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Lake Nicaragua from Space






Oscar Sogandares

Part one

My prime objective wasn't simply to visit Costa Rica, as I had done many times in the past, but to go as far North as Nicaragua and get to see its "huge lake". I had originally planned to go along with a friend after Christmas 1991. But it was pretty much nearing New Year's Eve now and I thought it best to spend it with my family at home in my Chiriquí province (in Panama), instead of on the road, in the middle of no where. I called my friend in Panama City again, telling him I was to proceed by myself. He told me to call him once I got to San José, that he would fly over to join me. And to this I thought, there was only one alternative left. No sense in delaying any longer… just breakaway!

Initially I had apprehensions on the situation in Nicaragua. I thought once I'm there I should abstain from making controversial statements, since memories may still be fresh. Well, once I got to "Chepe" (San José), I signed up at the hotel, and being about 9:00 or 10:00 PM I "gravitated" towards the famous "El Boulevard", Radio Monumental and the Manolo's Café, a favorite with tourists. There I sipped my cappuccino and breathed my first air of "Chepe" in a very long time. The last time I was there was over a year ago. I had gotten there in my own car then. This time I was travelling by Tracopa bus.

While in the café sipping my cappuccino I couldn't help but notice this fellow tourist, writing on loose sheets of paper, while sipping coffee and puffing an occasional cigarette. He seemed to be writing an essay or a book. I felt curious now. Our friend was thin, sharply clipped moustache, and wore a long sleeve khaki shirt, which included a leather shoulder strap, just like Indiana Jones or some type of explorer. I finally mustered the audacity and asked him if he was writing a book. He told me he was just writing brief outlines and sketches, which who knows, could become that same book someday.

He said he came from England, where he went to school at Cambridge and was presently travelling through the Americas, and expected his following tour be through the former USSR. He also mentioned he was associated with conservationist groups throughout Europe, America and around the world and he had just arrived from Nicaragua (just what I wanted to hear). There he would go around pasting peace slogans all over the place, quite an "activist" the chap. Well anyway I thought, if my friend could safely go around the place and even pull stunts like this, then so could I. He told me all they really needed to do was to reforestate the banks of the lake, to really achieve its natural and pristine conditions. I simply had no idea how the lake looked like, is sheer majesty! I just had to see it with my own eyes. I exchanged addresses with my friend and wished him good luck in his book and future endeavors.



| Foreword | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five |