into the old-old bit of town, it looks like there was a lot of parties and clubs and nightlife, now it’s all abandoned like a creepy theme park, all except the Gardens and kids park was still maintained, that night I did yoga, you could easily tell who had done it before, I was not one of them. I was amazed to see how much flexibility I had lost since not going to the gym and pole classes. Afterwards I helped the Israeli girl get her very, very drunk unconscious boyfriend out of the toilets and into bed, he didn’t stay there long but at least we tried.

Thursday our guide came for us and took us back through the abandoned park to the little pier and we got a private tour just for us as it was low season. We went around all the little islands off the coast of Granada in Nicaragua lake, there is around 134 of them, most of the people who live there never leave, everyone moves with row boats, no running water, one bar with a TV. Most do have electricity, but Wi-Fi is a no go, and most make a living from fishing. Our guide took us to San Pablo Island, you could see back to Mainland Granada. There was a fort there that was built to protect Granada and we could see all the different animals that live in the lake,  such as bull sharks, turtles and alligator gar. He gave us lots of different fruits to try and flowers. There were lots of huge boulders dropped everywhere from when Massaya last exploded.


We got to try a lot more fruits and then went to another island with some very friendly monkeys and got to hand feed them. Saw lots of birds and sleeping bats and playing spider monkeys, it was a great trip, you also got free drinks which helped.

*********************************************************

That night there was a bar crawl that finished at the donkey so we didn’t sleep very much so had a very lazy day the next day. Jake got this awful sun hat which makes him look like a stereotypical American tourist, and I had a massage by the “seeing hands”. An organisation which gives blind people the opportunity to work.


That evening we went into the town of Massaya which we did not enjoy at all. Imagine an open sewer filled with mud and rubbish, people throw their waste into the middle of the street, dogs did their business and people spat everywhere all squashed into one small space. The people seemed quite hostile towards us too. We smiled and said hello, but did not get a single smile back. I was also very glad I wasn’t wearing sandals and exited fast, especially when we realise were being followed to be pickpocketed.

The last day we got up and finish packing, we had a game of giant Jenga before heading to the bus stop to get a bus down to the docks to get to Ompete Island which was our next stop. Really enjoyed Granada even though it felt like we didn’t do all that much. But I am on holiday, so I don’t need to.

Costa Rica Quest – pt 1

At this point I had been away from home 102 days, and wasn’t really missing it, although I was missing my mum terribly, thankfully for this part of the journey she was coming out meet us. Well she had kind of already booked this trip before we decided to leave, but hey I was going to see her.

I got the plane from Panama to Costa Rica which left around 9 AM, however Jake caught the Tica bus, which didn’t leave till 11:55 PM that night and took 14 hours, good luck to him.


I arrived in Costa Rica at 10 and mum wasnt due till 2 so I say and waited. I was waiting outside when all the lights went out and chaos erupted. No I know what’s happening, and everyone was urged to move back and nobody came through for four hours, when mum finally got outside about six she had managed to sneak out, about 1000 other people were still waiting inside. Apparently they had been circling for ages and there was nowhere for them to land, they were the last flight to be allowed in before all flights were diverted to Jamaica! We found our it was because all electricity has gone off all over Latin America, from Nicaragua down to Columbia possibly more.

I was happy just to finally see mum.

Finally at the hotel we met up with our tour group. ( Jake was still travelling,) he was staying in San Jose while me and mum did a tour around Costa Rica G adventures.

I had done tours before, one to Thailand and the other to Cuba which I both really enjoyed, what makes it special is the people you’re travelling with. I’m not just saying this because they might read it, this was generally the nicest group of people I had ever met.


There were 10 of us altogether. Me and mum, Zoe, Annemie, Kimberly, Julie, Chuck, Maureen, Max and our guide Annika.

We are from all over, Ireland, England, Belgium, America, Canada and Costa Rica. A real mixture but clicked instantly.

