Sept. 29 2010
I landed in Managua Nicaragua and it was aparant right off the bat I should have studied Spanish a bit more since I only hear English sporadically. Met up with Andrew at the airport who is holding a sign with my name on it and we get a taxi from an so called authentic taxi driver who showed us his badge that could have said “Get in the car you dumbass gringo and get charged 50% more” for all we knew. We stayed in the Backpackers Hostel with some freindly people who had to walk us out of the neighborhood the next day in what looks to be a 3rd world war torn devestated area which I guess is where were at. There is a Hurricane just North of us causing all kinds of havok with flooding and mudslides. We get off at what is apparantly a town market and bus terminal to catch a chicken bus to Rivas. We must have looked like your typical marks as some guy comes running up to us screaming “Rivas! Rivas! Rivas!” I about pulled out a pencil to stab him in the neck and Andrew was sporting his best Kung-Fu Praying Mantis defence posture. Then next thing I know he’s fighting off some other hustlers that tries to grab his bag which he has a firm hold of but then the first guy to aproach us gestures for us to follow him through the array of buses, vans, taxi’s, food and ware vendors, etc We get stuffed into through the back door of a bus and then Andrew’s giving the guy some money as a gratuity where Im sure we got ripped off by the look on Andrew’s face. We are totally out of our element and hug our backpacks with white knuckles. Im also sure we look scared, well at least Andrew does, I act like I dont even know him since Im dark and he’s obviously Anglo. He tries to use his ipod not only to show everyone where were going but also to speak Spanish for us, most people dont even know what the hell a ipod is down there let alone what to do with it.We get to Rivas and get a taxi who Im sure ripped us off since we paid $20 US to get to the surfing Mecca known as San Juan del Sur, but we didnt give a shit since we were still somewhat shell shocked from the crazy bus terminal action. The taxi was this beat up piece of shit with broken windshield wipers and a unyielding crazed driver who had me praying to Saint Christopher the patron saint of dumbass travelers. I about had a heart attack as he sped past horse drawn carts, school children, pigs or whatever else was in the road in wild abandon. We even got stopped outside of town and paid some body some kind of fee for God only knows what. The town was full of life and we told the driver in the worst Spenglish ever pronounced that we were looking for a hotel our freinds Shawn & Sarah were to meet us at. Andrew couldnt remember its name but being as savy as I am remembered that it was named Hotel Australia, obviously named after some surfers from down under. I told the driver the name and he looked at me shrugged and farted which Im sure meant he knew what I was saying. After some death defying turns and drifting maneuvers through some shady bario’s we came to the beach front Hotel Estrella’ (Star Hotel) not Hotel Australia, uh, yeah, were in for a hell of a ride in the next 6 weeks. Hotel Estrella having been built in 1929 as a destination for people coming from the Eastern United States up through Lake Nicaragua to San Juan where they caught a steamer ship up to San Francisco before the completion of the Panama Canal. It was a old sort of run down Colonial bulding that was funky in all the right ways and I felt like Humphry Bogart would ask me to play it again.
We check into the hostel for I think what equals out to be $7 a day, ($140 cordobas) but I wasnt sure since converting the 20 to 1 US currency to Cordobas ($100 = $2,000 cordobas) was like getting thousands off dollars, I havent seen a wad like that since Monoploly. OK back to the journal I kept down there….
Hurricane Mitch has it raining down here like cats and dogs and we are here waiting for Shawn & Sarah to arrive. Andrew is trying to ask the currator if they have seen a long hair Gringo with a bandana and a hot ass chick come through in what I believe is some dialect of Spanish and Sign Language, I once again act like I dont know him and start drinking Flor de Cana Rum which by the way is cheap as water. Im sure you’ve heard all the stories about not drinking the water because of dysentary, typhoid, and whatever else they have down there so I didnt. I drank Rum.
