Day 1 - I'm on a Plane and I Can't Complain

Hello all readers of the Nicaragua blog! If you didn’t read my first post, go back and do that. Or you can just not and keep reading. I don’t really care. I am Will the blog-master. My job is to update all friends and family of kids on the trip on the trip happenings.

Today was our first day of the Nicaragua trip, but really only our first night in Nicaragua. The day began bright and early at SeaTac: 4:00 AM to be exact. I left my house in Magnolia at 3:15 AM, so there can be no debate that this was an early start. Chara and I thought we were the first people to arrive at the Delta gate to start unloading our tubs from the cars. We were greeted by Lynna Tran and Hannah Collins, who, by their own choice, decided to wake up and meet us at the airport with bags full of snacks personalized for each person and a handwritten farewell message on the outside. These “snacks-packs” were filled with muffins, gummies, pretzels and all sorts of other goodies that made our taste buds dance with joy.

Sometime early in the gathering of tubs at the airport, I made the statement that I thought Jack would be the last to show up. And, of course, our first roll call proved that I was correct: Jack was not there. He showed up, not late, but still last. From his words: “I’ve been planning on showing up at least an hour and a half late since last week.” Not really sure what he meant by that.

We ran into a few snafus with the baggage check people who threatened to “open and search every single one of the tubs and not replace the zip-ties.” Mike Collins, being the leader that he is, recognized we did not have time to argue with these stubborn baggage checkers and simply said, “We don’t have time for this. Get on with it.” Most of the tubs weighed exactly 50 pounds - the exact maximum weight for standard checked baggage. There was one exception in that one of Hannah’s bags weighed in at 51 pounds and we were forced to repack some of her supplies into a tub which had extra space. We made it to gate S and boarded our flight to Atlanta without further excitement.

One perk of the flight was that the seats all had personal TV systems, so we were able to watch the Netherlands vs. Slovakia World Cup game on the flight. You could tell everyone was watching it when, upon Arjen Robben scoring the first goal (a great goal) the whole TSC section of the plane let out a loud “OOOOOHHHHHHH!” which woke up everyone who was trying to sleep.

We landed in Atlanta ahead of the original ETA. We then had about a four-hour layover in the Atlanta airport which people mostly spent getting food and watching Brazil destroy Chile in the second of the World Cup games today. A duo of handsome men (names need not be mentioned, but if I must…Ben and I) tracked down a group of attractive women, sat down near them, and began to serenade them with a playlist of Flight of the Conchords songs including “The Most Beautiful Girl in the Airport.”

We met back up at 4:30 PM Atlanta time and did role call. It was going smoothly until number 10 didn’t answer. After some inquiry we found that number 10 was none other than Jack Mace. Once again, Jack was nowhere to be found. He would show up within a few minutes and we boarded after a quick kick around with a hacky sack. We seemed to be sitting on the tarmac for a long time and I started to get restless. I said to Catherine “I hate big airports because they always get backed up.” Almost on cue, the pilot announced that there was a lineup on the runway and our plane was 17th in line and that would be taking off in about a half hour. The pilot was true to his word and got us into the air within twenty minutes and even got us into Managua, Nicaragua early.

I had mentioned to a few people that one of my major concerns was that Madeleine’s excitement about being in Nicaragua would cause me to lose sleep. She did a great job staying calm (probably due to only get a few hours of sleep) throughout the flights; however, when I got up to get my carryon baggage from the overhead compartment, I saw Madeleine standing with a HUGE grin on her face. At that point I thought she was going to boil over and go crazy, but she stayed reasonable and for this I am proud of her. I am still slightly concerned that her obsession with stray dogs may lead to a case with rabies.

The big time killer was when we went through customs in Managua and the security guards refused to allow us to take the tubs full of computers out of the airport without a letter of approval from customs. After almost two hours of confusion and debate, we decided to leave the tubs, go to our hotel in Grenada and send Bob to get the tubs tomorrow. We crammed into a van headed to Grenada. This was not just “crowding” like all the seats were taken; this was crowding like four people didn’t have seats. We have NO idea how they planned on taking all 40 tubs like originally intended.

Our tired eyes were awoken by the sight of Hotel Con Corazon, our one-night hotel complete with hammocks, a jungle garden, and a SWIMMING POOL. As soon as we got keys to our rooms, we all got into our swimsuits and hit the water. It’s now 12:15 AM on the 29th, and we are all just hanging out in the hotel debating whether or not to go to bed. We do have to get up and head to Ometepe at 6:30, but this hotel is just too much fun. I may be alone, but I am still looking forward to getting to the Finca Magdelena on Ometepe. That happens tomorrow when the adventure continues. For now, I’m exhausted to the point where I can’t really see the keyboard and Windows seems to be fighting with me.

Hasta el proximo vez,

Will

(We think that says “until next time.”)