Piled in the back of a pick up truck riding high up into the rainforest. Safety is not a concern here.
I love a good story, so here are the top ten stories from our trip:
1. On our flight from Chicago to Miami we sat next to a pilot. After speaking with him for awhile we came to find out was going to be our pilot several days later from Miami to Managua. How reassuring to know your plane is operated by a non suicidal, kind hearted family man. The best part was when we landed in Managua he greeted us by name over the loud speaker. I took a double take when I heard our names being said from the cockpit, totally cool. Meeting people like him reaffirms my belief in the pure goodness of people.
2. Five minutes after picking up our rental car in Managua we were pulled over by a crooked policeman. He wrongfully accused us of changing lanes in a roundabout and demanded $400 from us. After 30-40 minutes of trying to have a conversation, one forced crying and a lot of frustration we were able to get out of there having only paid him $40. Meeting people like him reaffirms my belief that the perception outside the US is that Americans are filthy rich. I believe he expected us to say, you want $400, no problem.
3. We stayed at two hotels in Nicaragua where we were the only guests. Not only was this a bit odd, but with the over abundance of staffing we came to expect better than average service. Unfortunately, we were out of luck because more staff simply meant more people to lounge around and look at you like you are intruding their space.
Morning, noon and night, the place to ourselves.
4. While riding around a water taxi in Fort Lauderdale we got talking to one of the captains. He recently moved to Fort Lauderdale after splitting his time between there and Seattle. Come to find out for the past three years he lived two buildings down from us in West Seattle. This is a great example of just how small the world really is.
5. Our tour guide in Granada, Felipe, had a thirst for American slang. He was eager to learn what different phrases meant and had a goal of learning ten new words a day. We were able to spend two days with him and watching his excitement when we learned phrases like "Chillax" (a combination of chill and relax) were priceless. We tried our best to teach him more useful phrases, but he seems more interested in learning the meaning of phrases he had heard like "hitting the bottle".
On the left, our tour guide Felipe.