Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Come on, Suz... Just one 'Aargh!' " -Ben

Ok, Sooooooo.....

I wore my contacts almost the whole time we were on our trip, but took them out one day to find that the solution in my contacts case had evaporated. I had no choice but to refill it with local Nicaraguan water (yikes...) and leave my contacts out for good after that. After a week of wearing my glasses I was ready for the contacts again, so Sunday I put them in for church. 

Sunday afternoon my eyes were starting to itch (that sometimes happens when I'm wearing my contacts for the first time in a little while) so I switched back to glasses. Within a couple hours the itch had become unbearable and my eyes were noticeably red and watery, especially the left one. When we went to bed that night Ben asked if I wanted him to go to a drug store for eye drops, which I declined, promising that if my eye still hurt in the morning I would just go myself. 

1:30 a.m. rolls around and my eye is in so much pain I can not sleep at all! I toss and turn for a while, before deciding that it was worth going to a drug store for those darn drops. 

Exhausted, crying, in PJs, and holding a few tissues over one eye I asked the night receptionist at our hotel (ahem... home) for directions to the nearest 24/hr pharmacy. Just imagine what that must have looked like!

Driving through an unfamiliar city in the middle of the night when you are exhausted and can't see is a  
BAD idea. The store wasn't even open, after all. 

And, to kick it all off, the receptionist and a local policeman were waiting for me at the front door when I arrived!!!!

"Ma'am, what was the nature of your injury? Why did you need to go to pharmacy so suddenly?" 

Oh, great. I'm absolutely miserable with pain, exhausted, feel totally stupid for driving, and now I'm the victim of domestic abuse?!

I promptly woke Ben up, explained (through my frustrated tears) the situation, and he left for Wal-Mart to get me eye drops and a pirate eye patch. 

They eye drops only made it worse. 
The next morning I was very, very relieved to go to an optometrist and find out I have a scratch the length of a fingernail on my peripheral something or other which will take 1 week and 3 different eye drops to cure, not river blindness from Nicaraguan water. 

Now I have to figure out how to live in a hotel in complete darkness without driving or opening one eye for the next week without losing my mind, too.

last night: 

"Where's your eye patch?" -Ben
"Oh, you don't want a pirate for a wife!" -Suz
"Sure I do! You can be my wench!" -Ben
"Ok, but I need another name. You're not calling me that." -Suz
"Well, you can't be Capt. Blackbeard, cause that's me." -Ben
"How about Cap'n Bloodshot?" -Suz

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We like adventure, right?

Things got pretty crazy after La Fortuna. We planned on staying there two nights, doing some whitewater kayaking, then going to a different part of CR for zip lining and canyoneering and whatnot but decided at 10 pm to leave for Nicaragua asap. This is why I don´t plan much, Ben, things always change!

So we got an early bus from La Fortuna to Muele, waited an hour for a bus to Las Chiles, went through immigration to leave CR, took a ferry across the country border of Rio San Juan to the port town of San Carlos, and stayed there Thursday night.

LUCKILY we had a guardian angel the whole time. We met a guy waiting for our bus in Muele who was also crossing the border by ferry and took us under his wing. He spoke no English but understood our need and nervousness so he helped us get on the right bus to Los Chiles, told us when to get off, helped us with the immigration office, got us on the right ferry across and helped us pay the right amount, then helped us through the Nica immigration office and pointed us in the right direction of our hotel. AWESOME. I love meeting those people. We didn´t even get his name, but we are trying to pass on the good deed in his honor! People, be aware of opportunities to help others. They might really really REALLY appreciate it.

The ferry port.

 Changing of the guard... taking down the CR flag for entrance to Nica!

San Carlos was nothing to write home about, but we did have good timing (I can´t find the dash button on this keyboard, so pretend you see one) there was a fair in town! We didn´t get any pictures unfortunately, but the image of a strudy, small, abuela dancing to American hip hop is seared in our brains.

The next morning we took a 3 hour boat ride to El Castillo, a town on the Rio San Juan.  It was awesome! We only stayed overnight, but it was one of my favorite places.

