Volcanoes, borders and another crap capital

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So we were beginning to feel a little disillusioned by Central America... nothing hit us as spectacular so far... maybe its just that we travelling too much or have a bit of travel overload after South America but we hoping for something better in Nicaruaga.

Here goes our 4 day experience in Nicaruaga.. what an experience it turned out to be... the quickest way to get from Costa Rica was to get a boat down the river to Nicaruaga and then we had decided to get the 12hr ferry from San Carlos to bring us the volcanic island of Isla del Ometepe...

Arrived in San Carlos with $35 dollars in our pocket... forgot to go to bank machine in Costa Rica.. we thought no worries we we get one in San Carlos.... no such luck.... so we get to immigration and they charge us $28 to enter into Nicaruaga.... i politely hang over the money and ask where can i find an ATM... to which he replies there is none... i ask where is the nearest one... 10hrs by bus and there is none on the island which we are planning to go.... disaster has landed.... i explain our situation to the immigration officer but he refuses to give our money back.....so we have $7.. nowhere to stay and are hungry.... this lovely woman lets us stay in her single bed for $5...$ 2 dollars left.... getting really irritated....

Nobody will give us a cash advance on our credit card....Nicaruaga defo not geared towards the tourist market yet.... only Mastercard excepted in restaurants and we have a Visa... so hungry and trying to figure out how the hell we are going to get out of this shithole border town....

Then a glimpse of hope.. we spot a Western Union... its 2am back home.. ring Stephens Dad who happens to be in Spain and we get cut off....  $0.50 left... brainwave no time difference between here and Los Angeles.. hopefully my brother will be on line... thankfully he is...he manages to save our life and transfers money within 10 minutes... we run back down to the Western Union office who inform us they are closed for the day.. i beg her to help us out... even shed a few tears for the cause... she says to come back at 7:30 am following day.. we go back to our single bed despondent and did i mention starving.....

Next morning we are rich again and get the hell out of that town to embark on the slowest ferry ever to the volcanic island... 12hrs later we arrive at our destination... grumpy and tired... 1am trying to find a hotel room on an island the size of the Aran Islands... not fun... meet Italian couple who are spending honeymoon at this hotel and we decide the only option is get a ride with them and see can we get a room..... cheaper hostel next door... but no answer... have to splash out and stay in fancy hotel...

We move to cheaper hostel... really nice place right on the beach with views of the two volcanoes.... things are beginning to look up... apart from the food on the island.. really bad quality... got beef for lunch and chewed on one piece for 1 hr before we gave up.... just chilled out in hammocks for the day...

Following day decide to try our case at horseriding to check out the volcanoes and the petroglyps... beautiful scenery and Stephen was like Clint Eastwood booming it down the beach... and i was walking like Clint Eastwood the next day...sore was not the word..

Then the dreaded moment... back to the mainland to get a bus to the capital city Managua to get a long distance bus to Guatemala... wish we could spend more time checking out Nicaruaga...

People werent lying when they told us the capital cities were places to avoid... Managua was awful... it all started negotiating with taxi ride to bring us to the other bus station... Central America they think it is alright to charge per person so $4 for one person or $16 for 4 people... so they crush you into taxi like cattle... i tried to explain that i would rather get a taxi by myself than share for same price.... eventually I get him down from $16 for 4 people to $4.

Then as my temper is beginning to calm down I realise need to get another taxi to bank machine to pay for bus tickets to Guatemala.. negotiate a return fare with taxi driver for $2... they when he drops me back he demands $4.... this is when i lose the plot... i said we agreed on $2.. he insists $4... so it ends up i throw $2 at him and slam his door so hard that i think its off the hinges.... taxi driver is angry but we even more angrier.... he decides to back down... i tell him to politely piss and stop ripping tourists off in my best Spanish.... doubt it will work but God lover a trier...

Stay right beside bus station as our bus is at 4am the next morning.... walk down street at 5pm to get food as we want to be back before dark..... even in daylight groups are just eying you, looking for their next victim, police sirens everywhere.... the owner of hotel offers to  wake us up at 4am for bus... fine until a knock comes at our door at 1:30am.... he continues to knock until groups of travellers congregate in hallway asking is it really only 1:30am... yes it is... angry Martina erupts again... i ask the guy why he is waking us up so early,.... he tells us to get up and get ready for bus.... i explain it does not take 3 and a half hours to get ready... he starts pointing his finger at me to leave hotel for bus .... i grab his finger and very angrily tell not to dare knock on my door again... instead we ask the Israelis next door to wake us up at 4am.

Getting a little worried as I am normally so calm and laid back but these Central American capitals are bringing out the worst in me....

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