Introducing Something New
Jer and I got married in Hawaii which sparked a bit of an obsession with travel. We love to learn, explore and be active. Travel satisfies all three. Travel has changed us in unexpected ways. Since Kairosive is all about change, we bring you…
The third Wednesday of each month will be a dedicated to stories from our travels. My hope is that they provide a meaningful message, teach you about a new place, and inspire you to get out and explore.
For the debut of Wanderlust Wednesday, we will journey to the heart of Central America. I’m choosing Nicaragua because the people left a mark on our hearts. The Nicaraguan people went out of their way to ensure that we were safe, satisfied and happy. The true beauty of a place is reflected in the hearts of its people.
Lessons Learned on a School Bus
The first lesson comes from a bus trip from Granada to San Jorge, a small city where ferries depart to Isla Ometepe. We boarded what appeared to be a retired American school bus near the Mercado in Granada for a 3-hour journey. It’s a strange feeling being on a bus headed to a place you’ve never been before in a country where nobody speaks your language. It’s kind of scary, a little stressful and exciting, all at the same time.
For most of the trip, we quietly observed passengers come and go. From time to time I tried to make out their conversations with my poor Spanish. The passengers were interesting, like the young man with a huge neck tattoo and tear drop under his eye. He had a muscular build and powerful demeanor. I’m not going to lie, his appearance was intimidating.
We pulled into the town of San Jorge and made a stop. I asked the man in front of me if this was the port. He told me, “not yet,” and got off at the next stop. We sat on the bus, as it made stops throughout the town of San Jorge. The bus then stopped at what appeared to be a Mercado. The young man with the neck tattoos came up to us and asked if we were looking for the port. I answered that we were. He told us that this is the stop, then proceeded to help us off the bus and offer directions to the ferry dock.
How does that saying go? Don’t judge a book by its cover?
I say, don’t judge a beefy Latino by his neck tattoos.
When Plans Go Awry
The first story tells of our journey to Isla Ometepe. The second story is about trying to get off the island.
Everything was perfectly planned. We got up early, checked out of our hotel, and caught a taxi into town to take the 9 AM ferry. From San Jorge, we were going to take the bus to San Juan del Sur. There we would have our clothes laundered, get lunch, and buy groceries. In the afternoon, we planned to catch a camioneta to Playa el Coco where we were renting a beach house.
We arrived at the port shortly after 8 AM and purchased our tickets. We waited on the dock for the ferry, excited to explore our next destination. We waited. And waited. And waited. Hours later we got word from a German couple that the ferries were stuck in San Jorge due to high winds. There were no answers, no timelines, just waiting.
Finally, in the late afternoon they decided to send one ferry across. They probably shouldn’t have, but we made it to San Jorge. By the time we got there, the buses were no longer running. We didn’t know what to do. We had already paid for our beach house on the Pacific coast and had no way to get in touch with them.
As we stood there, a young cab driver came up and asked if we needed a ride to town. I said no and told him that we were trying to get to Playa el Coco. He informed me that there was no way to get there because it was two hours away and the buses were no longer running. I thanked him anyway and he turned to walk away.
A few seconds later he turned back and said, “I’ll take you.” I asked if he was sure and he said he was and that there was no other way for us to get there. We agreed on a price and hopped in his old Toyota.
The place we were staying was far from town and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast. We knew had to get groceries so we asked the cab driver if he would stop at the store in San Juan del Sur. He agreed and we quickly shopped for 5 days worth of food and drinks. There was nothing we could do but have faith that the stranger who brought us this far wasn’t going to take off with our luggage and leave us at Pali.
We made it our destination about 15 minutes before the office closed for the evening. That day was a once in a lifetime adventure and one I will never forget. This is what makes travel great!
Tell us about a time that you have been saved by the kindness of a stranger. Do you think this kindness is something we could use more of in the US?