Last night was kind of comical. We went to bed at around midnight. My roommate’s bed had mosquito netting and mine did not. Around 2am I started getting bit and was scared of Malaria. She said she had extra netting, but I was not going to spend 20 minutes hanging it up, so I just asked if I could share her bed. She did not seem like she would have a problem as she had been on the road for 4 years. She had some oozing blister on her legs from some time in the jungle last week so I kept to one side and her to the other.
Around 4am something big landed on me. I jumped and realized it was a crab. Around 5am there was this loud banging and someone was yelling that they had just been robbed.....again. I thought that was funny, not sure why, just the "again" part. Turns out some guy opened the roof, climbed down and grabbed their IPods and cash. They said one of their friends was off chasing him in the jungle. This did not sound like the smartest plan, but I guess the proprietor caught him later and along with the cops knocked all his teeth out with the but of a gun. This was the same proprietor walking around last night making cocaine and weed deals with his hotel patrons. He also proudly displayed 3 bullet holes from a recent deal gone bad that landed him in jail for 4 years. Typical hotel management staff stuff.
I got up early to hike around the island. There was no beach on the south side so I ended up doing a bit of climbing to avoid the waves. It was stupid, but proved fun in retrospect. After 3 hours I made it back to the boat landing to meet the guy with my luggage. Completely shocked that it actually showed up.
I got back to the bungalow as everyone was starting to rise and suggested we go snorkeling. We struck a deal with some local who was coming back in 30 minutes. While we waited his brother came up, screwed out of his mind on some drug and started calling his brother all sorts of names. He proceeded to piss all over himself and when the brother came back it made for an interesting scene. We climbed in the boat and headed off with this guy into the ocean...sounds like a good idea. About 20 minutes out we ran over a rock and the 2 guys in the boat were blaming each other for the error. They finally settled it and we arrived at the site. We spent 2 hours snorkeling and it was really clear water. My camera sucked but just trust me. I saw a nurse shark, barracuda, rays, lobsters and tons of fish.
While sitting on the boat I leaned over to the girl from last night and said, "Can I use some of your sunscreen" and she replied with, "I don't know, can you say please?" I thought this was odd and filed it away for later. We got back to dock and headed over to the other side of the island for a Bonfire BBQ that was going on.
I was sitting at a bench with the 2 guys from Denmark and overheard the Austrian girl say something to someone and asked what they were talking about. The guy responded that the girl was telling him how I forced myself into her bed last night. I am not sure why I got pissed, I guess because she made it sound like I was some sexual predator, when it was the farthest from the truth. I asked for the key to our room, went back, packed my crap, wanted to break the key in the lock, but left in lock and went and slept on the dock waiting for the 5am boat back to the mainland.
I probably overreacted, but she just rubbed me the wrong way with her attitude. I eventually caught a flight back to Managua and met some cool ladies from Chicago, apologizing a few times for my scent due to a lack of cleanliness for a few days, but realizing that since they were drinking rum at 10am it probably did not matter.
I was not due to fly out till the next day, but tried to get a flight out with these girls from Chicago. I got to the reservation agent and that is when the fun began. I felt like I was Steve Martin in Planes Trains and Automobiles talking to the car rental lady. I politely told him that I was due to fly out tomorrow and wondered if I could fly standby today or pay a change to adjust flight plan. He told me that I would have to call reservations. He dialed the number and they told me I had to talk to the guy at the counter. I told the guy that the lady on the phone said he should handle it. Neither side was willing to talk to the other though, leaving me as an arbitrator. I hung up on the lady after a bit, realizing that I could reason with this guy in person. He told me that they were still trying to sell the seats on the flight and could not give me one. I accepted that rationale and said fine, no standbye, just charge me to change flights. He did some calculations on his screen.
You know how these service agents have to hit like 6K keys just to do something extremely simple. I figured, this is good, wheels are in motion. He writes down a number on a paper and slides it to me like some kind of offer. It says $1,400. I say, "You want me to pay $1,400 to change my flight." he confirmed. I laughed a bit. I asked him how many seats he had open. He said around 10. I asked him, okay on the slim chance that 10 people come in here in the next 30 minutes looking to pay $1400 to fly Houston, lets wait until it is about to leave then you can put me on the flight if there are seats. He told me that was not going to happen. I made it clear that this was nonsensical and walked off.
I walked across the street to a Best Western where they told me they only had 1 room, but there was a problem, there was no hot water. I said knock of 40% and I will deal with it (Little do they know that I have not seen hot water since I left on this trip).
I sat by the pool for about 4 hours then slept for the next 15. Somewhere around 11pm I heard a knock on the door and someone mutter something about "alcohol check." I was half asleep and wondering what the heck was going on. This coming from a guy who once woke up during a hotel fire and heard the fire alarm, thought it was the fruit basket in the room making the noise, proceeded to throw it against the wall, only realizing the error in judgment when I opened to door to chuck the bananas down the stairs seeing all these people fleeing. So I am thinking, is there some problem with people sneaking alcohol into there rooms and getting drunk. I looked around and no alcohol in room and opened the door. It was the housekeeper with a bottle of water. She had really said something about ague for the room. I looked at her and said, "You woke me up at 11pm to stock the room with water?" She smiled back at me and said, "Si" I took the water and wished her a pleasant evening. I showed up at the airport the next day with the same reservation agent and exchanged pleasantries before passing through security for a trip home.
Thoughts of the day:
1. Nicaragua is such an incredibly poor country, yet I was surprised that I saw no homeless or mentally ill people on the street. We are struggling with capitalism vs. socialism here in the states and I see both sides of the coin, but it is interesting to see it firsthand. People are poor here and depressed, just as in the US, but in a bit of different way. You see the sadness in their eyes momentarily, and then it is off to work. There is not a lot of self pity. They do what needs to be done and when there is time they think about their lives and how this may all play out.
In closing, before taking this trip many people were scared and surprised that I would venture into such a hostile environment all alone. There was never once that I feared for my life, except when in the mountain and Howler Monkey freaked me out, and was almost always received with a smile. There were lots of solo travelers I meet, although few from the US. It seems engrained in other cultures that men/women coming of age must take time to travel and find themselves before settling down. Part of me is glad that Nicaragua and places like it remain undiscovered and unruined by tourists, but that is also egotistical as it is tourism which will help the indigenous people. So in summary, I hope someone reading this will choose to venture to Nicaragua, and seek out places that are outsides the confines of the Hilton gates, for you will find a generous people...just don’t tell too many folks back home so I have a couple of more years to enjoy it as it is.
Until next Time,
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