Formed (at least in legend) by the explosion of the nearby volcano Mombacho, 365 tiny isletas—one for each day of the year—dot Lake Nicaragua just off the coast of Granada. In the heat of a Tuesday afternoon, we motored past them along with two of our classmates from Casa Xalteva, as well as a guide and a driver. Many of the isletas are too small to be occupied and thus are simply oasis of green as well as the occasional monkey.
Some are home to small communities–and by small I mean two to three houses. Some host restaurants (which allow you to swim as you wait for your meal).
And a final few are privately owned. All are beautiful and made me feel as if I were in the Caribbean, rather than a lake in the middle of Nicaragua.
Our guide, an employee of Casa Xalteva in charge of organizing outings, actually lived on an isleta and gave us some firsthand accounts of life on a tiny piece of land. His description of what they ate reminded me of a popular scene in Forrest Gump—fried fish, baked fish, fish with plantains, fish with yucca, plain fish, fish soup, etc.—and had us all laughing. On the other hand, his comment that you could buy one of these isletas for $40,000 had us all quietly contemplating. After all, who doesn’t want to own an island?
Later in the day, our feet back on solidly dry land, we wandered down the pedestrian lane that stretched from Grananda’s central park to the lake, happening past a travel agency with a help wanted sign in the window: Wanted, Bilingual Assistant. Jeff, though never before having expressed an interest in the field of travel planning, decided that he was plenty qualified. And there we had it—Scheme #1 in what I’m sure will be plenty as we travel the world and contemplate the many opportunities out there. Jeff putting his mad Spanish skills to work planning other people’s vacations, while I sit at home on our own private island and write a novel or two. Not a bad option, I’d say.