Our hotel was the cheapest yet and was right on the river! It even had TV, AC, and a private bath. Unfortunately, it stormed so badly none of those things worked and the river rapids were so loud it kept us up at night. Best laid plans of mice and men and all that.

We had our tastiest meal there, too. Check out these locally caught shrimp! Ben compared them to Alaskan King Crab.

Ben took a tour of the castle, El Castillo. There is impressive history there. Just ask him.

So I wandered around and found a nice little cemetary to walk around in! Hey, that´s not creepy.

The next morning we took the 5 AM (yes, that´s early) ferry back to San Carlos to catch a flight from there to Managua. We had 5 hours to kill in the town before our flight, so we found some kids to help entertain us! Hopefully our kindness in giving them Smarties and teaching them some games (plato, plato, pollo!) will encourage them to have friendly  views of Americans in the future. 

Our airport consisted of a dirt path and one room for check in that didn´t even open until 30 mins before the flight! Whoa. 

Our 12 passenger crop plane. Unbelievable... but pretty cool to sit right next to the pilot and watch him read the newspaper while flying... 

Nosotros estamos muy occupado!

So much to say....

Wednesday... Decided to go to La Fortuna, a town at the foot of an active volcano.  Cool, huh?

We rented...


and ....

up a really difficult road to a....

Ben decided to ...

Our hotel was at the foot of the ...

We saw it ...

How awesome is that?!?!?!?!?!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

iPura Vida!

Today, our second full day in CR, we did what we had originally wanted to do: Raft the Rio Pacuare! THis is one of the most impressive rafting rivers in the world because it is a 20 mile section of straight class IV rapids. Seriously... there was hardly any rest between the rapids: better than any river Ben or I have ever rafted!

Somehow we got on the Spanish boat-- four inexperienced locales and a Spanish guide. Originally Ben and I were the leaders (in front. the ones everyone else follows and get the brunt of the hits), but one of the other four river rats complained about it being too complicated to hear the calls in English and follow Ben.. yadda yadda yadda... so we were switched to the back. Boo. The most boring spot in the raft.

From then on we were yelled at in Spanish , which didn't make things much easier for everyone. For some reason they could NOT understand to paddle forward when he said forward, or to follow the person in front, etc.  The man in front of me, dressed in slacks, button down shirt, and dress shoes, had such trouble that our guide repeatedly went to the front of the boat for personal instruction for him. I even took to yelling "Derecha elante!" at him myself.

halfway through Ben and I were switched to the front again, and we had a blast from there. It was an amazing river, and GORGEOUS! Seriously, words cannot express how beautiful this place was.

We couldn't bring our camera, but here is a video of someone else rafting the same river: Keep in mind it is during the slow spots because that is when the videographer could catch up and film.

If Ben jumped off a bridge, would you do it too? Yes!


Yesterday, our first full day in CR, we decided to hit the ground running. Flying, actually. More like dropping... but let's not get too technical.

We had wanted to go sky diving but heard from the friendly staff at the hostel that it doesn't exist in CR (it is mostly jungle, afterall... where would you land?). Next closest thing: Bungee jumping! So we made the decision to go as soon as possible-- before I could wimp out ;)

We heard some pretty funny stories from the hostel staffers about their experiences bungee jumping and had looked forward to seeing someone cry and take 30 mins to jump off, but we were actually the only two booked for this time slot. We missed out on some drama, but since no one else was around they did let us do some pretty cool stuff...

Ben got to be the one to push me off (I didn't scream on the way down and it only took a minute or two to get me off, but no, i'm not that tough: I definately needed help!)

And they let Ben just run and  jump off! 

It was a totally different sensation for us each. I was attached by my ankles (securely) and bobbed up and down before eventually staying upside down slowly losing awareness and conciousness, but Ben was attached by a harness around his waist and shoulders so he swung from side to side and could sort of sit down afterward. We got free t-shirts, diplomas, and a DVD of the jumps which we'll post later so you can get the full effect. 

Before: (very nervous body language)

After: (Much cooler)