December was a rough month. Paul worked nights and HH started sleep walking. Easy E decided around 2am every morning that he liked sleeping in our bed more than his own. It was a really fun time for everyone.
Christmas day, his night float rotation finally complete, Paul started 2 weeks of vacation. YES. That night two zombies left their reports with some very generous in-laws and boarded a red-eye flight to Managua to attend the wedding of a dear old friend on the 27th. We couldn’t WAIT to get on the plane to sleep. It was going to be great.
We were in the very last row. I was in the middle. Neither of us slept.
It had been nearly 10 years since I had last been to Nicaragua, when I spent four months living in Managua. We arrived even more zonked out than when we’d boarded the plane. I couldn’t think of anything except passing out on the three hour drive to our final destination, San Juan del Sur.
But as soon as we got off the plane, it hit me. The smell. Pretty sure it’s burning trash mixed with diesel, but to me it smells…exciting. Like old memories. Managua. And I felt a little tingle. Something in the back of my foggy, sleep-deprived mind started to wake up.
The groom had organized our ride from the airport. As soon as we got out of customs, we found a driver holding a sign with our name on it. His name was Delvis. Like Elvis with a D.
As we drove from the airport, past the families of 4 riding one bike down the busy highway, the emaciated feral dogs that somehow don’t get run over, the pulperias, the back neighborhoods down crooked streets with the pink and yellow and orange houses, identical to the one where I stayed so many years ago, I suddenly, inexplicably, felt…stimulated. Alive. If still not completely awake.
We spent the whole ride to San Juan catching up with the bride and groom and, upon arriving, immediately hopped on a catamaran with the wedding party. Which included a Nicaraguan pop star. Suddenly there was rum to drink and potential celebrities to befriend. Sleep became secondary.
We took the boat along the coast to a secluded beach with no road access and beautiful white sands. While drifting on my back in the turquoise water I saw a woman who worked on the boat swimming some sort of container up onto the beach.
“First aid kit?”
“No, cooler. I don’t even think we have a First Aid kit on board. Maybe some band-aids?”
Nicaragua. I love you.
The rest of the weekend continued in the same vein.
We stayed in ridiculous homes overlooking the ocean, partied with some of our best friends, relived memories, and had a wonderful, memorable, sleepless, extravagant, glorious time. And when we boarded the flight home 2 days later, I looked at my phone:
Because our visit was so short, I had kind of intentionally put my phone away. I felt too tired to try to deal with trying to capture every moment, I just wanted to enjoy. But really, 6? And three of them are of Paul cleaning a pool. None with the bride and groom. None with our friends that now live in Costa Rica. None of the ceremony or the blinking, gaudy, quintessentially nica nativity scene with a REAL WATERFALL that graced the alter. None of Paul and I together wearing fancy clothes (which hasn’t happened in at least a year). None of the city. None of the beach.
But I did capture this blurry gem.
So, there’s that. Hopefully we’ll be back for more soon.