After a few drinks and taking Spanish lessons from the house parrot
Shawn and Sarah came into the open common room, they were both as red as beets and really didnt even pay us any nevermind, in fact it was as if we were all back at the Dive in Girdwood. I thought Andrew was going to start crying when they came in, I was cool as ice, which by the way cost extra down here and carries pathogens to induce acute stomach cramps (more on this later) they had just gotten back from hell trip down the Rio de Juan to the Carribean side only to find there was no alcohol or food in the town. They sat down with us and we threw back a bottle in the open courtyard sitting in wood and wicker rocking chairs until all road fatigue were extinguished. We finally venture out to the market where Shawn knew of a really cheap but good place to eat. You should have seen Andrew trying to order, ha! that was funny. I felt for the server and sat back and waited for Shawn to order where I stated casually
“Uno mas por favor!’
and pointed towards what he was reading from. They dont call me the Chameleon for nothing. In fact Shawn did us a great service by not speaking for us while we were down there which was a display of tough love. After a great simple meal of Gallo Pinto, huevos & queso, some pickled onions and some fruit mixes we went out into the town where Shawn showed us all the places we needed to know like what liqour store to go to, what road NOT to walk down and where we can find some weed from the Rasta street vendors who I became freinds with over the next week. We just relaxed there for a few days and I being on a budget, only had a few hundered dollars on me instead of the few thousand I told them all I had, I was looking to get out and live in the jungle in a hammock. We went to a bar that night on the beach where we met some girls from Israel that were flying out the following day and gave me a good size bag of weed but they declined to come back to our room, dammit.
By day 2 Sarah had broken more shit in our room than I could pay for. 1 glass, 1 chair and even ripped some mortar from the wall trying stand erect. We exchanged broken items into empty rooms next door. The building sat on the corner of a beachfront street and our rooms had balconies we could sit out on and people watch. Andrew almost got into it for using one of those laser pens on a dog who was uninterested but the owners of the restraunt across the street bitched him out. Way to go in our first exchange with locals Andrew. The power goes out on a nightly basis which brings the towns people out and about, fireflies buzz throughout the air as do bats. Its on about the third day that Andrew starts to experience these stomach cramps that were at first sort of funny. We lauged our asses as he would be cool then start to grimace in pain, that is until I started to feel them as well. I mean you’d be sitting there bullshitting and joking then next thing you know your on the ground fetus position crying just trying to fart. We took turns laughing at eachother when we were down. After doing a shit load of converting and what not, I found that I had already gone over my budget for the entire weeks worth of my allowance in one night and opted to eat crackers with jelly, bananas, and peanut butter when the others went out for their meals that some surfers left in the room next to us. I also created a list of things not to bring to Central America which include but are not limited to, Huge thick ass hoodie, Jamacain paryphanalia, camo compact w/ 3 colors of face paint just in case of a war, wool socks, blanket stolen from airplane, laser pointer, thick ass cargo pants, heavy leather belt and what Sarah calls my cotton panties. A street fight breaks out amongst what we all thought were peaceful rasta street vendors so I go down and smoke some weed with them and get ripped off by a cute 7 year old girl who sold me some cashews. I am also being stalked by some guy selling clay pots and some street kid who seemingly has adopted me as his father.Shawn is making me drink cheap ass Rum Ron Plata instead of Flora de Cana and chasing it with Tona beers.
Day 4: I awoke covered in war paint and “thug life” written across my stomach unbeknownst to me as I was walking around the common area people were looking at me like I was the Anti-Christ or Tu-Pac. I have a dilema which is that bottled water cost the same as rum down here so I have decided to drink water from tap since Im already pissing out my ass and could care less about yellow spotted fever since Im already seeing green flashes from this rum and am probally sterile as well. Hunter would be proud.
Day 5: Andrew my travel companion contacts intestinal parrasite and coincidently enough since having started drinking tap water I no longer feel the effects of the acute abdominal pains he is. I have developed something strange growing from above my pubic region though that smalls weird. I cant account for it nor will admit to anything, Ialso feel something moving in my arm like a worm or something. I think he also is experiencing heat stroke since his whole body is now radiating enough heat to ward of mosquitos. I wouldnt say panic is setting in but after further more investigations into my funds I have found that I have spent aproximately 1/4 of my total funds in less than a week with 42 days to go and it just hit me that my EBT card probally doesnt work down here.
