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

Travelling in spirit

NICARAGUA | Sunday, 29 January 2012 | Views [1395]

I'm in Nicaragua again! Damn I've done a lot of repeat journeys. According to my passport, I've been to Costa Rica 7 times, Fiji 4 times, Nicaragua 3 times, New Zealand 3 times, Australia twice, and England twice! Today was a day of ripoffs until I ended up in what'd be called the "hell of Nicaragua:" the bus terminal of Managua. Trying to get to Esteli. I've been on the road since 9 AM, coming from San Jose. My initial plan was to get to Nicaragua via Los Chiles and then hitchhike to Esteli but I woke up too late and the only bus to Los Chiles leaves at 5:30 AM. As a result, I went to Nicaragua via the main border crossing on the western side of Lago de Nicaragua. I was hoping to not go to Managua but I had no choice, and when I got there it was dark and the taxi drivers told me that there were no buses to Esteli until tomorrow. But, you can never believe the vast majority of taxi drivers in Nicaragua, or anywhere for that matter. Ultimately I was told that buses to Esteli leave from a different terminal on the other end of the city, and that I could take a taxi for $5. So, I went for that and when I got there, I found out there were in fact no buses to Esteli until tomorrow. When I inquired about a bus to Matagalpa I got the same response. If I could get a bus to Matagalpa I can be dropped off at the turnoff to Esteli and then hitchhike the rest of the way. Looking at my map I saw a turnoff just past the town of Tipitapa, which is basically a suburb of Managua. These young guys were telling me it was dangerous there and then they creeped me out a bit. One of them was so drunk that I could smell alcohol on his breath from three feet away! My Spanish sucks, and what was worse is that I didn't write down the phone number for my friend Asha in Esteli. When I was asking where there was a cybercafe I kept getting all sorts of responses and then I was on the brink of tears. Really I was determined to get to Esteli tonight, someway, somehow. Even if that meant hitchhiking out of Managua in the dark! Certainly I wasn't ready to fork out more money for a taxi, stay at some grungy hospedaje for a few hours and then come back at 6 AM. Suddenly, good fortunes came my way.

A young man named Brandon overheard me and asked if I speak English. It turned out he did and that was seeing his sister off to Perlas Lagunas, near Bluefields. The rule of thumb in most of Central America is that English is spoken on the Caribbean coast. Brandon told me I could come to his house and use the internet to call Asha. He lives not too far from the bus station and on the way I asked him an odd question: do you have a backyard? It was because I wanted some place to pitch my tent. He told me he'd take care of me and find me a place to sleep. I explained that all I can do is roll out my sleeping pad and crash on the floor. When we got there he talked to his girlfriend Keylin, and they said I could stay the night, and he even had a bed for me! Tonight really showed me the true spirit of travel, and how generous people really are! Brandon's brother is Deslor: he said he hopes everything works out. Tonight it certainly has. It was one of those nights that I didn't really know what I was going to do! Proudly wearing my Mario shirt, I was challenging Brandon's other brother Darwin at Super Smash Bros. Brawl and he's a great player. Nintendo and travel: two things that don't go together but do (except for the odd bit of playing whilst on a plane or bus)! Brandon told me that even as a Nicaraguan, people (taxi drivers, etc.) have tried to rip him off. Even though I love Nicaragua it's one place that I've seen my fair share of ripoffs. A couple of years ago a woman was charged double the fare for the panga ride from El Rama to Bluefields, for no reason.

The next morning I'd wake up refreshed with a tap on my door by Brandon. Last night I had a really good sleep! Much better than it would have been sleeping or staying up at the bus terminal. Brandon cooked me up a hearty brekkie of eggs and fried bananas. Eggs are something that I normally won't eat, but if I'm offered I'll eat them. My mother once told me "you wouldn't eat an egg if it were the last thing on Earth." Well, I've eaten eggs a handful of times. After hanging out with Brandon and family for awhile, we all piled into their ute and they dropped me off at the bus terminal. Wearing a Chris Paul jersey he was unaware that he's now a member of the Clippers. It was very difficult to say goodbye; Brandon pulled me out of a position in which I was lost, trapped and confused. And he knows he'll always have a place to crash wherever I am in the world!

In the words of Steve Young and everyone at the farm in Whitianga, "travel in spirit" and everything will work out. The spirit of travel at its finest!

 

 

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