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A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tegucigulpa to Managua to San Juan del Sur

In keeping with the theme of not letting any grass grow under our feet we were up at seven for the run to the bus station. We wanted to get to San Juan del Sur on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. We had to go through Managua along the way.

Today marks two weeks out. Our buns ached from the previous days hiking. The "Tica Line" bus station was in a dodgy part of town, so we took a cab. Even at that early hour security at the station was tight. We had to be buzzed in.

Jason had lost his ATM card. He got it cancelled, but I was carrying him. He had done the same for me in "The Country That Shall Not Be Named." Mick had a few USD. Maybe we would have to dip into that fund at the border.

A word about ATMs. Love 'em. The best thing in the world when travelling. You don't have to carry lots of cash and you can draw out dough in the local currency. In yet ANOTHER dream sequence I dreamt Visa called me to verify my card usage. They wanted me to give them the name of the hotel I had stayed in before. I couldn't remember the name of my hotel. In the morning, after telling of the dream, we all recited the names of every place in which we had stayed.

As the time neared for the bus the waiting room filled with hawkers. Watches, sunglasses, calculators, cell phone covers, DVDs (They had "Cars" which was still showing in theatres in the US), CDs...whatever you wanted. Or, whatever you DIDN'T want.

The Tica bus to Nicaragua was OK. Seven and a half hours, no movie, no rest stops, but the bus company handled all our passports when we reached the border.

Loved the border crossings. So much more fun than the airports. The moneychangers lined up six deep as we exited the bus. Then came the beggars, hitting Americans or other westerners (read: white people), then MORE hawkers.

Small towns, countryside, volcanos in the distance as we approached Managua.

The Lonely Planet led us to believe the Managua bus station to be a rough place. Turned out to be brand new, decent residential neighborhood. No problemo. There was a mall nearby. Perhaps Jason could get his credit card to work, so we headed there. That didn't work, but we ate in the food court. Could have been in Ohio.

On to the chicken bus for the last (NOT) two hour bit to Rivas. The bus station reminded me of a Sri Lankan station. As we were starting to pull away Jason spots a stall with piles of used books. He says, "give me some money, quick!" He yells out the window (in Spanish) if they have any books in English. We were on constant prowl for stuff to read. But, the book stall lady indicates she has none. Then something happens that only occurs in the developing world. Before the bus turns the corner this kid hops on with a huge pile of books, all English titles. The word had gone out that some dipshit on the bus was wanting English books. I bought "Condominium", written in the 70s and a collection of Walt Whitman poems. The price was too high, but I wasn't going to haggle. The experience alone was worth twice what the books cost.

The bus rolled on. Later the assistant driver asked us if we need a cab from Rivas to San Juan del Sur, the implication being he could set it up. Twenty bucks, he'll call ahead. No way we're paying twenty. When we get to Rivas the cabbie comes on board. Ten dollars. Bueno!

We reach San Juan del Sur, a nice beachside place, after dark. We quickly find a hotel (which for some reason none of us can ever remember it's name), $40 including breakfast and A/C. No TV. People from Virginia own the place. They seem nice, even though it turns out they are big Bush backers. A note on the room door welcomes all "nationalities, skin complexions, religious beliefs, political views, social status, except arrogant." But, isn't that the most obvious Bush supporter trait?

Pizza again for dinner. Bed by eleven. The next morning the guys were talking about a huge thunderstorm during the night that actually shook the building.

Slept right through it.

1 comment:

J.C. said...

I think the fact that the sign even mentioned "social status" says something about them...