Leaving Ometepe Island is never easy, yet after countless trips to and from the states and across Lake Cocibolca, we assumed our return would be routine. If there is one thing we should never do, it is assume that anything is routine and normal, especially when traveling back to Nicaragua.
Everything was going smoothly until I tried to hoist my 40 pound travel vest (stuffed with children’s books in Spanish) above my head into the overhead compartment on the airplane. My travel vest crashed onto the arm rest and snapped it in half! Ron sheepishly waved the broken arm rest in the air. The flight attendant scolded us, even though we pulled out a roll of duct tape (we always have a roll of duct tape handy) and offered to mend the broken arm rest. ” Now we have to call the maintenance man,” the flight attendant sighed. The pilot announced, “Folks, we have about a ten minute delay before takeoff. Someone broke the arm rest and there is a maintenance man on his way.” The flight attendant posed an evil eye in our direction as we slouched down in our seats. Five minutes later, the maintenance man arrived with a roll of duct tape with the US Airway logo on it, and we were happily nestled in our seats for takeoff.
We arrived in Fort Lauderdale minus one duffel bag. It wouldn’t have been so bad other than the fact that all of our clothes were in the duffel bag. After filing a claim and the promise that our bag would be on our flight to Managua, we optimistically boarded Spirit Airlines for our midnight arrival in Managua. Optimistically, we waited for our duffel bag as the luggage circled the carousel. Pessimistically, we left minus one lost duffel bag.
Once in Granada, we delivered goodies to our friends, and played telephone tag with US Airways and Spirit Airlines. It was a good thing that our bag was on the next day’s flight because we were feeling pretty grungy in our sweat drenched clothes. Plus, I found out that my friend on the island had been robbed of her computer and her camera. Always lock your doors!! She forgot! Our duffel bag contained all of our clothes, as well as all of my friend’s goodies from the states. I would have felt horrible confessing that her Maybelline lipstick, sports bras, solar lights, and other items were now on sale at the lost luggage store in Huntsville, Alabama.
Two days later, with four check-in bags, two carry ons, two backpacks, my travel vest loaded with children’s books, and one of Ron’s former college swimmers, we were headed to Ometepe Island…our home. Paxeo’s shuttle picked us up in Granada. After the driver stopped to fill up the tank and purchased two condoms?? and a romantic pirated music CD, we were finally on our way home!
At the dock in San Jorge, Samantha downed her Dramamine in preparation for a rolling ferry ride. Ron protected our luggage and we patiently waited for El Ferry to tenderly carry us home.
We arrived at our little casa on the beach minus electricity and water. Apparently they were working on a transformer that blew out, and there would be no electricity or water all day. Insignificant! No problem for us! We were HOME! Guillermo and his wife brought us Tilapia for lunch. Sam casually mentioned that she was rushed to the hospital in Havana, Cuba because she ate Tilapia and got food poisoning. Then, she passed out on the couch in a drugged state of leftover Dramamine.
Ron ate a huge portion of Tilapia and I nibbled on mine because I have always had a fear of getting a fish bone stuck in my throat. Sam was too drugged to eat. Two hours later, after Guillermo and his wife left, Ron became violently sick! OMG! He had food poisoning from the Tilapia. He was projectile vomiting in an old paint can, while sitting on the toilet…well, you know…no need for me to go into a lot of detail here.
It gets dark regularly at 6 pm every day of the year. All batteries in our rechargeable flashlights were dead. I needed to get some coconut water into Ron quickly because he was dehydrated and starting to cramp. Someone stole our machete and the toilet was filling up rapidly! I needed water to flush the toilet, a machete, and someone to climb the coconut tree for me. Julio to the rescue!
While Ron was puking his guts out, Julio got two coconuts and I borrowed his machete to get the sweet miracle water for Ron’s dilemma! In the moonlight, I was able to walk carefully to the lake to get a bucket of water to flush the toilet. With machete in hand…I had become the man of the house…protecting my clan…tending to the sick and needy. When I spotted a black coral snake hiding in the drain hole on the porch, in an adrenalin induced rush I swung the machete down hard! Tiwanda! I missed, but it felt so damn good!
The next morning, the coconut water had cured Ron’s food poisoning. Samantha had recovered from her Dramamine leftovers.We had water and electricity again. I sure hope that our Paxeo driver had a better night than we did, because I woke up itching like crazy with hives or a rash all over my body. Welcome home! Life in Nicaragua is always an adventure! You never know what you’re going to get!