Successful Letter Delivery, Bad Bus Rides
Trip Start Feb 03, 2006
37Trip End Jun 20, 2006
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At our hotel, there was this "guard dog" that really didnīt look like a Nica dog. We learned that he, Traveller, is actually a champion frisbee dog from the US. His owner died, and the guy that runs our hotel sort of adopted him. Quite strange to see a dog that knows so many tricks, and all to English commands! We bought him a ball but he seems to be devoted to guarding the place, and showed absolutely no interest in playing with it.
Our last night in Esteli, we met what must be the sketchiest gringo yet. He claimed to be a retired Nuclear Engineer from Washington, and a founder of Britt Coffee, a large Costa Rican chain
After leaving Esteli, we headed north. We had to go to the village of Santa Teresa to deliver letters from Brady, Joy, and Howard Hamilton. Brady was in the Peace Corps there, and has had a hard time getting letters through, so we acted as his postal service.
We arrived in the nearest town of any size, Condega, just after the bus had left for Santa Teresa. Rather than wait around for four hours, we decided to hire a taxi. Good decision. The taxi driver helped us get to each house we needed to get to, acting as our translator when we couldnīt figure out clipped Nicaraguan Spanish pronunciations. We were able to get letters to everyone Brady had listed, and we picked up a bunch to get back to Brady. Everyone in town was psyched to get the notes, and thrilled that we were there for Brady
After the letters were delivered, our cab driver got us back to Condega, but on the way back to town a guy got in the taxi with a 9mm tucked into his waistband. When he got out of the taxi, the taxi driver paid him, not vice versa. Very very strange.
After Condega, we went on to Ocotal, where we spent the night. We went out to a bar-restaurant for a snack, and were accosted by a very slight girl who wanted to practice her English (evidently there arenīt very many gringos in Ocotal). She kept calling Andrew a flirt, and "the brother of Bill Clinton", with whom she was very enamored. She explained to us that Nicaraguan men are shady and she shall never have a boyfriend until it is her one true love, and that her one true love will be European or American and at least 2 meters tall. We were sketched out by her at first, thought she was running some sort of scam, but in the end she was just a very very friendly girl who wanted to get the hell out of Nicaragua as soon as possible.
From Ocotal, it is about an hour to the border with Honduras, at the town of Los Manos. It was the easiest border crossing we have had, even though we took the chicken busses and not the nice International busses that take care of everything
The bus to Tegus was crowded, but not too hot. At one point, there were three of us squished into a school bus seat. When one of those three is Andrew, it isnīt very comfortable at all!
Tegus is a disaster waiting to happen, it appears. The houses are built up precipitously steep hillsides, one above the other, and there is virtually no ground cover. Either an earthquake or a mudslide will surely take them out sometime soon, or even a fire.
From Tegus, it was another bus onward to Comayagua, the first capital of Honduras. There is a pretty church here (complete with the oldest clock in the Americas, an 800 yr old beaut made by the Moors), but not really much to do. And our hotel was pretty bad, complete with maroon velvet tuck-and-roll headboard and two stuffed weasel-thing heads mounted on the wall. Both were missing eyes, and one was chewing gum. Scrofulous would be a good descriptor.
And so weīre off from Comayagua today, hopefully to find an Oregonian Brewer who (supposedly) has a hotel near here.