Our 3 weeks thus far in Nicaragua could aptly be described as “intense”, mentally and physically. I am continually attempting to determine if our mental struggles are causing our time to be physically difficult or if the physical harshness of Nicaragua is causing our mental unrest.
Of course in reality our experience is a result of a combination of countless, undeterminable elements but two main causes in particular keep coming to mind.
1. Travel in Nicaragua is physically harder than travel we encountered in Ecuador.
2. Psychologically, “travel shock” may be in effect as the initial euphoric phase of travel wains and we emerge into the real day to day of long term family travel and what that really feels like.
And we have done all that.
Having grown up on an island where the longest possible car ride would be 1.5 hrs, the kids are already surprisingly accustomed to very long haul buses. We pack efficiently and after getting a man with a sewing machine on the street of Granada to shorten the length of Yoda’s waist belt on his backpack in order to better fit his slim frame, we can each comfortably carry all our belongings. Yoda and Zuki seem at ease conversing with fellow travelers and openly share their travel experiences with pride. We enter and exit transportation with competence, even in one instance while the bus was still moving. And countless other adaptations along the way. We were feeling pretty confident leaving Ecuador.
Somehow the rhythm has changed since we entered Nicaragua. Here we are on day #58 of our World Trip and we seem to be experiencing what could fittingly be called "family travel distress". Nicaragua travel has been more physically extreme then expected and has pushed us to our limits and sometimes beyond.
Since the moment we deplaned at 9pm in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital city, we were stunned by the heat. The constant hot weather is causing lethargy, effecting our moods, and heating our tempers. Travel is also made more extreme by the fact that Nicaragua is generally louder, less clean, and seems to perceive personal space as smaller.
It was just icing on the cake upon arival to hike the 20 minutes to our booked accommodations, Dobedo, at 6 pm to discover there was no place open for food. So dinner consisted of a jar of peanut butter we had and the manager cut us up a pineapple from the garden. Three out of the 4 of us were eaten alive by mosquitos over night, even with the mosquito nets provided. There was no wind and no fans. Yoda was so hot that I had to get a towel completely soaked and lay it over him to keep him cool. It was almost laughable. How were we having such a bad time of it even on the desirable Corn Island? Needless to say, “Dobedo” is now our family code word for something horrible. Luckily, the next day we found new accommodations on the other side of the island at beautiful, beachfront, wind blown Casa Iguana.