My Final Days in Nicaragua

So I posted this blog yesterday… and it didn’t show up.  It’s not in my drafts and I didn’t have a rough copy of it so now I will post it again.

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We wrapped up our final day in Leon very hungover because of the partying we decided to do the night prior.  We grabbed lunch on Shoe street and walked over to Quetzaltrekkers.  Most of the volunteers were gone as there was a hike that left that morning.  I’m not sure what kind of shape they were in for that, I’m sure it was a fun day.

We donated our little netbook and our cell phone to them and said goodbye to the couple people that were still at the office.  It was time to head to Managua for our final two nights.  Kristi’s parents offered to put us up in a nice hotel so that we could relax for the little bit of time that we had left.  We happily accepted and Kristi’s mom found a place with great reviews on Trip Adviser and arranged the accommodation.

We arrived at Hotel Mozonte around 3:30pm and were happy to have hot showers, air conditioning, and a big swimming pool for us to lounge around.  Unfortunately our first shower was cold.  We asked the front desk and the guy apologized and said he would check the gas tank.  We decided to hit the pool to catch the last little bit of sun for the day.  Unfortunately the way the Hotel is set up, it blocks the sun as it starts to fade and 4pm is when it’s shaded and the pool is very cold.  Probably the coldest pool in Nicaragua.

The restaurant opened at 6pm so we sat down and ordered dinner.  The food is fantastic there. We shared mozzarella sticks and I had the Pollo al Vino and Kristi had chicken in a mushroom sauce.   We went back to the room full and happy, had a hot shower, watched TV in our air conditioned room and fell asleep.

We woke up at 8am and went for our complimentary breakfast.  They had a buffet set up for us with scrambled eggs, gallo pinto, bacon, pancakes, toast, two random meat dishes, fresh fruit, coffee and real orange juice.  It was an awesome spread and everything we ate was delicious. We hit up the pool afterwards to relax for the day.

I told Kristi I wouldn’t mind it being overcast all day because it’s still warm and you can get good rays. Kristi said if I jinxed her final day, she’ll hate me forever.  80% of the day was overcast. I win.

It was nice to just relax and do nothing.  We lounged beside and in the pool, played crib, went for a walk, ate lunch, hung out by the pool some more and then I watched the Super Bowl.  Watching the Super Bowl in Spanish sucks.  I don’t understand half of what the commentators are saying and the commercials are just normal Spanish commercials that aren’t funny.  They’re for back pain and openenglish.com.  Then to top it all off, the 49ers lost.  Glad I wasn’t at home to make a bet with anyone.  Oh and that hold was bullshit.

We had another great dinner that night.  We both had the Chicken in Jalapeno sauce.  This is a very typical Nica dish that I have grown to love during my stay here so it was pretty fitting that I enjoyed it as my final meal in Nicaragua.  When you think of jalapeno, you think spicy.  However, the Nicas do not like spice at all.  Everything is too spicy for them so what they do is remove the seeds and make a cream sauce so it’s mild but utilizes the flavor of the jalapenos without the heat.  I like heat but this is still really good.

I went to bed after the Super Bowl ended as we had a wake up call for 4am the following morning.  When that phone rang, neither of us were pleased.  We showered and finished packing before our shuttle picked us up at 5am.  We arrived at 5:30am and learned that you don’t need to be at the airport 2 hours before your international flight in Managua.  It’s a small airport and you just coast through security quite quickly.  That was okay, we grabbed a light bite to eat and a $3 coffee and walked around to kill some time.  Our first flight went by quickly as we played crib most of the flight and spent the final hour talking to the friendly family next to us.  The kids didn’t have anything to keep them entertained so we gave them our 2nd deck of cards since we had no use for it.  They were from Toronto but the wife was originally from Nicaragua so they were visiting her family.  It’s always nice when you have friendly company on board and time seems to go by much quicker.

We breezed through customs in Houston in about an hour which was nice because we still had 2 hours before our next flight.  We had lunch, walked around, and before we knew it, it was 2:15pm and time to board our next flight.

As soon as we got into the air, the captain said we would be landing about 20 minutes early.  I like his style. Again we spent the majority of our flight playing crib and chatting.  Finally we struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to us.  There was a bit of a strange back story to this.  We missed our bus from Managua to San Juan del Sur a couple weeks ago and jumped on a bus to Granada to spend the night there.  On the bus, this random white guy jumped on part way through the trip, put his backpack at the front and found a seat just as a local would.  He was wearing pants and a nice shirt, dressed and acted as a local so we were trying to figure out whether he was maybe from Nicaragua or if he had moved here or if he was just a very adaptable traveler.  The same guy was on our flight to Houston from Managua and I mentioned it to Kristi.  It was pretty easy recognizing him and he stuck out because of our original encounter.

He was sitting right beside us on the plane to Seattle.  Turns out he’s a professor in one of the Universities there and has been for the past 5 years.  He’s originally from the states and was on his way to Seattle to attend a conference.  Really nice guy and very easy to talk to.  This again helped our flight go by very quickly.

We landed in Seattle just after 5pm and were met by my parents.  My dad looked up a restaurant on his GPS.  Unfortunately, my brother and I bought him that GPS 8 years ago and he’s never once upgraded the maps.  We drove around aimlessly through Seattle for an hour before finally jumping back on the I5 and going to the Red Lobster in Everett.  We arrived home shortly after 10pm, unpacked, showered and went to bed.

It was a long day of travel but everything went very smoothly, we met some very nice people and had about as fun of a day as you can have when you have 8 hours of air time.

This is a trip that I will never forget.  We spent 63 days together without a single fight.  We had times where we were grumpy but it was usually because we were hungry or tired and not actually mad at each other.  I am very grateful that I have this wonderful girlfriend who encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, get my hands dirty and travel the way she loves to.  I have a feeling that this was the first adventure of many to come.

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