Crossing into San Juan del Sur
Onward to Nicaragua! We left the morning after our pool day and drove for the border to nicaragua. Not exactly the part of the trip that we've been longing for but we entered with high energy and expectations. At the end of our last time in central america, we felt as though we were beginning to become experts at this border crossing endeavor. Our spanish we at its best, we were in a patient and slow mindset, comfortable with the unknown and having crossed 5 borders in less than a month certainly gave us decent practice. Now, we feel like we just got called up from the minors. We're cold and haven't had a chance to warm up before getting the call in the bottom of the ninth. But...there's no time like the present and no way to move forward without it. Bring on the border.
Wow. How easily we forget. As we approach the border we see an impossibly long line of semi trucks. Luckily, we know now to simply drive past them, dodging oncoming traffic as we go. We finally make it as far as the border (really just an odd array of shacks, one of which is the correct and official shack while the rest are just dummy clones), park the car and set out on foot to export us, the bus and the dog from CR. Everything looks vaguely familiar...but we still end up walking to all sides of every building before finding the right windows for whatever step we happen to be at. We move quickly enough through immigration and then after checking all possible buildings head back 100meters into the woods for aduana (customs). We had forgotten the all important step of making multiple copies of every document (including the one just stamped and handed to you) and leave aduana for a quick set of copias.
Sadly, while in line for copies it was apparently time for fumigation. Daily, monthly, annual, we have no idea; but when the employees all file out of the building and some dude in a hazmat suit starts spraying everything with a cloud of toxic smoke...you should probably pay attention and exit as well.
We all stand outside as plumes of smoke filled the volume of the building and the line that we were in the front of grows by the dozens, most of whom are jostling for position trying to sneak in front of us in the queue. Eventually the bomberos (firemen) show up to oversee the toxin removal (open the doors), and we carry on.
Aduana complete, we drive a few blocks to the point of entry for Nicaragua and repeat the entire process in reverse (with the addition of having to seek out multiple officials that don't have offices, but are merely wandering around the border area on foot. What started out feeling like it was going to be a quick crossing soon took almost 3hours.
That decided, we were heading no further today than San Juan Del Sur.
We pull back into the town we are now vaguely familiar with, went back to our favorite coffee/smoothie shop and got online looking for lodging. Jen jogged around to a few places and we ended up camping in the parking lot of a hostel overlooking the beach. Not our most luxurious camping, but comfortable as we got plenty of breeze across the street from the beach and could hop on wifi from the bus (and even duck inside for a shower and coffee as needed).
We walked to dinner, got a good nights sleep and marveled at how young backpackers seem to be these days. Something in my core tells me its less about them getting younger and more about us getting older...but we prefer to look at it the other way around.
In the morning we sit outside with coffee. The backpackers all work off their hangovers and talk about tonight's bar conquests while we sit talking with a retired couple searching for a place to call home in the winter. I get a bit of design work in while jen shops for produce and then we set out for breakfast at the public market. Always assured to be the best/most authentic meal in any town.
These dimly lit and at first sketchy collections of comedors are always guaranteed to leave our stomachs happy and typically leave me cursing myself for not splurging for a better camera before we left for the trip.