Big walk and sandbags.

Trip Start Oct 31, 2008
Trip End Jul 01, 2009

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Saturday, December 27, 2008

Everyone LOVES Ometepe Island. It has a relaxed vibe, lovely beaches and normally fills up a week of peoples Nicaragua experience. This one canīt fail to increase our enjoyment of this country. Can it!

Unfortunately for us and maybe Nicaragua, in our eyes, the weather was horrendous. Which the photos attest to. The wind was up, the beaches swamped and most accommodations deserted. The island itself is very impressive. Two huge Volcanoes rise out of the lake and can be reached by a boat from near Rivas. The buses round the island are infrequent to be kind, which resulted in us refusing to sit and wait an hour + for the 2nd bus required to take us to our destination. The walk ended up a monster, over an hour on difficult terrain for more than 5 Kms. The bus passed us just as we arrived sweating and being rained on at our accommodation but we had enjoyed the exercise.

Well. the room was okay and the mozzies were plentiful but we had a fun night, but with the weather as it was we decided to cut our losses with Nicaragua and planned our escape for early the next morning.

4.30 rise to get the early boat back saw 9 of us being ripped off by the driver (not an uncommon happening in this country or in the rest of our day) but the hour and the fact the boat was leaving saw only the two of us putting up a protest. On dry land we caught a cab with another couple back to Rivas. Increasing our ire, the driver tried everything to get us to let him take us straight to the boarder for a princely sum or more annoyingly insisting upon us that on Sundays theres no regular bus service to the boarder and the only bus going was the international bus which, surprise, only he had tickets for. Shouting and door slamming commenced and we ended up stepping straight on a local bus to Costa Rica as we had planned!! Noticing, as we sat down, an equally wound up gringo couple to our left sitting in silence.

The boarder could and should have been a straight forward affair with some simple steps.

Step 1: Arrive after the easy journey.

Step 2: Changed some money.

Step 3: Wait in a long Queue to get our passports stamped to leave the country, obviously paying for the privilege.

Step 4: A wet and muddy walk to Costa Rica, on which we saw the stressed couple from the bus looking murderous heading back after receiving some duff information.

Step 5 Get to immigration. all going swimmingly Nadia stamped and in the country and Vinny.........they had only stamped Nadia's passport!!!!!! FOR FOOOOOOOOK SAKE NICARAGUA what an analogy for our entire experience. We were know stuck in 2 different countries.

Step 6:(getting more unconventional) Back to the other boarder with both mine and Nadia's Passports. Risking lynching, forcing my way to the front of the queue and slamming the empty passport against the glass, sheepishly stamped on my way.

Step 7: Explinations to every figure of authority on the way back who just couldnīt understand why I a random women's ID! Maybe it was fire in my eye or utter despair but eventually, muddied, I was back to Nadia.

Step 8: Leave enough time before bording a bus for Nadia to ask a boarder guard "Do you know the way to San Jose" and watch his top lip curl into a sneer!

Oh Well.......................onwards.

PS That stressed couple, who turned out to be French which made sense, twice had to go back to the Nicaraguan side for one thing or another and had a very similar view on there time in the country as us. Complete with a robbery.
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