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Published: January 18th 2009
The day started badly... and got worse. We were due to catch a bus to the capital at 6.15am so dutifully paid the bill the day before. It was not until 5.45am (when conveniently no one was awake) that we realised that we had not got our 100 limpira deposit back. Reluctantly we accepted our fate, blamed karma, and headed to the bus shelter. There we waited in the rain (long enough to have been sufficiently refunded) and eventually caught a bus to the capital. From there we took a taxi to the other side of town, and then a very hot and full bus to the border. Sharing a seat with two squirming toddlers in the heat was enough to bring on very strong waves of sickness although luckily I managed to hold it back. I was very relieved to alight at the border.
The border crossing was relatively painless and from there we found a bus to a town near the border (again I felt the waves of sickness). We witnessed what we came to recognise as a typical ‘Nica’ flight as we waited for our bus to Esteli. The bus was due in two hours but happily
we found one after about 45 minutes. Feeling a bit stronger we shared a strange kind of sweet cheese pancake.
The two hour bus journey was accompanied by the hot and cold sweaty fear of impending sickness. Luckily I held back until we found a hospedaje in which to stay for what we thought would be one night (I did have to stop several times to retch and crouch to relieve my stomach cramps).
Too weak to even ask for a key I collapsed on the bed with a now weakened James and we lay fully clothed with the light still on and feigned sleep until I ran out and began what would be three days of traveller’s diarrhoea and sickness. The next morning James joined in although luckily his illness was confined to his nether regions and thus he played the hero and moved our stuff into a slightly larger less stuffy room to lie and groan in.
I was once again very jealous of his strong constitution as he managed to watch films (the movement on the screen was akin to the movement on the bus for me and thus caused urgent retching), roam the streets
and semi-enjoy the considerable effort the Nicaraguans put into Christmas festivities, and even ate a kebab! That night we experienced our second nica fight, James more than I as, according to James, I slept through a man smashing up plant pots, pissing on our roof and a great deal of screaming and crying. The destruction the following morning evidenced this.
The third day I managed to eat a bit and keep it down for nearly an hour and, after much persuasion by James, wondered the streets for a short while. By the fourth day we were ready to travel and took an early bus to Managua, organised a Tica bus to take us to Panama a few days later, ate a hearty breakfast and kept it down, and then hopped on another bus to the Pacific coastal town of Pochomil where I probably looked a bit weird recuperating on my pink sarong, covered in flies and surrounded by horse shit; sunbathing.
That night we ate at our place of residence watching the setting sun behind the playing children and enjoying the slightly strange ambience of this Nicaraguan beach resort, complete with the odd person, horse, car or motorbike
promenading along the beach.
The following days in Pochomil were very blissful and holiday-like. We took long strolls down the beach to neighbouring villages, swam in the sea and generally relaxed. The owner of our place’s son rapidly became James’ number one fan, and in no time James was recruited to being in his baseball team (and in this way the sunset hours were spent).
A few days later and refreshed, we caught a bus to Managua early-ish in order to catch our Tica bus the next day. There we left out bags at a hospedaje I had booked while James booked our Tica bus tickets several days previously. We then had a huge lunch and spent the afternoon in a relatively ‘safe’ shopping mall getting cash, using the internet and buying goodies for Carmen and her family. The evening was spent enjoying the luxury of cable TV and ‘Ballet Shoes’ in our not-so-luxurious room.
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