Day One, morning in Nicaragua

Sunday morning. We’re sitting at breakfast at the hotel in Rivas, Nicaragua, figuring out how best to leave the country. I know this sounds premature, but it’s so that we can cross the border back into the country. In this way, once we’ve crossed into Honduras at the north end, we’ll have covered every centimeter of Nicaraugua (south to north).

People have asked why we’re going in that direction, since it is (fiercely) uphill. The reasons given vary from

  • It made sense at the time
  • It symbolizes the ongoing struggle of our partners in Nicaragua, which we participate in joyfully
  • We’ll build up momentum on the flat bits, and the steeper northern parts really won’t be an issue. This is what Vince has told his fellow bicyclists, Helen and Wayne.

Getting here worked in pretty much the same way, taking 22 of the allotted 24 hours. Actually, everything went quite well, and Copa Airlines was superb. But things started going a little weird on the connecting flight in San Jose, Costa Rica. We left the plane, made our way downstairs, back up, and, since there was no way to reenter the departure lounge without going through security, were scanned again. Twice as safe as before, we proceeded to the departure lounge (20 feet from where we got off the plane) only to learn that it would be delayed due to a mechanical problem.

The promised hour delay became half an hour, then two hours, while the confirmed departure time stayed resolutely the same after the first (2 hour) adjustment. Most of the announcements were in Spanish, without translation. We roughly worked out the later ones as “Has anyone here got a 3/8 box wrench?”

Clearing customs on arrival went smoothly, although as usual, the complicated camera equipment raised a flurry of custom oriented curiosity. This always ends in resigned confusion, and we’re through.

After a quick haggle (one hour), and efficient load, unload, repack, rebuild, vehicle size upgrade, and reload, we were off. Again, things went smoothly except that at night it gets quite dark here, and so with a minor side trip to unknown parts of the south, we arrived in Rivas. No one quite remembers when they got to sleep, but all are present here at breakfast.

And we’re off!