Tuesday, June 21, 2011
This weekend we left the country. We are here on tourist visas that expire every 90 days. While we hadn't been here a full 90 days yet, the school had planned a Visa Renewal trip to Nicaragua for this last weekend. They even gave us a 5 day weekend for it. We had to be out of the country 72 hours before we could come back in and get a another visa.
So Friday morning, bright and early a bus full of gringos headed toward Nicaragua. This was suppose to be an 8 hour trip. It turned into about a 12 hour adventure. Nicaragua and Costa Rica have a crummy sort of relationship, and last week for about 3 days Nicaragua had refused to let semi trucks across the boarder.
That meant that for about 15 miles back from the boarder, semis were lined up. A couple had tried to turn around and gotten stuck, causing us to come to stand still for about an hour. This particular trucker came prepared for these sort of situations!
One we got moving again, we got through leaving Costa Rica just fine. Then a quick drive through no man's land and we were at the Nicaraguan boarder. Where we sat. And sat. And sat just a bit longer while our passports were processed. And yes, it's about what you are thinking, hot, sweaty, a bit confusing.
We were thankful we had a trip leader who did most of the work of dealing with customs. And we were very thankful for the air conditioning in the bus. Then came Forrest's highlight, going through the bug sprayer! The bus drove though a sprayer to keep all the Costa Rican bugs from coming into Nicaragua. This made such an impact on Forrest he asked if we were going to do it again on the way home! His eyes were wide the whole time, watching and taking in everything!
As we drove on towards Granada, we drove in the middle of a Windmill Farm. All sorts of visions of Don Quixote crossed my mind as we drove through the windmills and saw two volcano in the distance with the cattle munching in the foreground. It was sort of surreal, especially as the heavy rain clouds rolled in.
We got to our hotel in Granada around 6:30, just in time to hit the pool we had been promising the boys all day and then go to bed! We put the boys down and then we were out very very soon after ourselves. Weird how sitting in a bus all day can wear you right out.
Granda was founded in 1524 and it has a very colonial feel to it. I wish we were able to explore more than we did, but with the kids so little right now, it was better to stick closer to the hotel. Which the hotel was amazing by the way! It was an old fort, and it just perfect!
We spent most of the weekend eating, sleeping, and swimming, although we did get to the market close by and Noah picked out his Father's Day Hammock. My plan is to have hammocks form all over on our porches in Honduras.
We also met a guy who runs a restaurant in downtown Granada who is from Sterling Heights, Michigan! What in the world!? It was a nice little taste of home, complete with foot long hot dogs for the boys.
Yesterday we started home, and made very good time, boarder crossing went much quicker and we were back in San Jose by about 6:30, with another 90 day tourist visa!