It's been a while but I will try my best to include everything I have seen and gone through...Bluefields was an experience, the boat ride took about 5 and a half hours, and was probably as close to a refugee boat as (I hope) I will ever get...we were packed in there like crazy...we did not have a seat, nor a place for our luggage...everything was on the dock, we were all standing and lying shoulder to shoulder...everybody was trying to push their way onto the boat, then they made everyone get off to check our tickets (makes sense, right??!), so then it was a big stampede to get back on...and then as soon as the boat left the bay, people started throwing up because of the waves...some lady not too far from us was so busy eating gallo pinto and fried chicken, that she threw up at least 3 or 4 times...kids were piled up all on top of each other trying to sleep in very strange ways...the combination of heat, breeze and waves was not good on most people's stomach...mine held up pretty well I have to say, but I had to make sure I did not catch anybody throwing up! haha When we finally made it to Big Corn we realized that adventure was definitely worth it: even the water by the dock, which is usually dirt from the boats, was very very clear! I was lucky enough to meet 3 more guys, an Aussie, an Argentinean, and a Swede, so that rooming up together ended up being pretty cheap! Big Island is pretty, we got a room and then hurried to get in the water at Picknick Center, which is a big hut by a huge, deserted beach...the next day I started thinking about how I would leave this place, and the people at the dock had no clue about boats going back...there is no schedule apparently...I asked the same woman twice, and she responded the same way: "If there's a boat at the dock, it leaves the next day...if there is no boat, then there is no departure". That was very clear, so I tried to get myself on the waiting list for a morning plane back to Managua the next day...and I had the great idea to listen to my guidebook where it says that Little Corn Island is the real paradise. So I took a panga over to the little island, and was immediately in love with it. It's as close as I've ever been to a Caribbean paradise! (OK, I've been nowhere else in the Caribbean and I'm not a big beach person, but still) There are no cars, which means no honking taxis, just a trail for people to walk around almost the whole island...the beaches are as crystal clear as I've ever seen...and almost all deserted! All you hear is the waves crashing, the wind blowing on trees, and some roosters here and there...it's so peaceful! I found an amazing beach, got in and floated for over 40 minutes...it was amazing! Then when I was walking I ran into E and CA, that I had met in Ometepe, and we had lunch together...it was a perfect spot: colorful huts with restaurants 10 meters away from the water, hammocks everywhere, white sand galore, and some breeze to keep you cool! After lunch I kept walking and tried to make it around the whole island through the beaches...I saw some amazing, deserted beaches...then I noticed I wasn't left with so much time before 4pm, which is where my panga was taking me back to the Big Island, and I was still far from the dock...so from the beach I climbed up to the island, which in that point was all lush vegetation...I then proceeded to run through the vegetation for a while, in a desperate search for the dock...I made it through some deserted huts...some of it was kinda scary...I took my flip flops off to run faster, but soon after I crossed some barbwire I got a bunch of thorns in my feet...ouch! I think it was from a series of agave plants...but I had no time, so I kept running and running...it reminded me of the movie Apocalypto! haha I finally reached some houses with locals, which was good because they told me I was not too far, but bad because each house had at least a dog, and by the time I got to the beach by the dock I had 5 barking dogs after me! haha The people on the panga, who were waiting for me, probably had a laugh! I was sweaty and exhausted but relived I had made it and didn't care so much about the dogs...and I told myself not to be so curious all the time, sometimes it's better to stick to the beaten path!