Day 6: Morale has taken a dive but Andrew’s contractions are getting closer, were all expecting a healthy Pupae any day now. Been in contact with an Eco-lodge on Ometepe Island that actually charges $4 a day to live and work, can you believe it Im actually going to pay to work, I must have lost my mind. I am going crazy trying to convert dollars into cordobas and english into spanish, weed and rum dont help matters much either. Andrews only solice now is the mobile hamburger stand down the street who should simply set up his cart beneath our balcony and throw him up double cheeseburgers every hour as he is shitting so often as to lead me to believe why the sewer system is backing up in town. Oh yeah another curious thing here is that you dont flush your toilet paper down the toilet here, you neatly fold it which is a tricky matter after usage and put in waste paper basket. And God help you if your on the shitter when the cleaning lady is working. I believe we have three prostitues that come by our building every night on their rounds calling out to us “Senor?” I have all the respect in the world for an honest working girl but I draw the line when its a guy dressed as a girl, isnt that false advertising? Yep its true I went through $2,000 cordobas in 6 days, Im pretty well fucked from here, I think the gang has taken pity on me and buy me rum on a daily basis but if you thought Ron Plata was bad try this shit called Caballio… kicks like a small horse in the teeth and i can run my camp stove off of it.
Day 7: I think someone is reading my journal so I can no longer write the truth so Im making it up from here. Shawn wants to lock Andrew out on the porch to see how red he can get, he’s already gone thermal by now and Im sure he’s under satelite survalence. Oh yeah Shawn is now making me dance for 3 cordobas and 1/3 of a bottle of water, 17 more to go and I can drink a $1 beer from El Timon’ Im stoked!! My Spanish Tutor (parrot) seems angry with my progress and simply screams at me:
Theres this weird looking fushia fruit called Patai that is so good, I just ate some ice cream made from it, its awesome with rum I now regurgetate on a regular basis. Besides that I ate 1 piece of bread today, 41 days to go.
Day 8: Today a huge semi came rolling down the street with people in front of it with these long 2×4’s to lift the power lines over its trailer, the inginuety of these people is staggering. Sarah is mumbling incoherantly obviosly dehydrated from shlefing, she keeps calling for her Mom or Shawn, Im not sure. I might have to palpate her as her pulse feels thready. Andrew is passed out since we started drinking at 9 am its almost 2 or 3 now. Shawn got some good Flora de Cana and some bomb ass pieapple and coconut juice and is making some stiff ones that I think I could do intraveiniously but wouldnt be able to taste it. Once Andrew woke up and Shawn passed out we felt spunky enough to Jenga their doorway with a butt load of interlocking plastic chairs, I hope he doesnt have the shits or he’s screwed.
Day9: Shawn rented a truck so we drove to Playa Madera and Magual surfing spots and are kicking it at this cool place called Matillda’s on the beach. The road up here makes Crow Creek seem like its a freeway. Shawn & Sarah are staying at their freinds house down the road and Andrew is renting out a air conditioned room with a toilet whereas I have opted for the more economical dog house. Good God Man! Andrew almost got slapped by this monkey that was chained up at a store. I am eating leftover spagetti, cooking on outside stove.Ate peanut butter and guava jelly sandwhich with ants which Im used to from Kauai. These mini cabana dog houses seemed like a good idea and the price is right but having been made out of cinder blocks they radiate off the heat they have been absorbing all day all throughout the night, I sit there with a shirt and twirl it around until my arm cramps up, if I open the door Iam massacred by mosquitos. My back is down to its last layer of epidermus and Shawns nose looks like a lunar landing port. Andrew is now I believe red enough to get assistance as a Native American and through it all Sarah’s tits are still white, she lost her top in the surf I had to look away from the glare and now must wear Shawns hideous white framed sunglasses.
Day10: Gheckos are everywhere. the beach here is beautiful except for all the plastic washed up on shore. with every color imaginable, type, and shape. Oil jugs, deodorant cases, baby doll parts, toothpaste roll, lids, forks,insoles,cups,toys, markers, funnels, flip flops, buckets, tooth brushes, medicine bottles, lighters, you name it, its all here on the beach. The creeks and rivers are even worse. The landscape reminds me of what Central California must have been like at one time, the trees here remind me of big black oaks but loftier with vines growing about them. There are wells set up where people do their laundry if not simply in the rivers. I think a botflie just hatched from my arm.
