Nicaragua: San Carlos

Stepping foot on land in San Carlos was a wonderful relief, almost as nice as finding Lorena and her daughter, Marvely at the exit when our boat finally arrived at 7am.  They are relatives of my college roommate, Carly.  They took us to their beautiful home and sent us to shower and nap.  The most challenging part of the stay was trying to understand their crazy fast Spanish…we did the best we could and understood each other most (some) of the time.

After recovering from our trying travel experience, we spent the day with Lorena at the hospital.  Her mother (Carly’s mother-in-law) had fallen and broken her arm badly the day prior to our arrival.  It required surgery.  We stayed with her as she woke up, groggy and in pain.  They gave her some pain medication and soon she was her chipper self, sitting up in bed, making jokes and asking us to stay longer.  At home for the evening, we taught the family how to play Uno.  It was an instant hit.  Marvin, her 12 year old son, wanted to play every minute he had away from school and all through the night.  It has become our game for transcending language and fun since anyone can play.

Lorena ended up winning her first game of Uno in the “winner takes all” final game.  She was ecstatic!

We even played during dinner when we took the family to pizza to say thanks for having us.  We have had plenty of rice and beans, so we were happy to take them for something different.  The funny part was they ordered the only pizza I never would…a Hawaiian…but they loved it and scarfed it down!

The dilemma in San Carlos was how to get to Little Corn Island.  We could take a boat down the Rio San Juan out to the Caribbean Coast, but we heard horror stories about getting a boat up the Coast to Bluefields and then on to Little Corn.  The boats run infrequently, often transport drugs and then you have to battle the weather.  The town where the river ends is also only inhabited by 900 people—we weren’t sure it even had a hostel should we need to wait a few days for a boat.  So we ultimately decided to take the more overland route which included a 5am bus from San Carlos that transferred in San Thomas to El Rama.

Lorena and the kids woke up at 4am to see us off to the bus station.  We secured two seats in the back where we could talk to one of the conductors (always helps to have them watching out for your stop).  The bus we took was the nicest we’ve seen in Nicaragua.  It had Tv’s and played extremely loud music videos for hours…including some in English which Joshua was able to sing along to like Bryan Adams and Michael Bolton.

We alternately slept and checked out the beautiful countryside for the morning.  The first leg went off without a hitch.

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