Day 2 - No Rest for the Weary

The day of travel wore us out, but not quite enough to persuade us to get to bed early. The Hotel Con Corazon was amazing and we admittedly should have gone to bed earlier, but were kept up by its many activities. Our first full day in Nicaragua began at 6:30 with a breakfast of fresh fruit, granola and yogurt, and some delicious watermelon juice.

We left the hotel and headed for a ferry to take us to Ometepe Island. When we arrived at the ferry, there was some confusion as to whether we had prepaid or not. As Ben put it: “We definitely paid someone. It might not have been these guys, but we paid.” We got on the ferry and set out at mind-bogglingly slow speeds.

Our first sight of Ometepe was of this red house surrounded by thick jungle. I have seen some photogenic houses around the world and this definitely ranked up in the top few I’ve ever seen. A van then came to pick us up. Again we were confused at how, if we had managed to bring the tubs along, these van drivers planned on taking 40 tubs along with us and all our luggage.

The van took over an hour to reach Finca Magdelena because the road was bumpy beyond belief. There were times I would look ahead on the road and see a couple HUGE rocks blocking our path and I didn’t think we would make it past. The van would slow down to about 5 MPH and people would even walk by us. However, before the bumpy section, we drove on an arterial that probably was the equivalent of a 40 MPH road in the US. The driver was doing at least 60-70 or so. One memorable moment was when the driver pushed a button and a flat screen TV came down from the ceiling and started playing Nicaraguan music videos (basically Latin rap). We also completed an epic quintuple pass where the driver passed five vehicles ahead of us without reentering the right line. The five vehicles included two pickups, a Hyundai sedan, and two semi-trucks. The whole ride was unbelievably photogenic and hopefully Abe and Peter can get some pictures up so everyone can see.

The Finca is great, pretty rustic, and crazily humid. We are all sticky with sweat. There were some room organization problems and Mike and Bob ended up getting put in one of the “honeymoon suites” sharing one twin-sized bed. However, Bob will not be home tonight because customs still won’t let Scott and him take the tubs of computers out of customs. The mayor of Balgue is sending a letter that will allow them to do that, but until then they are stuck in Managua. We are hoping to get the tubs by tomorrow so we can start setting up the lab on Thursday. Not only do the tubs have computers, but they also have everyone’s bug sprays, toothpastes, sunscreens, and razors. Us guys are starting to look a bit rugged not having shaved for a few days.

The major event of the day was our visit to the high school. They had a whole presentation of dancing and talking (in Spanish, of course, so I couldn’t understand a word) set up to greet us. This would grant us our first opportunity for, as Mike puts it, “an awkward cultural experience.” The dancers came out after their performance and asked some of our TSC members to dance with them. It wouldn’t have been too awkward had it not gone on for almost a full half hour. For the first few minutes, the crowd of students was laughing, but the excitement died down after about the fourth song of awkward dancing. It can be agreed that Jack won the award for best dance moves. His moves and the few Spanish words he knew were enough to woo his dance partner and make her want the dance to never end. Hannah also managed to woo her partner into inviting us to a party later in the night.

Meals today were fairly boring. For lunch we had beans, rice, and chicken (really good) then for dinner we had beans, rice, and chicken (really good). Yes, I did just say that we had the same thing for lunch and dinner. In the future we plan on rotating between this meal and spaghetti.

After dinner, we did head to the party that we were invited to. We walked about 20 minutes, following the sound of a bumping dance beat, to an open courtyard with a strobe light and loud Latin rap music. It sounds amazing, but the dance floor was literally empty. Not a single person was there, but we decided just to go in anyway. It was still fun and after a half hour or so, Nicaraguans started showing up. We were pretty proud for getting the party started. Once again, Jack used his moves to earn him the title as Best Dancer. Twice in one day Jack, well done.

We are back at the Finca now relaxing before bed. Sleeping with the mosquitoes should be interesting. Add on to that that all seven boys are all sleeping in the same room and you have yourself a very unpredictable night. Tomorrow we should head back to the school, and hopefully we will get more sleep tonight than we have the past two nights.

Me llamo Will, yo tengo dies y seis anos

(These are the phrases I learned to introduce myself to the school today. NICE.)

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