Saturday 6 am- meet at the Parque Central ready to head out for Nicaragua. There’s a challenge. My padre Tico refused to let Jessie and I walk the 8 minute walk with our stuff so he drove us there and stayed until boys from our group showed up even though it was nice and bright out and not at all sketchy. Then we were met by a pleasant surprise when the bus showed up and it was not the tiny little thing we’d been squeezing into for our other excursions but instead a really nice bus with big comfortable seats and even a few extras. I wish I could make you understand what a blessing it was to be in that bus. The other bus handles the bumps in the road so terribly that it makes me sick but I was comfortable (as much as one can be on a bus ride in Costa Rica) so all was well!
I had the exciting experience of walking across the CR/Nicaragua border, which felt super sketch but wasn’t too excruciating of a process. Then we had another 3 hours of driving in Nicaragua to get to Managua where our “hotel” is. We passed the time quickly though as Jessie was reading Eclipse (the third book in the Twilight series) and I reread most of it over her shoulder. It’s a pretty easy book so it’s not hard to read on a bus.
Our hotel is… interesting. I’ll try to remember to take some pictures and put them on facebook so you can fully understand what I mean. When we first walk in its super hot and muggy as it now is every day when we enter after being gone because they shut the air off when we’re not in it. Then we noticed that our room was super dark. Where everyone else had two bulbs in their light we only had one. This brought about the fiasco of them trying to put in a new bulb, which ended up not working. Eventually we got another bulb that is less bright than the first but still an improvement since now the two are working together. Our room is still kinda dark but its doable. Then there’s the bathroom… oh goodness. There is a lovely black splash stain on the floor around the toilet and the shower floor was still actively wet when we showed up. I have not walked barefoot in that room and I do not plan to-yuck! We also have some special friends who live on the roof of our bathroom who scurry around and make fun noises for us. We have named them Jiminy Cricket and Patricia.
Overall Emily (my roommate for this week) and I are just trying to enjoy our time here even though our room is without a doubt the worst of everyone’s. Oh well! Its certainly an experience.
Sunday was fun although it was a pretty long day. We started off the day with two masses at two different Christian Base Community churches. It was very interesting to see the differences in those churches even from the churches I went to with my host parents in CR, not to mention my churches in the US. We were so lost at the first service because they didn’t have the words to the bulletin printed in the song, it was quite comical.
After church we went to a really yummy restaurant for lunch where we were actually able to eat our fill! We eat breakfast and dinner at the hotel and get very small portions. It’s a bummer but not a huge deal! I just feel bad for some of the guys on our trip…
After lunch we walked around Historic Managua for a bit, which was nice but very warm and very dirty. Nicaragua is a country with a high temperature and a lot of trash. Makes me miss Costa Rica- a lot! After the site seeing we went to a mall where we got an hour and a half to explore and chill. It was loud and crowded- nothing like Paseo de los Flores, our favorite mall in Heredia. Although we were able to buy fairly good-sized water bottles for 50 cents there so that was a win.
That’s another unfortunate thing about Nicaragua- the undrinkable water. I’ve never really had to deal with unhealthy water before and its not fun. It’s hard to remember not to rinse my toothbrush with water from the sink and we’re always suspicious when we eat out that they cleaned everything with purified water. I’m not feeling well now and really hoping its just my stomach being weird and not that I got a virus from something I ate. Please be praying for all of us that we can stay healthy here.
Monday has definitely been a full day! We spent the day in Granada, the other big city about 45 minutes away. In the morning we took a boat ride through Lake Nicaragua (which is really contaminated) and saw some beautiful views. In the afternoon we went to central Granada and had 3 hours to walk around. I was exhausted but still managed to have a good time. We just walked around checking out the merchandise in people were selling along the park and said “no gracias” a million times to all the people who came up to us selling something.
Emily, Mike, Elisabeth and I took a carriage tour around the city which ended up being really cool. Our guide was very nice and explained the historical significance of all the buildings we’d been looking at. Plus, he let me drive the horses- it was super cool!
Now I’m back at the hotel, showered and waiting for dinner, hoping its something appetizing. Only three more days left in Nicaragua then another full day of travel back to the beautiful Costa Rica! Hooray! Its definitely an experience here but I’ll be glad to get back “home” to San Rafa.
I hope you are all enjoying your 4th of July's wherever you are!
Love from Nicaragua,