Friday, March 22, 2013

The road to Ometepe

In 2012 I had a last second offer to run the Fuego Y Agua 100km in Nicaragua. At the time it seemed like crazy idea as I was already ramping up for the Caballo Blanco Ultra Marathon and I had to regretfully decline.  Well a year had passed and all of sudden crazy sounded like a good idea.

An old of mine Jess Soco (fellow Lunatic) and few knew ones Dawn Marie Burke and Sean Meissner were doing it and so should I?
 Not really thinking it was realistic cost wise I looked up the cheapest plane ticket to Nicaragua online (then I looked on map to see where Nicaragua was) One way $228 (holy crap that's cheap) only caveat was that it was on America's worst airline.  Luna Sandals had already agreed to pay for my travel to Mexico. 
 I couldn't afford not to take this detour.

My initial plan was to spent the month leading up to the Caballo Blanco Ultra Marathon down in Urique Mexico with some fellow Mas Loco's including Tyler Tomasello.  I suggested to Tyler that maybe we should  go to Nicaragua instead.  Within about 10 minutes he had booked a flight  shortly there after so did I.

February 7th 2013
Tyler arrived at my place in Los Angeles the day before.  Our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:20 a.m. and we arrived at the airport at 4:30  a.m.  Plenty of time to spare, Right????  Maybe if you weren't traveling on the worlds shittiest airline?

Earlier in the week I tried to print my ticket from the internet but for some reason it wouldn't work.  When I called customer support  I got this recording "Because are fares are so low we can not answer your call" WTF? oh well.

Well when I went to get my boarding pass at the counter, some mean lady said I needed to show proof of how I was leaving Nicaragua before I could receive my ticket. "What?" I had no clue this was needed, nor did Tyler and neither of us had reserved anything.  
Quickly we ran over to the international terminal (where there was free internet) I called my sister (woke her up) and had her put together somthing that looked like bus ticket I could show the the lady at the terminal. from my tablet computer.

"Here you go this is my, uh my ticket?"
The lady looked totally skeptical.  "Where's the confirmation number?"

We were running out time fast it was now less than hour till our flight was to leave we ran back to the international terminal.  I called my sister again this time asking if she could book any bus ticket she could find regardless if we actually were gonna use them or not.  As luck would have it the website was now down for maintenance.

We were totally screwed.  In a last ditch effort I pulled out my journal  and wrote "MCJP4FK"
When we returned back to the ticket counter I told the lady that their website was under maintenance and that was why I didn't have a confirmation number but was able to talk to some one the phone.  I then pulled out journal and read to her "MCJP4FK" she typed it into her computer and printed out our boarding passes with 30 mins to spare
 First stop Las Vegas
 Stupid slot machine I  lost $40 Tyler lost $20

On to Texas for a short layover in Dallas. Whoop deedoo nothing to see here except dressed women at the airport with big boobs and lots of make up (sounds better than it was). 
Next Stop , Spring break 2013 Fort Lauderdale here we come .

THe Fort Lauderdale airport was full of old dirty surfers hitting on lesbian hippies (needless to say I blended in well)  I think we had a 3 hour lay over and 2 Heinekens but it could have been the other way around.  Around Midnight we took off for our final flight to Managua Nicaragua.

Our plane arrived an hour or so late when we stepped  into the airport around 3 a.m. there was dude holding a sign with my name written on it (Big Pinpin) It cost $25 but for piece of mind and ride two our hotel wherever it may be.
Money well spent at that hour.

We sped off from the airport like we were being chased.  I wasn't paying too much attention until I noticed us blow straight through a red light .  I better buckle up "wait second there's no seat belts in the back seat of this 1988 corolla. In the 10 miles or so too our hotel  we ran no less than 50 red lights.
 Not bad for $20 a night
Only the finest hotels in Nicaragua have swing sets
 Hell it's even got a pool.

We were warned by the owners of our hotel that the streets were dangerous and that we should not go exploring on foot.

But when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose so Tyler and I went off for what we thought would be a short run, (diligently not paying attention to where we were going) we were lost with in minutes but the weather was beautiful and we had nowhere we had to be.
I think we found the capital Perhaps one of us will become the next 
 And I believe this is where Jesus use to spend his holidays
 Maybe we should go the other way?

At every corner you had to be careful because all the metal sewer covers had been stolen for scrap leaving 2 to 4  foot holes that you could easily fall into
But at least it was handicap accessible?  
It was hot and we were getting parched.
"Un Litre of Tona Por Favor",  Saying my spanish is almost as good as my english is more of testament to how bad my english is
 on second thought "Dos litre's of Tona Por favor"
 Life is good.
The  local's had no clue what to make of a couple of shirtless gringos running in sandals. I think I was the scruffiest dude in town and Tyler was the buffest. People were yelling at us left in right. The ladies and few dudes were sizing up Tyler.  We just smiled and said "No Gracias" It was probably for the best that we didn't know what the hell people were saying.  
However I did hear one person call us "Scoobie Doo?"
And guess what song heard blasting out so random house???
GO Pat GO!
"All over Managua"

It was about 90 somthing degrees and trouble was too slow to catch up with us.  Even the stray dogs gave up the the chase within a few 100 feet.  Every couple minutes it seemed Tyler would sprint in front of of me. "Whats going on Dude?"  "Dogs!" He was a bit scared. As for me I was too oblivious  to be fearful. I don't think Tyler wanted me to get bit but each time a dog got within a few feet of biting my face he was giggly like a school girl.
 Time for some Beisball with some Local kids
 Eventually we found are way and made it back to our hotel after about 4 hour run
They got funny looking avocado's in Nicaragua?.
Managua can be strange place, after an evening stroll around around town
we had gotten our fix and decided that we would jump on a bus the next morning towards Ometepe
As soon as our taxi arrived at the bus station  some random dude grabbed our bags and and started escorting us to a Chicken Bus???  The bus was completely full and it seemed there was still a line of people waiting to get on.  Neither Tyler or I really knew what was going on but before we had a chance to protest or question what was happening we found ourselves standing in the isle of a bus to who knows where?  I tipped our escort a few Cordova's and we were off. (hopefully in the right direction?)
After about 90 mins of standing in the isle above some giant woman in low cut shirt Tyler and I got some front row seats and scored a few smiles from the bus drivers daughter.  It turns out we on the right bus after all and it only cost about $3 for the 2 hour ride.  
With in one minute of getting off our bus we were now on a ferry.
Next Stop Ometepe.  

Before leaving on our trip I didn't even know the race was on an Island and that the Island was on a lake.
Is that a Volcano? What you say there's two of them?
This trip is gonna be Sweet!

If you're looking for a bit more eloquence you can read Tyler's side of the story here
Wandering Free

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