Saturday morning we said our goodbyes to Mark and Mirielle and climbed into our taxi for the 2.5 hour drive to Managua for our 3:40PM flight. I was feeling really rough, but at least I was keeping Gatorade down.
There are definitely benefits when you travel with a doctor. Shannon had given me some medicine that completely knocked me out, so I slept for much of the drive. We arrived in Managua around 1PM and checked in early, then Shannon and Mindy parked me in the waiting area with our carry-ons and went off to partake in some last-minute shopping. I promptly fell asleep across our daypacks.
When our flight finally boarded it was already late so we were delayed getting into Miami. Not good since we had to clear customs, pick up our bags, and get to our connecting flights in a very short timeframe. We would have made it without problem if it weren’t for American Airlines. After all the bags had come and gone, about 30 of us were left waiting and waiting and waiting – we were also the same people who had checked in early. AA kept saying “the bags are on their way”, but after 30 minutes of waiting they finally said that the bags didn’t make the flight. We were pretty ticked off. Even more ticked off when we left the area to declare our missing bags, and were then told we had to declare them at our final destination, and then had to pass through security AGAIN. We – who are pretty laid-back travelers – were seriously stressed out. Granted that there are worse things than being stuck in Miami, but being stuck in Miami to travel on the Sunday after Thanksgiving is really not what we wanted.
But somehow we made it. Shannon sweet-talked someone in security to expedite us through, and she just made her flight in time for boarding. Mindy and I had to run to ours (after I’d been stopped because of the Clinique eye makeup remover I’d bought in Duty Free, that was more than 3oz) and then discovered that our flight was delayed 15 minutes – then 45 minutes – then 2 hours.
I got home at 2:45 in the morning, filthy, sick and without bags. But at least I was home!
Sunrise brought the sound of howler monkeys swinging through the trees. I mean, really. Life is hard and someone must put up with these difficulties. *sigh* I suppose we’ll have to make due with such atrocities as furry, noisy neighbors, along with the sound of the waves breaking on the beach and the occasional breeze ruffling the mosquito net around the bed. It’s a real hardship.
Mirielle had prepared a lovely breakfast of eggs, fruit, yogurt, and toast. We filled up because we needed our energy for the tough day ahead at the beach.
Thanksgiving Day in Nicaragua
A very clear Concepcion (more…)
One of the main reasons we wanted to come to Isla de Ometpe was to climb one of its two volcanos: Volcan Concepción is 1610 meters tall, and lush green with a cloud-topped peak. I have a friend who was here a few years ago, though he was on a “Search and Recovery” mission to find and return the bodies of two missing American hikers. Chris made me promise that if we did the volcano we would (1) get a guide, and (2) leave really early.
Kathy’s Waffle House
We splurged for a breakfast outside the hotel this morning at a well-known local joint called “Kathy’s Waffle House”. As one would expect, it’s the place for expats to hang out on a morning in Granada and we enjoyed our breakfasts before Antonio to pick us up for the drive to the ferry at San Jorge.
Mindy, expressing her morning caffeine preference
When we arrived in Granada, Mindy perused the various brochures of activities in and around Granada, and she pulled out a thin slip that said “Ride a Painted Pony”.
“Here,” she gave it to me, laughing. “You should do this.” I laughed too, and then looked a little closer at what it offered. Because what really is a “painted pony ride”? It had nothing to do with painted ponies but was rather a horseback ride through “Los Pueblos Blancos” (the White Towns). We signed up for a morning of horses and backcountry.
We started the day at the Café Chocolate for breakfast. Mindy had an omelet with salsa, I had a ham-egg-and-cheese croissant, and Shannon had a Spanish sausage and cheese croissant, but since she didn’t like her Spanish sausage and I did we swapped meat. Which sounds slightly wrong but was very sanitary, I promise.
At 9:00 our driver, Antonio, arrived to take us on our day trek around the area. First stop was a trip to Volcan Mombacho.
About six months ago, after the thrill of Antarctica had settled down and wanderlust had again taken hold, Mindy, Shannon and I had a phone call to discuss potential destinations over Thanksgiving week. We had four requirements for this destination:
1) None of us had ever been there
2) Passport was required
3) The plane ticket had to be less than $400 round trip
4) The plane ride that was feasible for a one-week trip