My travel day started yesterday when my sweetheart of a brother picked me up at 9am, took me for coffee, and drove me to Greenville to catch my flight. On the flight from Greenville to Atlanta I sat next to Daniel, a salesman who works in the credit card industry out of Ohio. He warmed up to me when I gave him a hard time about figuring out how to use the seat belt. Otherwise, he worked the majority of the flight and only took breaks to answer my endless stream of questions and to offer up a bit of sass himself.
He asked me where I was going and then he asked me why. I hadn’t really answered that question fully until he asked it. Before I had time to filter or to try to make myself sound less excited I spat out, “To find an adventure.”
I guess that was the first time I’d really acknowledged it even to myself. Before I would say simple answers like, “vacation” or “because I committed to go out of the country every year and I haven’t yet this year.” Both of those answers are true, but, they aren’t the core of it. The core of it is that I’m in Nicaragua to find adventure and through that to hopefully find a little piece of myself too.
My flight to Managua landed about 10pm Asheville time. I sat next to Loraine who was beautiful in the way that only a mother can be. The kind of beauty that radiates with warmth and openness and far surpasses what our eyes can even comprehend. She spoke to me of her family and her life in Leon. She asked who I was meeting in Nicaragua and when I told her no one she stopped, spoke spanish to her husband across the aisle, and then looked at me and said, “be careful.” Her husband followed up by saying, “drink water only out of the bottle, keep your things close to you, people will steal from you. Really, you are too pretty to be traveling alone.”
Up until this point I’ve held the knowledge that this trip was a bit risky, that for my first time travelling out of the country alone it may have been wise to choose a more developed country. But, I was landing in Managua now and I could only choose to be smart and friendly and hope for the best.
I’d arranged a shuttle from my hotel to Granada which is about a 45 minute drive. After 2 grueling hours in customs I finally made it to the exit where I saw Marcel holding a sign with my name on it. I was elated to see him and his giant smile. As we started driving to Granada I immediately became aware of how much darker the roads were. There were people and dogs running in and out of the pitch black street and at one point I started to worry that we weren’t on our way to Granada at all. The roads were so small and so dark that it didn’t seem like a highway or a way to get from city to city. I began preparing myself for the worst case scenario. Maybe Marcel wasn’t who he said he was, maybe he killed my real driver and stole the sign, maybe he is who he says he is but he’s sketchy either way. I came up with a game plan for how I’d handle a potential attack and then we drove by a large truck filled with men, Marcel locked the doors and I relaxed.
Marcel and I got to know each other in my sad form of choppy Spanish. I learned that he loves cafe’ con leche and spent 4 days in Miami last year. We both agreed that Granada was the perfect place for me to visit if I am a photographer, and he felt very passionate about my trip to Ometepe.
I finally settled into my hotel, which feels a bit like a 70’s love den, at about 1am.
This morning I made my way to breakfast, explored the hotel, and walked around the city a bit. I ended up meeting a man named Carl and his friends. Carl has lived here for 18 years and offered me a lot of help with how to get around and I gave him advice on how to use his yahoo mail account. Most of which included him ditching yahoo mail.
Today I am working on getting a ride from Granada to San Jorge so that I can catch a ferry to Isla de Ometepe to stay at Finca Magdelena. Wish me luck!
In the mean time, here are some photos from the trip so far!
On one of the rooftops at the hotel.
My hotel has a chocolate factory inside of it. They gave me cacoa tea as a welcome present.
The really fun sink.
View from the rooftop.
View of the hotel pool from the rooftop.
The cafe’ in which I met Carl and pals.
Carl insisted that I be in a photo too.