A Respite in Nicaragua
It feels really empty here, Martin said.
Since enjoying San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, we started identifying other colonial cities throughout Central and South America that we might also enjoy.
Antigua, Guatemala. Love, love, love. Cartegena, Colombia. On the itinerary for March. Granada, Nicaragua…Disappointing.
The jerk American William Walker torched Granada in 1856 because he was mad that Nicaraguans (aided by Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorians) didn’t want him declaring himself President of Nicaragua, making Nicaraguans slaves, and forcing everyone to speak English. (Eventually, Honduras shot him for being such an asshole.) But, because of that fire, most of Granada’s buildings are less than 100 years old and are fairly unremarkable.
The central park felt empty, despite the artisan vendors and horse carriages lining the parameter.
Lake Nicaragua is huge and windy, which made Martin yearn for a sailboat. A plethora of helpful tourist guides offered us a motor boat ride along the islands in Lake Nicaragua. No, they said, there were no sailboats.
After being in full-on tourist mode for the past two months, we needed a change of pace. We spoiled ourselves and rented an efficiency apartment where we kept to ourselves for two full days, only emerging long enough to do laundry and buy some food.
It felt like we had just arrived in Nicaragua, and suddenly I was boarding yet another Tica Bus in a Dramamine-induced haze.
Tica Bus is a coach bus company that makes it really easy to travel throughout most of Central America. Unfortunately, I get motion sick pretty easily on them. The coach bus feels like it is floating over the road and the drivers speed up and slow down often and swerve sharply to pass other vehicles or to dodge pot holes. As a result, I take Dramamine. This helps me sleep, but it also reduces my ability to interact with people coherently. Not the best situation for border crossings.
All of my Spanish and most of my English is forgotten when I’m on Dramamine.
Where are you going? I have no idea.
Where are you coming from? I don’t know.
How much money do you want to exchange? I can’t even count the money I have let alone do the math to ensure a fair exchange (even with the help of my iPhone app).
Thankfully, Martin is coherent and can assist me.
Dramamine also makes me ravenously hungry. I’m either sleeping or eating when on Dramamine. Nothing else can happen.
Tica Bus builds in a couple of hours into the travel schedule to account for the border crossings, but they don’t stop for meals. I make oatmeal the night before. Peanuts, apples, and bananas are great snacks. But the bus rides are long, and I seem to always need more snacks than I have the ability to carry.
San Jose, Costa Rica is 8 hours away. I recline my assigned seat, start yet another This American Life podcast, and drift off to sleep.