I have mixed feelings about it here in Nica. For one its difficult to communicate and I cant help but think of the difficulty of immigrants in the United States and the challenges they face for everyday task. This country is poor but the people seem happy, I guess they are just happy they are not at war with eachother. The lack of infrastructure is appaling, rolling blackouts, defunct sewage systems, failing roads not to mention the pollution here makes me want to cry and I havent seen one titty bar yet. Besides that its pretty if you can see through all that shit I just mentioned.
Day 13. I jumped in the Ocean when the waves were going out and slammed my face into the bottom, now my neck is all jacked. Not to mention I was attacked by a school of jellyfish so Im experiences facial twitches and my right testicle is swollen. I went to town to check my account and it said $0, I about shit, but Andrew had the same problem. I should have around $350 to make it remainder of time here and head out to Ometepe by bus & ferry to permaculture farm. 1 wafer cookie for breakfast, black bean soup for dinner. Andrew is constantly asking me if I want something to eat, I must be looking emanciated. Shawn & Sarah said its my birthday today and gave me a pair of Ponchorello sunglasses and a bag full of Cordobas and Centavo’s they mustered up between them. I think their trying to pay me off to leave. Another guest at the cabana asked if I wanted some peanut butter, I must be through. Thats nice of them though but I got myself into this situation, Ill figure something out. I have been working on my dancing skills to hustle money on the chicken bus to Ometepe.
Day14: The situation doesnt seem to dire, I mean can a person really die after a month with no food? I dont think so, but it’s going to be hell detoxing when I cant buy anymore rum. I have to stay in my doghouse at night or mosquitos eat me alive and there are these bugs out here that are so small they bite through no see em mesh. One of the German surfers got to drunk and passed out outside, holy shit, it was nasty. He looked like he had lizard skin since he was full of bites everywhere. Its hot as hell in here, With no wind or escape from the heat, reminds me of that movie “Cool Hand Luke” where they lock bad prisoners in a hot box, OMG! Its killing me in here. Down to 1/2 jar peanut butter, 1 sm. jar of jelly, 1/2 loaf of stale bread, 1 bag of noodles, 2 bags of top ramen, 1 bag of premade refried beans. 36 days to go, just like doing time counting down the days. Some people actually come here to vacation, WTF!?
Day 14: Im looking at this mob of mean looking red ants searching for food. Im fighting mosquitos to the death and the Spiders here look like something from Starship Troopers, one ran across the road, I thought it was a rat. Im being attacked from above, below and sideways not to mention this awful heat. My skin is constantly itching and Im not even 1/2 way through it and Im going to have to work in this shit too. Ate 1 pack of cookies w/ guava jelly which taste terrible. I wish a breeze would start, just a little would help.
Day15: Ive mastered the art of origami shit paper folding with one hand in the dark. We are all sunburnt and peeling bad, Im trying to learn how to read the waves coming in. I was thinking of trying to catch and eat some crabs. Some cool surfers chicks are staying here.
Day18: Today is my last day here @ Matillda’s where the surf is up and people are nice. The kitchen lady Marta has been feeding me a little Galla Pinto and tortillas for a few days so I gave her that box of Salmon I brought from Alaska. One morning I woke up on the beach covered in a sand dune, hermit crabs underneath me, obviosly after one hell of a night. Its been nice here but Im ready to make a move. Last night we all went swimming with a lightning storm off in the distance it was breathtaking. In between the lightning it was so dark we told Sarah to use her Breast of Light to show us the way back to the beach.The cresent moon was still out over us with constellations you dont see up in the US. I cant even find the Big Dipper or the North Star but I think you can see Dracos in the early morning so at least Ill know which was to Costa Rica. Shawn & Sarah are headed there to fly out as they are cheaper, they’re Central American trip is coming to an end whereas for Andrew and myself its only just starting. Im not sure what he’s going to do but I dont think it will be working on a farm. I look forward to Ometepe, the twin volcanoe island.