The next morning I woke up at dawn, again, made it to the airport to see if I could leave...although I had seriously thought about spending a few days on Little Corn and canceling my plans for the rest of the trip! After everybody got on the plane, the plane was full...and they let some locals who had just gotten there get on it too...but by way of a miracle the lady said if we waited 40 more minutes another plane would come for the 8 of us who were still waiting...I was super excited!!! Once the plane arrived, this seemed to be another adventure: the inside of the plane was not bigger than a minivan...the whole plane held 12 passengers, and I was sitting right behind the pilot!!! It felt more like a flying minivan with wings than a plane! Not recommended to anyone who is afraid of flying! I loved the whole ride though, the views as we left the islands were breath-taking...and I felt so comfortable that after a little bit I fell asleep! haha
Once back to Managua, I was lucky enough that my friend A, who is from there, was in town, came to pick me up and gave me a tour of the city...he told me a bunch of stuff about the current state of the country and its political situation, which reminded me of Caracas and Venezuela in general...we visited all the sights by the old cathedral, and as we were in the square, a TV troop inerviewed us! hahaha They asked me what I thought of the brand new statue of Sandino that they were about to put up, and since I had good words for it, and I was a foreigner, I think they will most likely air it...A on the contrary was not so in awe of it and of the character, so the journalist cut him off! hahaha It was funny! Then we went to check out the Volcan Masaya, a volcano not too far from there...and since Nicaragua is the land of volcanoes, I was happy to have the chance to see one from up close! As we drove to the top, the gases were so intense it was hard to get close to the edge and breathe...then we drove up some more and had a guided tour of some caves, it was really interesting! The guide also took us to the other side of the crater after sunset, from where we could see 2 red spots inside the crater! There was so much wind and sulphur that we had a hard time breathing and keeping our eyes open even with a mask on, and I was coughing every minute!
Then A took me to my hostel, from where I was supposed to take a fast bus to Tegucigalpa, in Honduras...after waking up at 4am once again, I came to find out that the bus was full! So I had to pay another taxi to take me to a local terminal, from where I took a chicken bus to Chinandega...from there I got on a super packed chicken bus to Guasaule, the border crossing into Honduras...I crossed the border on a bicycle rickshaw, which was kinda interesting, and once I got on the other side, I could finally eat and drink, since I had run out of cordobas in Nicaragua!!! Since Honduras is also known as the Banana Republic, I got 6 tasty bananas for less than hald a dollar...and got on another chicken bus to Tegucigalpa...of course they always tell you it's direct, but you can always tell from the looks of it, and from the fact that there are no tickets, you just pay the bus guy once you're aboard...well, it ended up being a much longer ride than I thought...also because we were stuck in a long line of vehicles because of a major accident...we must have been there almost two hours...when we finally got through, the scene was quite intense: there was a small pickup truck smashed into an excavator on the side of the road, and a green bus from the other side of the road smashed as well into the excavator...a bunch of people lying around watching...some people with minor wounds and in shock...a TV troop filming the whole thing...and three bodies lying on the ground covered with a sheet...I just found out now, glancing at the newspaper stands here, that 4 people died!!! Last night at 5pm we finally made it to Tegucigalpa...the last hour or so was uphill, and at times the bus felt like it was not able to make it...the driver kept switching gears...I got there and was thinking of spending the night there, when I found a bus to San Pedro Sula...so I got on it, finally ate and drank something other than bananas, and fell asleep big time, since it was the first really direct bus! We got to San Pedro Sula at 10pm, and I had to take a taxi to the hostel...the town, although the most developed and industrialized and the richest of Honduras, it's also big on crime and gangs...the driver ended up taking me to the wrong side of town, so I got to see various groups of teenagers hanging around by an impromptu fireplace on the side of the road, and stuff like that...not exactly the most welcoming sights for my first time in Honduras! They say Tegucigalpa thinks, San Pedro works, and La Ceiba has fun...I didn't see much development there in San Pedro...the hostel was nice though, I wish I had gotten there sooner...I only got 4 hours of sleep, because at 5am I was up again for another early morning bus...so tiring!!! I finally made it here to La Ceiba, on the Caribbean coast, at 9 this morning, found the hostel, left my bags there...since it's Sunday there are not many services and stores working, so without any food in my belly I came here to write this, then I will go get a bunch of food and relax for a little bit...this afternoon I am taking the boat to Roatan, a snorkeling and diving paradie by the second largest coral reef in the world, but I will only be able to stay one night...I am leaving my bag here where I will be back tomorrow night for some more blogging, some cooking, some relaxing, before another early morning bus to Copan Ruinas!