Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Now THAT was a border crossing

We stayed in Liberia last night with a nice guy named Max who is a teacher at the university and relatively complicated syllabi for his courses, even using the word ¨constructivist¨ describing the method!

We were up at 7am and he gave us a ride to the bus station and we waited in line with others and then by 8.15am were on a bus headed for Nicaragua.

Now yesterday was pretty crazy, with a big rig parked across the highway in some kind of protest and we later had to change buses because a bridge was coming apart so we literally had to walk across the bridge with all of our things, me sweating up a storm and onto a new bus for the last couple of hours through heavy rain.

But today, we get to the border and I´m immediately reminded of my border crossing from Paraguay back into Argentina back in August 2006. You can find a description of it probably on my blog.

Anyway, we wait in a line, find out it´s not a line and so have to change and some guy wants a dollar a piece for the entry cards we have to fill out. I give them back to him and we wait. Luckily, there was a very nice young Nicaraguan woman named Carla waiting ahead of us and she helped us through the entire process that consisted of waiting in that line and getting the stamp, then walking a kilometer across to the other side where a guy at a small wooden table is checking passports again, then into another line to get a stamp and paying 7 dollars, all the while with people wanting to selling us sweets or overpriced taxi rides or who knows what but she gave us the confidence to say no to all of them and then we had to pay another dollar to pass through some little gate where a guy is yelling that the bus is leaving, now 5 or 6 guys are standing around us wanting to whisk us away to San Juan del Sur but we decided to take the bus with her and then we would have to change in La Virgen.

Oh yeah, I forgot the whole point of this post! We literally crossed through a chain link fence that was broken open and Carla now said, ´Now you´re in Nicaragua¨. I couldn´t believe it! She was on her way home for 1 night to bring money home to her parents in Rivas. I told Franziska that it´s amazing in this part of the world people give money to their parents when usually it is the other way around for us.

We took the bus about a half hour, complete with a young boy of 8 or 9 with cross eyes walking through the bus asking for money and then suddenly we had to get out and wait for a connection but instead of waiting up to a half hour for the 50 cent ride, we paid a taxi 5 dollars for a direct ride to the town. We arrived, rejected the first room we saw because it was dark and depressing and opened up into the kitchen and communal bathroom area and then decided on a hotel around the corner which costs 24 bucks.

It started raining at that moment, around noon and we ordered a large, 1 liter beer for a $1.50. Then a Norwegian girl came and we talked for awhile, then 2 Canadians and then 2 New Yorkers (though they are actually from boston and south carolina) and the 7 of us proceeded to catch a buzz in the early afternoon and then walked down to the beach for lunch. I had a steak with jalapeno sauce which was pretty good.

We went back to take a nap but I mostly just sweated and now it´s after 8pm and we´re going to get a bit to eat soon... now THAT was a border crossing...

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