on the scene in Nicaragua...too
by, 18-08-2011 at 02:02 PM (1750 Views)
What can one say about Rivas? A crack den of thieves comes to my mind (minus the crack) after my recent adventure in Nicaragua. Please do not spend any time there, cross the boarder early in the morning and high tail it to Ometepe as fast as a taxi (pop-started) can take you!
Take a taxi but be aware the driver more than likely will try to over charge you on the fare. From Rivas center to the ferry the cost should be about fifty cents (as of April 10’)- I was charged three dollars, which like a schmuck, I gleefully paid after spending the previous night in hell ( I have no love for Rivas)- So my advice to you is to know the cost of the fare first (ask at the “hotel” or someone in a soda) or make it a habit of stalling payment of the driver until you can get the correct price from someone on the street or in a restaurant, Again I learned this the hard way. This goes for exchanging currency at the border as well. Know the exchange rate ( http://www.bcn.gob.ni/) before you even get on the Tica bus, this will give you monetary leverage when at the border and dealing with black market money changers- Hopefully, you’ll get to the border earlier than I did and not on a Sunday night ; the official exchange was closed at this time forcing me to deal with the sketchy money changers-
Once you land in Ometepe ignore the taxi drivers (super expensive,$20) and walk like you know where you’re going (this works in New York too.), at the top of the street you will see a “bus stop” on your right. The wait is about a half an hour for the buses here and they seem to time their stops with the ferry, so chances are they’ll be a bus waiting for you. Take the bus to Altagracia, in Altagracia you’ll be dropped off at a trippy little park that kinda looks like something the Beatles would have built if they were Nicaraguan park developers and not the greatest rock band ever. The wait for the next bus is about 45 minutes. Get on the bus and get off at Santo Domingo, a beautiful, secluded, “white” sand beach awaits you. Being a Zen nomad I totally stumbled upon this place by chance ( or divine intervention ).
After my previous night of staying in “the crack house of horrors” (minus the crack), Dayquil ( or the Central American equivalent, traveling sick sucks.) and overall environmental trauma, I let the universe take over as my guide….this letting go might have been a result of the medicine, tough to say now, regardless something else was leading me on! We’d been traveling all day from Rivas to the ferry, from the ferry to the island, from the bus to the next bus on route to Santa Cruz, a destination I chose out of childhood nostalgia for the popular skateboard town I longed to move to while California day dreaming through many a Massachusetts winter . But during the grueling bus trip I began to have second thoughts, “ for the love of god why did I not research this trip?” “why didn‘t I ask about the price of the taxi first?” “I never asked to be born!” “there is no Nietzsche!” “how was I to know she was a man?!?” Again, maybe it was the “Dayquil”, whatever brought on this dark afternoon of the soul I knew I would have to see this trip through; #1) the necessity of renewing my visa, I was already overdue…illegal. #2) my girlfriend was even more overdue…5 months. #3) the story that would come from this, if I lived and #4) the need for Nicaragua to redeem itself to me, to chase away all the phantoms that danced around me while I tried to sleep that night before, to pick me up and coddle me, to kiss away my tears and tell me in delicate, broken English “everything is a go to be alright“.[ Folks, stay away from even the “over the counter” stuff when traveling in Central America.]
As we were getting closer to Santa Cruz we began to pass the small beach village of Santo Domingo, a shack w/ a vegetarian menu (chalkboard) spoke to my soul, the 11th commandment (!) “Thou shall not eat tasteless, typical Nicaraguan ‘cuisine’ no mas!”- That was the first sign (literally). Then I caught a gander of the beach scene, reminiscent of a Hawaiian postcard pinned to my wall back home in the states, little shade shacks littered the beach, and gentle waves lapped at the shoreline. My heart skipped a few beats and I may have peed myself a little out of pure excitement.. “Lets stop here!” I said in a stage whisper to my girlfriend, who sat beside me cool, calm and collected as ever. She looked at the map she kept in her bag. “Well Santa Cruz is close enough to walk back to if we don’t like it.” she was dedicated to getting to Santa Cruz by default now, I cursed skateboards. I tried to relax and ignore the mirage. Then, at that very moment the bus came to a grinding halt, confusion. I was asked to move by the driver, which I did gladly, I was practically sitting on his lap anyways. As he was checking the engine (which was located inside the bus), I grabbed my girlfriend by the hand and dragged her off that smoking, beast of a vehicle.
“ This is a sign from god!” I cried as my eyes swelled up.
“You don’t believe in god.” she said flatly as she stumbled on the dusty dirt road next to me.
“god with a lowercase ‘g’ baby. Lets check this scene out…we can’t ignore fate!” finding sense in my incoherent ramblings she fell inline behind me, still looking at me like I drank the water out of the tap. We checked into a hotel on the beach ‘ Finca Santo Domingo’, and that is where we stayed for the rest of our time in Nicaragua. Sometimes it’s more important to listen to the universe than your partner, it’s bigger and gives you less chances to get it right.
TO BE CONTINUED…