`Believe me, fermented pineapple juice is just the job for flushing out the kidneys first thing in the morning' the pineapple farmer appeared to be saying in the local Spanish as he offered us a glass. Lips puckered and eyes rolling we sipped suspiciously at the blessed liquid while the pineapple grandchildren hanging from the farmer's arms and legs squirmed with delight.
We were in the hands that day of two considerable experts - the Nicaraguan farmer who led us proudly through fields near Granada bursting with pineapples, and Jessica of Buen Viaje Tours. We had asked if we could meet local people not engaged in tourism, and earlier Jessica had taken us, together with a like-minded Canadian couple, to a heart-warming `teach-and-feed' project for the city's less fortunate children. At the other end of the scale she arranged for us and our new friends to have lunch at a large private finca and ride horses from their own stables. We were also introduced to craftsmen who made three-piece suites out of banana leaves, and one of the best makers of ceramics.
Jessica's experience lies in opening doors for clients, offering an occasional word of translation, and then standing back without saying a great deal (torrents of indigestible information being a besetting sin of other tour guides} so that they can see, learn and enjoy for themselves. We liked it that way; so might you. Good value, too.
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