Ciudad Leòn, Leòn, Repùblica de Nicaragua
It´s been a mostly relaxing week…
After leaving the hotel in Chohutecla that I stayed at with the Guatemalans, I quickly made my way to the Nicaraguan border. At first, the hitch hiking was slow. I waited for nearly two hours in one place, with no luck. I did, however, spot two large iguanas frolicking about in a field across the road from me. Unable to resist my reptile-collecting instincts that I´ve had since I was a child, I stashed my pack in the ditch and gave chase.
After half an hour of intense pursuit, I lost the pair somewhere in an old abandonded building with no roof. Then, some old Honduran guy wielding a machete came out and told me to stop poking around on his property. I obliged, wanting to keep my arms.
After returning to the road, I managed to flag down a ride in a short time, though it was only for about twenty kilometers. I was dropped off next to some small children on the side of the road. The children noticed me hitch hiking, and offered me a bit of water. I was glad to accept, but after I finished drinking it, they tried to charge me twenty Limperas for it. As usual, I didn´t have any money, and I told them so. They didn´t seem to belive me, and kept hasseling me.
Whatever. They were only small children, nothing to worry about. At least, that´s what I thought until one of them caught me square in the balls with a well-aimed kick with his size-four shoe. Little fucker.
Anyways, as soon as I was able to breathe again, I flagged down an 18 wheeler and got a lift all the way to the Nicaraguan border. I was anticipating no problems…I had a valid passport, after all. On the Honduran side, I went to the immigration desk, and obtained a small piece of paper that allowed me to cross the bridge. Upon reaching the other side, I visited Nicaraguan immigration to obtain my tourist visa.
Everything was going just peachy, until the man behind the desk demanded seven dollars from me, which, as you all know, I didn´t have. I argued with him for several minutes, until I told him, Fine! wait a second and I´ll go and find seven dollars.
After searching in vain for about half an hour, another man from Nicaraguan immigration came out with my passport and escorted me back to Honduras. Fuck me.
So then I´m back in Honduras. I just sat on the side of the road and fumed for a bit, until some Honduran guy walked up and asked me what I was doing. I explained my situation to him, and he seemed to sympathize. He thought for a bit, and then told me that he liked my shoes. A lot.
So I thought for a minute, took them off, and told him they were his for seven dollars. He examined them for a moment, and told me he´ll give me three. But do I have anything else?
Hondurans drive a hard bargian. I had to give him my shoes, the shorts I was wearing, a few t-shirts, my first-aid kit, my razor, and my boonie cap. Fortunately, I did have back-up boots to wear, though they are on their last legs.
So now I had seven dollars, plus about forty Cordóbas extra because the guy felt sorry for me, I guess. So I go back to cross the bridge. The Nicaraguan immigration guy that escorted me back to Honduras tried to stop me, but I rudely waved my seven dollars in his face and kept walking.
I went back to the immigration desk, got my visa, and jetted out of there. I stopped for a bit at a roadside food stand and got some grub. It was there I met my British friend Derrick. He is forty, a construction worker back near Liverpool and Manchester in England, and is doing a three month journey from México to Panamá. I chatted with him for a bit, (he has a very thick northern accent that made him difficult to understand at first…he uses terms like “me Mum” and “lad…” Plus, after hearing that I´m hitchin´it and bummin´it, he called me a “cheeky fucker…” I quite like it, actually… ) and then he needed to leave so as he could catch the bus. I bid him farewell, figuring I´d never see the guy again in my life. He dissapered onto the bus, and I started hitch hiking.
I got a few very short rides totalling no more than five kilometers, followed by one very long ride for several hours all the way to the city of León. I was dropped of somewhere in the middle of the city. I wandered around for about an hour and a half, trying to find my way back to the highway so as I could find some bush on the side of the road to curl up under, as it was nearly nine o´clock and very dark.
I was walking along some random street when I saw a bus pull up and start unloading it´s passengers. I paid no notice, until, lo and behold, my British friend Derrick stepped off! Holy Queen Elizabeth!
I had beaten him to León by nearly two hours via hitch hiking. That´s gotta be one for the record books. I went up to him and said hi, and we chilled for a bit. Then he told me that he was taking a taxi to a hostel near here, and would I like to come? I told him I didn´t have any money, but he said it was all right, because he´s a fucking nice guy.
So we went to the hostel, which was called Bigfoot. It was very nice, with a small indoor pool, a billiard table, hammocks, a kitchen, and lots and lots of gringos!
