UGH! I’m tired of lugging my life around in suitcases! When we first lived on Ometepe Island in 2004-05, we hauled our big, fat lives around in five check-ins and two carry-ons. I even brought my sewing machine. At that time, I had creative plans to make and sell Ometepe cool wraps. I packed a ten pound bag of polymer crystals, which looked very similar to a package of cocaine.(So I’ve been told.) Fortunately, the label was intact when the custom’s agent questioned my very suspicious looking contents. Unfortunately, most of the polymer crystals expanded to enormous proportions after a heavy rain, which was inside our beach shack, found a hole in the bag.
Last year, we retired and moved permanently to Ometepe Island and I packed our big, fat lives…AGAIN. Ron reminded me constantly, “Is that a necessity or a want?” He questioned everything I put into the bags.” Do you really need the hummingbird feeder? Why are you taking that ugly wooden flapping bird? A kite? What are we going to do with two giant fish pillows?”
I constantly reassured him, “I am an excellent packer. I have this down to an art. Don’t you worry about a thing. I have this under control.” That was my packing mantra. Six months later, our bags were expertly packed and we were on our way to Ometepe with seven check-ins, two carry-ons. and our backpacks. Each check-in weighed exactly 49.5 pounds, a 30 pound reduction compared to the 2004 weight limit regulations.
Ron and I have been happily married for over 35 years. We both know that our greatest stress occurs in airports. We almost divorced right in the middle of an escalator in the Frankfort, Germany International Airport. I accidentally dropped a case of German beer down the rolling escalator. Only one bottle survived, and it was wedged in a step of the disabled escalator. Suds spewed over a dozen people. It smelled like Oktoberfest in July. Ron eventually forgave me, but I didn’t want to take any chances or have any grounds (or suds) for divorce in starting our new rewired and retired lives in Nicaragua.
Everything was going smoothly until we approached Managua International Airport. Over the loudspeaker, the pilot stated, “Folks, the Managua airport was just struck by lightning. We can’t land, so we’re going to Panama City, Panama.” We both looked at each other horrified. What about our big, fat, lives expertly packed and stored in cargo? Do we have to lug them through customs? How do we contact our shuttle waiting to pick us up in Managua?
The pilot parked the plane under a little tree on the side of the runway at the Panama City International Airport. He reassured us that the cargo section would be locked up tight. We gathered our carry-ons and boarded a chartered bus, that deposited us in downtown Panama City at the five-star Continental Hotel and Casino! A casino!!!!!
We visited Panama City, Panama the previous year on a scouting trip, but our hotels were on the cheap end of our budget. What luxury! Por gratis! (For free) They treated us to a buffet dinner and breakfast the next morning before we boarded the bus back to the airport. We emailed our shuttle in Managua of our delay.
Our big, fat lives arrived on la isla the next day. It usually takes us two days to travel from Managua to Ometepe because of the ferry schedule. My fish pillows and the hummingbird feeder are a big hit! With construction done, we can relax in our hammocks strung across our big front porch and watch the hummingbirds race each other to the feeder.
I would like to say that this is the end of my life in luggage; however, we returned to the states this summer so Ron could coach a summer league swim team. I’ve shopped at Lowes, Wal-Mart, and Amazon online. This time, we flew the discounted Spirit Airlines and their weight limit for a check-in bag is 40 pounds max. Instead of packing my check-ins with all my new goodies, I’ve had to resort to drastic measures. Our big, fat lives have taken on a new dimension…body packing. But, I’ll save that story for another day.