Recap: 27 Days, 5 Countries, 2300 Miles, 22 Cities, 80+ Hours on Busses that would cramp a legless child (PART 1)

I’ve been back for two weeks now and I keep remembering things I forgot to write about so here’s a recap of my day to day highlights plus those B-Side and Deep Cut stories I left out of my earlier posts… plus more photos … and a bunch of those time lapse videos I thought would look so cool but are probably annoying…

Day 1. Friday, Feb 15. I get to the airport WAAAAY too early on no sleep. Fly to El Salvador, take a cab to the beach town of El Tunco and check into the Papaya Hotel. That night I sleep on top of the sheets with a fan blowing bits of sweat off my body much like the last stage of a car wash.

Day 2. Saturday, Feb 16. Supposedly this is one of the best surf spots in Central America so I go to rent a boogie board. A very cute Australian girl shames me into surfing. Hoping she’ll teach me and then become my wife, I oblige. When she saw how bad I was, she completely lost interest. So much for charity. I need to work on my flirting skills.


Day 3. Sunday, Feb 17. Waiting for a bus to San Salvador, I met a skinny New Yorker who had run a half marathon that morning and a chubby local girl whose friends ditched her. She helped us navigate the busses in San Salvador to our B&B and then split. I walked around and found a street fair featuring a 75yr old woman dancing like her pelvis was posessed by both Aphrodite and Elvis. On Sunday night my intestines began an aggressive “cramps and diarrhea” protest that kept me up most of the night.

Day 4. Monday, Feb 18. After literally turning around twice to go back to my hotel to take care of my tummy issues, I braved the insane bus system and made my way to the sprawling market on the east side of town to buy a machete. My idea was to make a hilarious video about a big white guy walking around asking people in broken Spanish where to buy a machete. The video didn’t work out but I DID get my machete. Then I bumped into Martin and Linus, a couple Swedes I met at the Papaya in El Tunco, and looked like a real idiot carrying this huge machete.

IMG_2079Day 5. Tuesday, Feb 19. I ran into Martin & Linus again on a 12 hour bus ride to Managua. For my comfort and that of all the passengers, Martin gave me a package of immodium. I took four. I spent much of the trip chatting with a very nice Danish girl who was on her way to a yoga retreat. I didn’t know it yet but yoga retreats are huge in Nicaragua. We got in around 2am and all crashed at a hostel in Managua.

Day 6. Wednesday, Feb 20. I split a cab to the bus station with Dane and caught a 4 hour chicken bus (old yellow school bus) to San Jorge, to catch the ferry to the volcano island of Ometepe. Somewhere around the three hour mark, the immodium abruptly clocked out and left me sweating and literally ripping up the seat ahead of me. I have never come so close to shitting myself. The panic is unbelievable. Do I get off here and go fertilize that field? Then what? Hitchhike to the ferry? I didn’t even know where I was or how much longer the trip would take. Finally we made it – last stop. I flew to the ‘toilet’. Never has such a wretched, poo-covered hellhole ever brought me such joy. I definitely left it worse than I found it but I was too happy to care. The high of not crapping my pants literally lasted for hours as I took the ferry to Ometepe Island. Once we got there, I realized we landed in the wrong place. I split cab with two Germans who I’m pretty sure were supposed to go the opposite direction. When we got to the hotel, they figured it out and disappeared.

Day 7. Thursday, Feb 21. Up all night with cramps again – but it got me up to see a beautiful sunrise over the volcano.

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Day 8. Friday, Feb 22. I got up early, watched the sunrise and then, like an idiot, I spent ten hours climbing a stupid volcano. When I got back, I just had time for a shower before catching the last bus to the other side of the island in order to catch the 12:30am ferry to Granada. I rode alone in the bed of a pickup (except for a dude asleep in a hammock) to the port over rocky and near impassible roads – the whole time absolutely convinced I was going to get robbed and shot.

Day 9. Saturday, Feb 23. On the Ferry, I met Mathias, a Finnish carpenter. We landed in Granada around 5am and headed to the Bearded Monkey Hostel. For $5, we snoozed on dorm beds until around 9. As soon as I started drifting off I was woken up snoring. I looked in the direction of the snoring and saw a girl sleeping peacefully on a tiny bed… but then I saw an extra arm – and then a bearded dude big spooning her and snoring aggressively into her ear. I am amazed at what women put up with. The light of the morning illuminated the fact that I was sleeping in a hippy garbage dump so I treated myself to a nice room around the corner at El Club Hotel. It’s a hotel but it’s also a club! That night, Mathias, Martin (from El Tunco & the bus to Managua) and I were interrupted at dinner by an old coot from Ohio whose bland stories of being a business magnate running multi-million dollar businesses and meeting presidents and dignitaries were made infinitely more interesting when he stood up mid-story (for emphasis) and revealed the most glorious and outrageous bell bottomed, leather tasseled, flower embroidered jeans I’ve ever seen. Later on, Martin wanted to watch a terrible musical open mic so Mathias and I went across the way to drink beers and watch soccer – which was promptly changed to the UFC fight – Bonus! Post-fight, we went looking for Martin and couldn’t find him but instead we met two lovely Canadian ladies, Sheba & Priya, and took them dancing. At the dance club, I caught a guy trying to lift my wallet, the bar ran out of ice, and then the idiot in the pimp hat got in a fight so we called it a night.

Day 10. Sunday, Feb 24. Sunday was a day of rest. I walked around Granada, ate dinner with Mathias & the ladies and then drank some rum. I’m not much of a rum drinker but I think I could be.

Day 11. Monday, Feb 25. In the morning I headed to Leon by way of Managua with Sheba & Priya. We got rooms at the Hotel Los Balcones and true to it’s name, my room had three balconies. The middle one was my fave. Leon is all about volcano boarding so we found a place and signed up for a trip the next day – then explored Leon for the rest of the day.

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Volcano BoardingDay 12. Tuesday, Feb 26. Said goodbye to my balconies and went volcano boarding. Amazing. Priya & Sheba said goodbye and headed to their yoga retreat covered in dirt and grit and German Mike (from volcano boarding) and I bought bus tickets to Honduras. That night, with Los Balcones at capacity and in desperate need of a shower, I checked into the Jersey Shore of hostels, the Bigfoot Lodge.

NEXT POST – DAYS 13-27! GET READY FOR IT!!!

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