The first night was relatively uneventful, though I met lots of people from all over the world, including:
1) A pair of Austrian girls in their late teens with identical lip rings
2) A Dutch girl who worked there, and who is also a tour guide in Centroamérica
3) Allison, a beautiful French girl of about twenty years of age with a penchant for undressing in front of everybody
4) Christine, a funny and also beautiful American from Florida who is twenty five years of age, and lives in San Fransisco and works as a waitress
5) A long haired Nicaraguan who looks like Fabio and whom I don´t like, for reasons I can´t put my finger on
6) A German/Translvanian named Edward, whom I call Dracula, and whose computer I am using now.
7) Another British guy whose name escapes me, and who owns a company in England that makes iPhone apps
8) A pair of Belgians, one of them a super hot girl and the other a very nice but very nerdy guy who is inexplicably married to the hot girl
9) Many different Kanuks
10) A Hungarian fellow who is super nice, but who talks so softly I can barely hear him
The first night, Derrick and I simply got some food and went to bed. The second day, we lounged around in the hammocks all day, and Derrick told me stories of his world travels, which are extensive and include full moon parties on the beach in Thiland, opium dens in Cambodia, and being arrested and thrown into jail in a gulag town in Russia for being drunk on the train. Later, after it cooled down a bit, went to visit La Veinteuno (The 21) ann old decomissioned Nicaraguan prison that was used to torture it´s own citizens in unspeakable ways for nearly sixty years.
Next day, me, Derrick, and Dracula went to the beach at a place called the Surfin´ Turtle Lodge, and nearly missed our bus back to the hostel.
The fourth day was Friday, and me, Derrick, Dracula, and that other British guy got drunk and had some friendly fist fights in our dorm room. I lost horribly to all three Europeans. Granted, they all had nearly twenty years on me, and about as many pounds, but you had to give me props for trying.
After that was Saturday, and we did nothing all day until the evening, when me, Derrick, and Dracula went to an outdoor reagge concert for a bit. We had a few beers, and then Dracula said he was tired and went back to the hostel. Derrick and I went to a black light party at one of the local clubs.
The following part of my story contains illicit drug use. I am forced to write about it in an attempt to give my readers a fully encompassing expirience of my journey. I know you´ll be dissapointed, Ma, Dad, and others, but that´s just the way it goes, I guess. Just know that I don´t make a habit out of it.
*End of Disclaimer*
So we are in the club, and there´s loud music, black lights, and people dancing about. We decide that we want to make our night a bit more interesting, so we waste no time looking for the guy that is selling drugs. After about twenty minutes of asking random people “Tu vendes drugas?” we find a guy. He tells us that he can get us cocaine for two hundred cordóbas a gram. However, we need to give him the money whilst he goes in a taxi to go and get it. Me and Derrick decide that we don´t trust him enough to let him run off with the money, so Derrick waits in the club while I accompany our friend in the taxi, as I speak Spanish and Derrick doesn´t.
We go in the taxi, drive around for a bit, and the driver stops at this shady looking street corner and a bunch of guys run up and asks what he needs. Apparently, this isn´t the drivers first stop here on this night.
They heckle at the price a bit, and I give him the money and he gives me the coke. No problem. We go back to the club, and Derrick gives the fellow the money for the cab.
After about an hour and a half and several trips each to the bathroom, all the drugs have dissapered up our noses. Several beers later, we decide that we want some more.
I tell Derrick that there´s no need to find that guy in the club again, because then we´ll have to pay for his taxi once more. I convince him to just walk with me to the street corner where they were selling it and get it ourselves, and save a bit of money.
So he agrees, and we set off. After about twenty minutes of walking about, we are unable to find the same people. However, we do see a group of four other guys who look like they probably know where to find some. So I ask them, and they are glad to take us there.
We arrive at the street corner, buy the coke (the guy charges us thirty cordóbas extra because we´re white) and leave. Suddenly, the people who showed us where the street corner was start asking us for more money, since they showed us where it was. We didn´t have any money left, and told them so, but they kept demending a hundred cordóbas. Finally, after one of them started grabbing my shirt and pushing me, Derrick and I took off running down the street and managed to lose them. This is a good thing, because those guys looked like they were probably packing heat.
So we go back to the club for a bit, and melt the rest of the snow. I dance a bit, and then we go back to the hostel, our hearts beating nearly a hundred miles an hour from a combination of the drugs and the adrenaline rush that came from eluding our Nicaraguan friends in the street. Phew.
Later, we crash out. Derrick leaves the next day to go to Managua, and I plan on meeting him again in Grenada once I leave tomorrow.
Here´s to many more interesting tales and a continued lack of bullets in my body…
The Modern Nomad, AKA Cheeky Fucker
EDIT SEPT 2011: Ha! Despite the fact that we were in a horribly nice tourist hostal, León brings back good memories with “The General” and the mad Nicaraguans. Next up: I continue to blaze my way south through Central America, and one day learn the meaning of the words “That’s probably a bad idea.” Haha.