Travel from Pearl Lagoon to Juigalpa – January 11, 2013

We woke up at 4am to make sure we were packed.  We had to be at the bus stop for 5am as the bus leaves between 5-6am.  Nobody really knew what time it leaves but everyone says be ther by 5am. So we were.

By 5:15am we were heading out.  The bus driver was kind enough to blast his horn all the way through the small town to let everyone know he was leaving.

It was a bumpy road and I had high hopes that it would get better… it never did.  Our window was falling out and even when closed had a 2cm opening at the top.  Also there was a piece of metal tucked onto the side between our seat and the seat in front of us.  When we pulled it out a little bit, we realized the bus had a big hole in the side of it.  With the emergency exit in the seat in front of us, the window panels rocked back and forth with the bumps in the road and Kristi was certain the whole panel would fall out.  I found all of this quite entertaining.

90 minutes into the ride, it started to rain… hard.  People couldn’t get their windows to stay up, the roof was leaking, somehow our feet were getting wet and there was a broken window where water was pouring in but a guy that worked for the bus hung a towel over it. We knew we were in for a long ride.

We stopped after 2 hours at a rest spot where some people bought food.  10 minutes after we left, our trip was made.  Climbing up a tree right in the front of the jungle was a sloth! It was just such a cool sight to see it climbing slowly up the tree and all of a sudden the crappy ride was awesome.

At 10:15am we arrived in El Rama.  It was supposed to be a 3.5 hour bus ride, not a 5 hour bus ride but the bus didn’t break down or fall apart and we got a great ride through the jungle.  Plus it was 150 cords each where the panga’s cost us 250 cord to Bluefields and 165 to Pearl Lagoon so we saved like $11 each by going this way.  We quickly found a bathroom and our bus to Juigalpa.  We had 15 mins before the bus left so we quickly grabbed food and prepared ourselves for a 6 hour bus ride.  Our bags were too big to fit on the shelves above our heads so we had to put them at our feet and sit cross-legged on top of them.  This bus was 80 cords each but the guy told Kristi we would arrive at 9:30pm.  My face dropped.  We left at 10:30am… how slow is this bus? From Managua to El Rama it is 6 hours.  From Managua to Juigalpa is like 2.5 hours.  If we stay of proper pace, it should be a 3.5 hour bus.  It’s not express so I understand if it ends up being 6 hours depending on stops and how fast the driver goes… but 11 hours? Ugh.

Fortunately Kristi spoke to another passenger who said we would be in Juigalpa by 2:30pm and that Kristi must have heard the worker wrong.  I relax and enjoy the ride.

We had multiple stops where lots of people got off but were replaced by lots more.  But before they could get on, the people working at the bus station selling stuff would pile in and announce what they were selling.  Mangos, papaya, soda, belts, wallets, baked goods, tortillas, medications, etc.  If there was a shitter on the bus, you would never have to leave.  These people come to you!

At one stop a guy started talking at the front.  He was selling a crappy sewing kit but was doing his own infomercial.  “You have this fantastic pair of scissors and even if you don’t sew you can use them to cut paper, hair, and use them to open packages.  Plus you get all of this extra all for 25 cords.  What a great deal” He then went on to pull out “silver” chains, pens, razors and 100% hemp medication.  I think I’m going to do this on busses at home and start my own business selling potatoes, socks, belts and power tools.  It works for Nicaraguans…

The day went by pretty smoothly and the bus driver let us know when to get off the bus.  I wasn’t going to write about this but seeing a sloth in the wild and the entertainment on the chicken bus was too good not to share.  11 hours since we woke up and we were relaxing in a great little hotel in Juigalpa.

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