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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Crossing the Border

NICARAGUA | Thursday, 23 August 2007 | Views [1033]

            Today was my 3rd full day in the Land of the Ticos, which are what Costa Ricans are known as. I woke up at 3:30 AM after only sleeping about two hours last night. I ate my last banana for breakfast and packed up all my stuff. I went downstairs, washed up and just sat there. I was worried that if I fell back asleep that I’d miss my bus. Gjis and Doreen, whom I met yesterday, were traveling on the same bus with me to Nicaragua. I went to the coffee shop next dor and got a croissant, a corn cake, and pear juice and then just waited out front with Gjis and Doreen. We only waited a few minutes before the bus came and it was still dark out. I tried to sleep for a bit, but this was the bumpiest and most uncomfortable bus ride I’ve ever experienced. I had several great photo opportunities as we were driving down off of the Cordillera de Tilarán, but it was so bumpy that none of them came out well. I’ve been here for three days and I haven’t snapped a single good landscape photo. Those are my favorite! We stopped for a bathroom break, but I had to pay to use the bathroom! I did manage to sleep a few minutes along the way, but I was still out of it. At 7:30, we were dropped off at La Irma. It was noticeable warmer and more humid and the mosquitoes seemed to be eating me for breakfast. I really want to go back to Monteverde after I get back from Nicaragua because I want to ride horseback from there to La Fortuna or Volcán Arenal. Monteverde is so peaceful and quiet, and I could have spent months there. The restaurant across the street was closed, so I couldn’t even get a snack or anything for the six hour bus ride ahead. So, we had a half hour to burn and we just waited. After the 30 minutes passed, the bus still hadn’t shown up and the restaurant opened. I ran across the street and got a Red Bull to keep me energized. We just kept waiting and waiting. In the tree, I saw a black iguana and I got a photo. After two hours the bus hadn’t shown, and we were all getting frustrated. It really sucks because I would have had almost a full day today in Nicaragua. I saw some leafcutter ants at the bus stop. At 10:00, after three hours of waiting, the bus finally came! This trip has been a lot like Iceland; a great experience with a multitude of problems in between. Also, the bus was completely full and I couldn’t get a window seat. But, it was a lot more comfortable and much smoother than the first ride. I filled out the Customs paperwork for Nicaragua and just sat. There was a food stop right up the street from where we were picked up, but I wasn’t hungry. Back on the road, we passed through many miles of lush, green forest. It’s so beautiful out here! A fierce rainstorm dumped rain briefly, but it was sunny after a few minutes. It sure rains a lot here, but I don’t mind it at all (as long as my camera, passport, and journal stay dry). We passed through a small town called La Cruz, and about 20 minutes later, we were at the border. We all had to vacate the bus and the line for Customs was long and the street moneychangers were swarming me like bees. It was hot and humid, so that made the situation even worse! Anyways, I got an ice cream and some Club crackers to snack on. The line wasn’t moving at all and there was a street vendor making orange juice. He had a bicycle that was retrofitted with a cart on the front. It was really interesting and I got a photo. One thing I’ve always loved about Latin America is that it is so colorful; with fruit stands, colorful dress, etc. I then got another ice cream and was listening to this young man play his guitar. I was completely bored standing in a stagnant line. After like an hour, I finally got in and got my exit stamp. I now have 12 stamps. I’ll be getting many more! I then ran back to the bus and the moneychangers were still bugging me. The bus was nearly empty and I grabbed a window seat. At about 1:50, we were off to Nicaragua! It was only a short ride to Nicaraguan Customs, but it was another long wait. It’s my first time crossing a border by land (unless I want to count going to Tijuana, Mexico). The driver collected all of our passports and we had to hang around for a bit. I got a banana and then snapped a photo of what appeared to be a volcano erupting. After about 20 minutes, I got a nice hammock for only $7 and then we got our passports back and then all got on the bus. I was finally in Nicaragua. It must be time to change the theme of this trip to “Central American Journey” instead of “Costa Rican Journey.” I also got my 13th passport stamp. One thing I’d like to tell you is that Nicaragua gets far fewer tourists than Costa Rica, and that’s one reason I came here. We began driving along Lago de Nicaragua (Lake Nicaragua) and I learned that the mountain I saw earlier is in fact a volcano. It was a really beautiful sight; lakes, volcanoes, and tropical rainforests all in one view. It’s quite an impressive view! Banana plantations were also abound as we were driving for many miles on the western edge of Lago de Nicaragua. I was still really tired but the excitement kept me up. Then, I was seeing two volcanoes from the bus window. At about 4:30, I finally made it to Granada. Once I stepped off the bus I felt like I was lost in time and I immediately felt like an outcast because I thought I was the only tourist in town. The area is poor, but the people seem to be very happy. Kids play football (soccer) in the street, horse-drawn carriages are all around, and people ride bicycles everywhere. At a food stand, I got a water bottle, some Ritz crackers, and a cacao drink, all for less than $2. I walked around nervously with my backpack on, feeling like I was lost in another world until I spotted an internet café. I got on and found a hostel that’s just around the corner. I emailed everyone telling them about Nicaragua and about today. Afterward I went to the Hostel Oasis and booked two nights, because I didn’t go through all the hassle of getting here to only stay one night. It was only $7 a night! As I was going to my room, I met a very nice girl named Vivian. She is 31 and is studying to be a doctor. I got some free phone time with my stay, so I tried to call Dad, but he wasn’t home. So I thought I’d try later. Before that, Vivian gave me info on visiting Volcán Mombacho. I really want to go up there! Vivian told me that coffee is grown inside the volcano’s crater. I then got on the computer and just relaxed for awhile. I met a cute girl named Amy, from Canada. She’s been to New Zealand to study for a year. I was just denied at my chance to study there because of my GPA. I’m petitioning it because when I began my studies at Pierce College, I was living a rough life and my grades were in the toilet. However, I’ve now made the Dean’s List four straight times and I now live a better life. By about 7:30 I was feeling very tired. I wanted to make myself a cup of tea, but there was no hot water, so I made a cup of coffee, but didn’t like it. I should learn to appreciate coffee because some of the finest coffees in the world are grown here in Central America. I got myself a Coke (my first in a long time) and chatted with Vivian. I really like her! I then talked with this girl named Analisa. She’s from Washington but is living here for a few months. Nicaragua is my first time visiting a third-world country, and I’m sure once most people visit from developed countries, they appreciate their good lives back home. However, it’s really a very special feeling being here. I told Vivian and her friend earlier that they’ve really made me feel better about being here. I hung out with Analisa for a bit and then gave Dad a call. I told him about what happened in San Jose and about zip-lining. I only talked for a few minutes because I only get 10 minutes of free phone time. The internet is free here also, like it was in Costa Rica. I relaxed in the hammock for a bit before calling it an early Nicaragua night at 8:30. I went and washed up and then lay down in my bunk. Tomorrow, I plan to head up to Volcán Mombacho and go hiking. I want to get up early and get good views and good photos. Have a good night!

Tags: On the Road

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