I’ve returned to Nicaragua in my mind, that is…
Two weeks ago we sipped our watermelon juice and slowly chewed our white pineapple at breakfast overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the Pelican Eyes Resort in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, Central America.
It was Tuesday morning, February 2nd. Time to fly back to Miami. We tearfully hugged the bride and groom who had married the previous Saturday afternoon in the quaint blue Catholic church in town. Please read Get us to the Church on Time– Nicaraguan-style if you missed out on the love and romance and want some for Valentine’s Day.
We loaded into the little white shuttle bus and bounced back to the airport in Managua. We prepared to board an American Airlines flight which would bring us out of this beautiful complex developing-nation and back into our gringo comfort zones.
Two weeks ago already!
Sometimes it feels like it happened twenty years ago, in a dream. I am already back in “home-mode” busy with everyday life.
Yesterday, sorting and filing and backing-up photos, I lingered in the Nicaraguan file and remembered once again…
And thought, “Heck! I haven’t finished showing my blog readers some of these photos! I don’t care if they are tired of Nicaragua and want to see snow photos from the unfrozen shores of Lake Superior. I want to pause one more time and remember our incredible visit to this country!”
Guess what readers?
Blog writer wins!
You have to admire the Nicaraguan scenery and people and flora and fauna yet one more time. (OK, you can turn away and go searchin’ for snow on other blogs if you like. Or come back soon. I’m sure the Snow Goddess will insist upon photos of snow here soon.)
Here’s an interesting fact I may have forgotten to share. Even though metal-roofed shacks dot the countryside and many cannot afford an adequate standard of living–almost every house features a satellite dish.
I kid you not.
Settle down to scroll through some of the photos on this Valentine’s Day when your heart is soft and sweet. I will tell you a funny story later on. Or you can go back and re-read the other Nicaraguan blogs:
Here is the story I promised you.
When we reached the Managua airport last Tuesday, we jostled through crowds to check our luggage, fill out appropriate customs forms, hurdle security. After a long hour, we finally reached our gate. We heaved a sigh of relief, when suddenly, the loudspeaker blared requesting my mother’s presence at the podium.
My 79 year old mother?
Oh no, what was happening?
Five of us hurried to the podium where a Nicaraguan official awaited.
In halting English he requested that Joanne accompany him. Her checked suitcase had been detained. Perhaps she was smuggling? (No, no, he didn’t suggest such a thing. He simply wanted Joanne to follow him back across the airport to her large suitcase so the TSA could dig through her undergarments and wedding clothes.) Another gringo from the U.S., an older gentleman, was also flagged.
Off went Joanne.
Of course the rest of us–OK, some of us–were nervous, fitful. We waited. We waited some more. Joanne did not reappear.
My dad, trooper that he was, announced, “I am not leaving Nicaragua without your mom!”
Of course, we all agreed. We would stay. We would not desert Joanne in her hour of incarceration.
More time passed.
Finally, at the far end of the terminal, I saw Joanne and sprinted toward her.
“Mom, are you OK?” I breathed, heart-pounding, quivering with relief.
She arched her eyebrow as if to say, “What are you exaggerating about now, Kathy?”
“Oh yes!” she replied cheerfully, “I have a new best friend from the Jersey Shore!”
(We worry about her for a half hour and she has a new best friend…)
Turns out the Nicaraguan TSA had rifled through her luggage at least 16 times (or at least over and over and over again) looking, looking, looking. They continually shook Dad’s shaving cream as if to determine its suspicious contents. They searched and searched. They turned up nothing. She engaged in light conversation with the other gentlemen from the U.S., attempting to ease his nervousness.
Of course they turned up nothing! Of all the people to flag–our mother should have been the LAST one to have her suitcase searched.
However, as we have repeated at least 26 times, of all the people to have their suitcase searched by a Central American government–my mom was probably the best candidate.
She was as calm and cool as a cucumber.
She’s still wondering what was the big deal.