The first night we went to a Cuban restaurant that was covered in graffiti, it was a really cool place. I had a huge prawn filled pineapple thing covered in cheese, after eating super noodles and rice for the last month it was heavenly.

The next day we set off from San Jose to la Fortuna, it’s called that because it was built on the side of a mountain, that turned out to be Arenal Volcano.  When it blew, it completely missed the town so was named las Fortuna or the fortunate. On the way we stopped at waterfalls and a coffee plantation and saw how coffee was made, the whole process, from planting the seed to the finished product. I don’t even like coffee but it was alright, for the coffee drinkers it was stunning. I did like the Coffee liquor though. We got to plant seeds, and grind beans, as well as juice sugar cane. The juice was okay, but did not like chewing the actual cane, I had tried it before in Jamaica and still didn’t fancy it, despite having such a sweet tooth as I do.


We also saw sloths and toucans. We were lucky to see a very active slough e.g. it was awake, just happily chilling in the middle of a car park.

Our first day in Las Fortuna wait split up on the different activities. Mum, Chuck and Julie (the cutest couple ever) went on a boat told to see wildlife, Zoe and Kimberly did the more adventurous canyoneering and white-water rafting, while me Annemie, Max and Maureen did canyoneering and stand up paddle boarding.


Canyoneering was amazing. There were four abseils The last one was over 200 feet, and lots of little ones to scramble down. You could also cannonball into deep bits, and one section where you let the water buildup and then cascade over you so forcefully you have to cling on or else be swept away.


I loved paddle boarding to. Definitely hard at first giving it was my first time, and balance really isn’t my forte, but slowly got the just of it. Max was awesome in a way, no trouble there.


After a while I managed to do the one leg trick/balancing act and 270° of 360. The best bit was lining up the boards to run across them

That evening went to a spa/hotel with hot water springs with pools and slides. It had a swim up bar and little Jacuzzi pods, it was perfection, although in the end me and annemie had to get out and urge others to do so too as we were so hungry, at that point I almost enjoyed the buffet as much as the activities.

The next day was a travel day, we went from las Fortuna to Monte verde. We had a beautiful boat ride across Lake Arenal, under the Arenal volcano – which was where we did the paddle boarding the day before.


Once we reach Monte verde, half of us went to the herpetarium it was okay, but that is all. We did see frogs and snakes and turtles, but it was very small and overpriced for what it was.

That night went to a place called the treehouse. It’s built around a tree and is trip advisors is one of the top 10 bizarre restaurants around the world, it was really good to go to, very unique.

 

At first it was fine, then they started the live music and we were sat directly next to it. Usually that wouldn’t bother me, but they played excruciatingly loud. So loud you had to scream in the persons ear next to you in order to talk.

For most people this would probably be an annoyance or a little problem and would just enjoy the music. For me, having Autism, it was an overload of sound that became torturous, it felt like my head was going to explode, my skin felt too tightly and prickly, almost painful like pins and needles, I started to shake and feel like I couldn’t breathe, I suddenly burst into tears as it was just too much. My reaction was so extreme I felt like I was going to be sick and had to run to the bathroom, thankfully I wasn’t, but it shocks people – who don’t have an understanding or know much about autism how something can affect the person so strongly.

It was horrible and all I wanted to do was leave, run far away and never stop running. Thankfully mum talked to Annika and got us moved to the bottom floor where you could hear the music but it wasnt overwhelming. It took me all night to come down, but could cope. I told the rest of the group why, and I think it was the first time any of them realised I was autistic.

That is something most people don’t realise. That I’m different, my brain works very different me from the rest. I like this, I like being different. I like that most people don’t know, it means people don’t treat you differently. on the other hand – people don’t you differently, and expect you to be able to do everything that anyone else can, and seem very unforgiving when you can’t. For the most part anyway. Thankfully this group was awesome. I don’t tell people that often, as people don’t usually react all to positively, I’ve lost many friends just telling people. Here, with this group, I wasn’t really too worried.

