31.08.2007 - 01.08.2007 90 °F
Bluefields, Nicaragua…..miles traveled……300.
Mission –Survive sleep deprivation to arrive in Bluefields to spend time with our friends.
For those of you who don’t know, Sara completed a couple of years of service in Bluefields with the CapCorp. It is also the capital of the South Atlantic Autonomous Region seated on the coast. There is no road that reaches Bluefields from the capital of Managua, which makes this trip interesting.
WOW. Our trip to Bluefields began with a very expensive night taxi ride to the remote bus station “El Mayoreo.” We had made this trip before two years ago, when the highway had been newly repaired in the ever present re-tooled school bus which serves as the main transportation in most of Central America. We were surprised that when we bought our tickets we had seat numbers. While we waited we were treated to watch “Ice Age” in Spanish. It helped pass the time while the toddlers and dogs ran around the bus station screaming and doing gymnastics on the chairs.
Finally we went to board, at first we were pleasantly surprised to see that the seats reclined and appeared semi-comfortable not like the usual school bus seats. We were sadly mistaken. Our seats were over the wheel and left approximately one inch for Sara’s legs after the person reclined back onto her. She first tried to sit Indian style with her legs on the seat then we only began to hope desperately that we could switch to a new seat.
Finally, after we pulled out of the station we scrambled to a different vacant area. The breeze from the window cooled us down. It was not too long however until Sara began to freeze. Then when the bus stopped we roasted, and everyone would lower their windows. Finally, we would move again and would all start to freeze, so everyone would wake up and close their windows again. We didn’t sleep much, and when we did it was interrupted alternately by bouts of sweating, freezing, loud snoring of fellow passengers, or swerving around parts of the road that in the last two years had deteriorated or disappeared completely.
Finally, after seven brutal hours (at 4am) the bus pulled into Rama where we catch the speed boats. The speed boats don’t leave until 6:30am. The bus departure times have not changed in the last four years since the highway trimmed off two hours from the journey. So we sat for two miserable hours on the cramped bus trying to catch a few pathetic winks between mosquito attacks and back cramps.
Finally, it was time to board our speed boat. We joyously put on our life vests and pulled away from the dock. The pleasant breeze on the river provided a nice change as we followed the smooth curves of the river toward the sea. At 8:30 we pulled into the dock totally exhausted. We stumbled a few hundred meters toward downtown and got a small room with a fan at a place called “the Minihotel.” We were so tired that we had a little breakfast and promptly fell back asleep for five hours.
We spent a little time that afternoon reacquainting ourselves with the town. We had one of the local brew.. “Tona” and bumped into an old friend of Sara’s, Yader Garcia. To end our first day, we had a light dinner and went to sleep early to gain energy to greet our friends the next day.