May 22, 2008

Butler Volleyball's Final Day In Nicaragua

May 22, 2008

Butler student assistant Steven Peek documents the Bulldogs volleyball team's final day in Nicaragua.

Today was Butler's finale in the Nicaragua that we have all come to love in some way or another. So we said good-bye to all the great times we had in San Juan del Sur and headed back north to Grenada in a last day's attempt to experience something new. We were all thankful to have left our hotel late in the morning and well-rested because the drive seemed long, and as always, very bumpy.

Grenada is a much different scene compared to San Juan del Sur. While our past few days have been on the Pacific Ocean and amongst very touristy businesses and people, the new city is much more urban. It definitely has a colonial feel to it; the taller and firmer buildings create town squares and marketplaces full of music, items, and all sorts of life.

Across the street from our new hotel is an open town square where there are a beautiful yellow church, the offices of the Municipal Principal government, and a monument to Ruben Dario. The early afternoon was our time to explore all of this and get settled in for our last day.

But of course, our trip wouldn't be complete without another great adventure. Jo, one of our great guides, led us on a trip to La Isla de los Monos ("Monkey Island"). We took a smooth boat ride through some small islands on the north side of Lake Nicaragua just an hour before sunset.

After what was a calm boat ride, we arrived alongside trees full of some wild monkeys. We quickly saw just how friendly they were, when we offered them cashews. Many jumped on the sides of the boat, and one even walked straight down the middle of the aisle towards the boat driver, who knew her name (which I can't recall).

Chloe' was sitting in the front of the boat and had perhaps the most excitement on the trip, while battling an overzealous monkey for control of someone's backpack. For the record, Chloe' defeated the monkey, and the backpack made it as safely back to Granada as we did.

Our time in Granada ended with an amazing dinner at El Zaguán, a restaurant known for its various Nicaraguan-styles of steaks. Our tremendous meal was surrounded by music from three guitarists/singers and they treated us to some great sounds, including a Spanish version of John Lennon's "Imagine."

The song made me think of the U.S. and how we would all be returning the next day. But it also made me realize all that each of us would take back within ourselves and between each other. I've been proud of all of us for stepping outside our comfort zones, trying new things, and getting stronger as a team. It makes me look forward to the fall season even more, and I'm increasingly excited to see the girls succeed in the upcoming season.

¡Adios!