Florida to Nicaragua Road Trip #10: Chinandega, Nicaragua to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua (aka HOME)

Dear Reader,

I am writing to you from my bed in my home. John and I arrived this afternoon. We are really tired. And super jazzed (if such a thing is possible when one is really tired) to be home.

The morning started at our hotel in Chinandega. We were the only clients in the hotel and discovered that our toilet didn’t have any water in the tank after we’d already gone to bed. Oh well, John noticed there were bathrooms in the lobby if we had to do anything more than pee.

I thought of checking to see if the water valve was shut off because that would be an easy fix. But if they’d shut the valve off purposely to prevent a flood, we certainly didn’t want to inadvertently start a flood in the middle of the night by turning it on. So we left it alone.

When I mentioned the toilet issue to the gal at the front desk this morning, she said “Oh, you should’ve asked the night staff to turn your toilet’s water valve on. We always shut them off in between guests.”

Hmm. Live and learn.

We asked the gal to open the large red parking entrance door to the street so we could leave and we were off.

The streets of Chinandega were busy with bicycle carts and bicycles. Horse carts and pedestrians. Small cars in various states of repair and buses heaped to the gills. Our sea kayaks, Miss Pink and Baby Blue, provoked a few stares.

Once we got to Leon, we were on familiar roads all of the way home.

Nicaragua has well-maintained roads. The biggest driving issue is the disparity of speed employed the variety of vehicles sharing the roads. Consequently, there’s a lot of passing, and unlike the roads in Mexico for the huge shoulders to assist with passing, Nicaragua’s shoulders are minimal. And the ones that exist are occupied by bicyclists, stopped cars, grazing horses and chickens.

We saw several trucks and cars that had just broken down in the middle of the road.

And a horse cart carrying mattresses.

Also, unlike the other countries which seem to have lax law enforcement or much of a police presence at all on the roads, Nicaragua has police on foot at strategic locations all along the highways, just waiting for someone to cross the solid yellow line in order to get around the horse cart.

And getting a ticket sucks. Well, even the threat of getting a ticket sucks. Because they take your license and give you a temporary document to use in the interim. To get your license back, you have to go to the local police station in the town where they took your ticket and pay your fine. But only after the policeman has turned your confiscated license in, which could be at the end of his shift. If you are traveling, or God forbid going to the airport to catch a flight, you don’t have the luxury of hanging around the local town until the policeman turns your license in so you can pay your fine to get it back.

John was real careful today looking for policemen each time he crossed the solid yellow line to pass.

And maybe it’s because of all of the Central American driving we’ve done in the past week, but today the driving in Managua didn’t seem as congested or as crazy as typical. Before we knew it we were through the city, with an obligatory stop at the new Walmart Superstore on the way out for groceries and supplies.

By early afternoon we were in San Juan del Sur. The guests who’d been staying in our house left this morning and our housekeeper was at our house cleaning, so rather than heading straight home we went to Rojo Loco on the beach for a celebratory beer and lunch.

Yes, that’s beer on ice with a slice of lime. It’s actually very good.

The sea was calm and would’ve been perfect to put our boats in the water but we were too plumb tired. Miss Pink and Baby Blue will just have to wait. Time to go home. Unpack the groceries. Write this blog. Climb in bed and go to sleep.

We are alive.

We are healthy.

We are adventurers.

Cheers,

Susana

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