Oh, – nearly forgot before the meal we had  a night walk through the jungle. It was good, we didn’t see any sloths or monkeys or armadillos or a kinkajou – which I would’ve loved to have seen, but we did see a funnel-web spider, tarantulas, bugs, hundreds of bat and a green striped who was absolutely beautiful.

 

I’ll finish my Costa Rica Quest next week.

Our time in Monte Verde, Salsa dancing and party boat.

Playa Corona… and the many things I did wrong. 

After Valle de Anton, we went back to the city for two days, not much really happened while there – however we did have a warm shower which was heaven. 


On the first full day there was a huge bang just outside our room and all electricity and everything went off in most of the city it seemed, and it was hot. No amount of ice cream could cool us down. We ended up lying on the floor, and hope that the stone would cool us. We did have a look round the old town, all we did there was melt and get some very expensive drinks. 

***********************************

We managed to get to Playa Corona the next day very easily. We were working at an American expats home, doing gardening and landscaping, four hours a day four days a week, perfect; or so we thought. 

We met Irene, our host, and we were put in what is one of the houses she has on her property, usually spare for rent or air B&B. It was big and clean, with a king-size bed, kitchenette, porch, hammock, beautiful bathroom and a whole shower room, I felt like a princess after the filth of El valley. It seemed perfect, even if we did find a scorpion hiding in our curtains. 


Oh first day working, 23rd of May was our anniversary! Six years! We still went to work though. Can’t always be a holiday. 

Jake was given a machete and was to cut down this huge bamboo bush – which he spent most of the days we were there working on. I was cleaning concrete steps that were stained from the cashews and mangoes, we then went into town to get some food shopping, we tried to go out for dinner but we couldn’t catch the bus so end up having super noodles, drinking rum and watching crap on Netflix, personally I thought it was an awesome anniversary. 

***********************************

The next day is when the trouble started. I was mowing the garden; now this garden was the size of Central Park, and I was using this huge heavy petrol mower that look like it was the made in the 1920s, and I did it wrong. Absolutely and unequivocally everything I could possibly do wrong, I did wrong. I don’t know how, I have full capabilities of mowing a lawn, but nothing I did was right, and she seemed to take pleasure in telling me how useless I was, not in such certain terms, but were unmistakably implied.

I move it around wrong, I mowed the wrong place, I move the mower over grass more than once, I missed bits on my way, I got rid of the grass wrong and apparently I can go over trees and concrete, it was continuous, and hot, and stressful. In the end I actually started crying, I didn’t let her see though, apparently she was also having a go at Jake to about not being able to start the strimmer that she left unused for the past few months and about me. Complaining to him about how bad I was.

 The whole garden took the whole four hours. Apparently we do it every Wednesday, can’t wait for that. 


Over the next few days, I did more and more things terribly wrong and she seemed to relish telling me so. I didn’t move fast enough, I didn’t rake the leaves correctly, put them in the wrong compost heap (there were six by the way) I spray-painted her barbecue wrong. 

We were told to tresspass on to the next door neighbours land and cut down their plants, I did that wrong, made burms – of said cut down plants – wrong, weeded wrong, got rid of scorpions and snakes wrong e.g. I didn’t hack them to death with a blunt machete. Picked up fruit, cut grass with scissors, cleaned drains, moved logs and anything asked of us, we did wrong, me especially. 

The constant criticism, and attacks towards me personally really cut me down. Most days I ended up crying in the bathroom or so stressed about working with her I ended pulling out most of my eyebrows. 

Having Autism meant I didn’t fit in all that much, I was weird and an outsider, so I never really developed all that much self-confidence or worth and working with Irene shattered it all over again. It was terrible. My mental health suffered and jake suffered with me as there was not much he could do. 

He did talk back to her, one time when she was complaining to jake that she didn’t care how it’s done in Europe, this is how it’s done in America and that works better he said that’s what they thought about McCarthyism and segregation. This stunned her so much she stoped bullying him as much after that, and focused her anger and attention on me. I still don’t have the confidence to walk into a new place first, so talking back was not an option, I felt more stupid and downhearted every day. I drowned in her cruel words and disgusted looks.  

