The boat dipped left, right as it floated on the crests and troughs of each wave while the sun rose in the early morning. The young lady to my left, across the boat, was putting the finishing touches on her face, eye liner and some shadow. The man sitting in front of me, slept. A cripple made the rounds, spare change?, for the fare. As short as I am the seats were too close together. Seats taken out of a bus, screwed to the floor of the boat. In typical Latin American style, the boat was painted in bodacious colors. These happened to be turquoise and red. The diesel smoke from the engine bled into the hold, a familiar smell, but still bothersome. Everyone was on their way to work or to town for shopping, maybe even as I was, on their way to another world.
I flew into Managua on Thursday, about one in the afternoon. I made my way through customs and passport check, with all the missionaries. Leaving Altanta, the plane was filled with missionaries, and I happened to be seated to a husband and wife chaperone. As the plane was about to touch down, the husband and wife in my row asked,"We'd like to say a prayer for you, for your run.". I told them, "Nah, I don't think so." Surprised, the wife asked, "Do you not believe? and other questions." I told her, "No," so she would leave me alone. The Best Western shuttle was waiting and even though the hotel was just across the street, I waved him down. I had six bags. One carry on, and five full of shoes for the kids.
Surprisingly the weather was a nice humid. Bookis came up and re-introduced himself. He had made a pair of Leadville Lunas for me back in 2010. We were waiting on Joey. Neither one of us had met him yet, but his swagger across the parking lot told us he was one of those types who would say, "Hey man I'm just here chillin, y'all ready to roll?"
Two cabs pulled up. Little Jap pieces of shit, but they did the job. The drivers were pretty cool dudes. We only knew a little Spanish, and they only knew a bit of English. I regret not getting their names, but they knew Josue and he had sent them to pick us up. We cruised through Managua and down the countryside to San Jorge. Unilever had a plant which we saw, among others. The parking lot was not very big, but the bike rack had spots for at least one hundred bicycles. The "KFC" was called, Tip Top. Those chicken sandwiches looked hella good in the photo. Beep, beeeeep, went the sound of the horn on the Toyota as the driver honked, notifying his presence to the walker and the cyclist. Actually every basterd in the country honked his horn so much, the "honk-ee" probably was tone deaf to it.
The drivers hit the back roads of the towns we went through, making up time. We made the ferry to Isla de Ometepe, just before it was about to launch. Bookis and his lady, Joey, and I packed the shoe bags upstairs. The ferry launched and the island pulled us in. Across the water, we saw to peaks, reminiscent of a pair of boobies. We didn't know we weren't on the Moyogalpa ferry until we hit the island. Robinson found us and called a cab. The 20 minute cab ride took us to Moyogalpa. Traveling down there was easier than taking a subway in Boston.
Arriving at the race HQ was almost surreal. We found our RD's, Josue and Paula with their volunteers and family. Josue was in the middle of a briefing, so we tried not to impose. Joey and I decided to stay at The Landing whereas Bookis and his lady stayed at their hotel. We saw the Ranchitos Restaurant which looked like a good place. Gabi said, "Order the Mexican Fajitas, they are awesome and ask for a Tona. (there is supposed to be one of those funny Spanish squiggly lines above the 'n' )
We continued catching up over dinner, kicking around what we would do the next day. Gabi, Josue, Paula, and family came in and we kicked it for a while discussing some point or another about our trip, the race, or general BS.
Friday morning, Joey and I went up to the Cornerhouse cafe which was owned by a Briton named Gary. The only expresso machine on the island. Stopping was a no brainer, especially since we both had hangovers from the Tona at Ranchitos. The Cornerhouse also had the best food in town. Homemade bread and sandwiches to die for, not to mention the fruit bowls and jams. As we left we were accosted in the street by a hustler who wanted to make referral fees from legitimate business owners. We tried to be polite as we could, but he keep bothering the shit out of us. Anyway, we made it over to Robinson's motorcycle rental place. It is a family business. Mama, papa, and his brother and two sisters. Joey didnt know how to ride, but said, "Hell, rent me one." Robinson tired to rent Joey a bike, but after Joey almost wrecked the bike in the street in front of the shop, there were second thoughts. I told Joey, "Hey bro, just ride with me, no worries man, I won't feel your leg up!" Ha!.
We rode out to Oyo de Auga on the motorcycle. A Yumbo 200! Cheap Chinese bike, which basically equaled about 1/2 a cc per pound. I kept thinking, of Che Guevara and the motorcycle diaries. I actually hate Che and what he stood for, but the riding a motorcycle in a Latin American country similarity was evident. We never went faster than 60km. Chickens would dart across the road as we went through the little towns. A cowboy was pushing cows from one pasture to another as the cows blocked the road. Even a pig tried to play chicken with us! The swimming hole was pretty neat. Lots of Europeans and Americans out there swimming and hanging out.