the nicaraguan chronicles – part 7


At dawn we each bade our own farewell to K, a sad departure in the face of new adventures and new places to explore. Later that morning she would head to Costa Rica with our new friend Bennett, beginning her journey toward and ultimately into South America. It’s like America, but south!

Our journey would take us north, across el Lago de Nicaragua, through Rivas, past Granada and the Poste Rojo Treehouse Hostel, past the rice paddies and sugar cane fields we saw on our way south – up to Chinandega, ancestral home of our friend M, to the majestic locale she’d been living in for the past year and a half as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Nicaragua is divided geographically into 15 departments – our destination was the northern part of Chinandega, the most northwestern of them all. At Little Morgan’s, we’re currently sitting on an island, an hour from the hour-long ferry ride, in the southernmost part of the country. In other words, we have one hell of a long way to go.

the nicaraguan chronicles – part 7
the road to chinandega?

My biggest worry on this trip now is that I’m gonna crap my pants.

The tainted beef at the restaurant the night before is still doing the salsa in my tummy and we have a country to cross. Clenching my buttocks, I climbed into the cab and tried to emanate an aura of positive energy, repeating the affirmation, “I will not crap my pants. I will not crap my pants.”

The journey that day, in an effort to reach Chinandega, can be summed up in the following way:

Cab > Ferry > Cab > Bus > Cab > Bus > Cab > Walk to hostel

The only hiccup in our journey was that we didn’t make it to Chinandega. Somewhere during the trip, M got word from other Peace Corps volunteers and the folks in her village that the dirt roads to her village were flooded, rendering them impassable. Essentially, if we wanted to get to M’s village, we were going to have to swim.

Not sure if I mentioned this before, but it rains in Nicaragua. A lot. Primarily during the rainy season (obviously), during which we had chosen to visit. And the day we were traveling decided to be the rainiest yet (it rained even harder the following day). It was scattered and inconsistent at best, but when it rained it poured, so I determined that banality to be true. Thus, our road to M’s village was blocked, so at some point in the journey we opted to spend a night in Leon, a city just south of the department of Chinandega. This way, when the rains abated we would have a short journey the following day to our true destination. M’s village was what I was truly excited to see in Nicaragua. I wanted to see how my friend had been living for the past year and a half in this strange, exotic country. I wanted to meet her host family, to walk the paths she walked every day, to see the sights and hear the sounds that greeted her every morning. That was really why I came to Nicaragua.

But, if I had to, I guess I could settle for a night in Leon. Just one night.

Good news about the trip, though: someone upstairs was listening, apparently, and my pants were not crapped. High five.

the smelly kids

bigfoot hostelAfter seven-and-a-half hours of cab-ferry-cab-bus-etc, we arrived at our destination in Leon. . . only to find out that the hostel was all full up. Another jaunt took us a little ways away to Bigfoot, a decent hostel where we enjoyed the. . . umm. . . pleasurable. . . company, of some British chaps.

We walked into the room, dropped our stuff off, and either went into the common area to hang out for a bit or headed to an ATM nearby. One by one we all re-entered the bedroom we shared with the Brits and realized the place reeked of mold. And bad. Word spread among our fearsome foursome and as we each opened up our lockers we discovered the source of that moldy, musty scent: us.

One of the smelly kids in our hostel room 🙂

WE were the smelly ones. WE were the ones nobody wanted to stay with. WE were the ones people went back to their home countries and talked about. After seven days in Nicaragua, literally every single piece of fabric within our packs carried a scent of mold or must. Some items moreso than others. And some items WAY moreso than others. I mean hell, it took us less than an hour to provide a 20’x30′ room with the ubiquitous scent of fungus and decay. And rumor has it, when you can smell yourself, you know that shit’s bad.

We did our best to let our stuff dry out even more, but there was only so much we could do at this point.

feelin’ like Hemingway

Later that evening, after some naps and some reading, we ventured out to an Italian restaurant for dinner, and the drinking began. A strong tequila sunrise coupled with pseudo-Italian cuisine got the party started (or so I thought), and we soon headed to one of M’s favorite bars in the city called Barbaro.

Thinking we were in it for the long haul at this place, and ready to spice up the night with a good buzz, I order an entire bottle of wine for myself. I’m ready to party. All the girls looked at me in disbelief, then they proceeded to inform me that none of them were planning on staying for more than a drink.

Well son of a bitch! I guess I was going to have to hail back to my OU roots and put the wine down good and fast. I laughed, knowing I was forcing it a bit, but the day had just been so “blah,” what with all the traveling and rain and lack of adventure and spice that I wanted to throw in a wild card. And alcohol deals a good hand. But alas, I was the only one feeling it. So, feelin’ like Hemingway, I drank all but a glass from my bottle and we walked back out into the rain and headed back to our hostel, me wanting to party, the ladies wanting to call it a night.

If only I had known the night we were going to have tomorrow, I wouldn’t have been so down.


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