***********************************

I counted down the days till we left for Costa Rica. The hours I had to spend being near her. 

In the end I was told it was not even allowed to fuss the dog as I was showing her too much kindness and attention. And that being ill was no excuse not to work in the 38 degree heat. 

Being here show me how different people can really be, while emailing her to organise this work, she could not have been kinder and when we arrived she was so welcoming, and a soon as we started working for her, everything changed, I find it difficult to read people and understand personalities, being here and try to understand her just made everything more difficult, I was unhappy. 

Panama overall had not been kind to us. 

***********************************

We did have some good days, as we only had to work four hours in the morning 7 to 11, only four days a week we did get some time off to spend looking around. The problem was that there was nothing to do.


Went for a bike ride, and down to the beach a few days, the beach and sea were quite clean but very rough and not very clear being the Pacific side. The sand was volcanic and black so burning to the touch. 

One night we went down to watch the sunset and saw the whole beach come alive with tiny little crabs which was really cool to see. 

We went back in to Panama City few days, I was allowed to go down to the river with Maggie (the dog) and give her a bath. We also went up to El Valle to see Art. Later on he came down to stay near us for a few days. 

We were looking for a place for him to camp and while walking along the beach he and Jake got soaked from head to toe by huge wave that nearly suck them out to sea. They were so wet it broke jakes phone, I was glad I didn’t run and stayed dry. 

We managed to organise our diaries so we got six days off in a row and went up to Boquete, which I’ll tell you about next week. It was a godsend us to have a few days away from her. 

Our last day with her was day 100 of our trip. We spent most of the day cleaning the apartment which was spotless. Cleaner then when we came – especially under the bed. She still I managed to criticise how we moped, but it was our last day so who cares. 

We went out for tea, and came back and finished off half a bottle of wine and a lot of rum… 

… well It would’ve been rude to have left them. 

Not always an easy ride – Autism.

Autism is…

 

Autism is

Not knowing

What to do

What to think

What to say

What to be!

 

Why can I not

Just be me?

 

Why can’t I just

Dream the day away?

 

NO!

 

Must be normal

And live their way.

 

Have to sit

And think

And learn

And behave

Be normal okay!

 

A broken routine is fine

That’s what I’ve been taught.

 

I have to be social

And change my way of thought.

 

I have to get the joke,

Cope with the noise,

Look you in the eye,

And chat about boys.

 

So I won’t be me

Cut me in half with a knife.

 

I have to fit in

So this is my life.

 

Some days are perfect and some days this is how I feel. Even when I’m living / doing something I love.

I enjoyed Panama, don’t get me wrong; but it was hard.

**************************************************

Yes, I have been told I’m doing this amazing thing, going traveling, something so brave; especially for a person like me. But it is also incredibly difficult and stressful, and these hardships are only enhanced by having Aspergers. The wonder of it all may be enhanced too, but it is sometimes hard to see, when everything else is mounting up.

Having autism, I kind of feel as if I am in a bubble or behind a glass wall, unable to reach the real world. In Panama, not being able to speak the language exacerbated it.

We had trouble getting answers back from workaways and not the best of times while we were there.

It was noisy and new and crowded. Squeezed onto overcrowded mini buses and people yelling and selling things. This is life in Panama, and I assume most Latin American countries. Seeing ‘real life’ and not the touristy side to these countries, made traveling there so much better and more authentic. We got the real feel of places, but at the same time it can be so overwhelming and difficult to cope with.

Our time in El Valle was not desperately pleasant. I am only one person, and many other people have had a great time at this place – the reviews said so – that’s why we applied. We just didn’t get that experience.

The thing is, that the world and how I react to it, and how it reacts to me, is different and sometimes harder than others realise and I expect it to be.

Just got to try to fit in, as life doesn’t try to fit with me.

That’s how it feels anyway.

***************************************************

I will try and post our time in El Valley tomorrow.