I've been back in the States for a little over a week now, and while I love seeing my friends and family here, I gotta say, guys: I'm missing Nica. Weird, right?! Every time I come home, I don't think about Nica at all whatsoever because it's hard to think about Nica when you're so busy stuffing your face with hamburgers and hot dogs since, you know, that's what all Americans eat three times a day every day. Actually, I really miss Nicaragua because I feel like I've finally gotten into the right place and a great routine down there. So yes, I miss it! However, instead of continuing whining, a skill in which I exceed, I will fill everyone in on the events that took place before I came home.
For starters, I finally did one of the things I've been the most afraid to do during my whole time in Nicaragua: drive.
|"I'm Erling Téllez and I approve this message."|
|Us with Erling, Rebecca, Jennifer, & Douglas.|
As for what happened next, well...remember San Cristobal? The volcano adjacent to Chinandega? Remember how it erupted right when I arrived in town in September 2012?
Remember how it erupted again just three months later and spewed ash all over town, resulting in many damaged lungs and evacuations?
|Yeah, I was walking to get my morning coffee that day when I looked up and saw THIS.|
Well, we hiked it last week! (Kids, please do not look to me as a good example.)
Actually, we semi-hiked it. We wanted to reach the top by sunrise, mainly because hiking it in the hot sun would've tripled the difficulty. That involved staying up until 2:00 AM and riding with the tour guides to a farm where the trail began. The drive to the farm was supposed to take about an hour, but the road was pretty rough - rough, but not impossible to navigate. All that is required is some ambition and work ethic, neither of which our truck driver had. We weren't even halfway to the farm when we got stuck in a rough patch of the road. We could have easily made it out and did everything we could to guide our driver out of it, but he seriously would not listen to a word we said. He did the opposite of everything we suggested and even when we tried to smooth out the path for him, he refused to drive through. I can understand that it was 2:00 in the morning, man, but we're paying you for a service! We spent about 45 minutes arguing with him/trying to help him until we realized how much time we had wasted. He wasn't going to drive us there, so we had no choice but to just leave him (along with the truck) and walk to the farm ourselves.
Walking to the farm was a hike itself. It took about two hours, and it was just as physically exerting. We were supposed to reach the farm by 3:00 so we could make it to the top of the volcano by sunrise, but we didn't arrive at the farm until about 5:00. I would've preferred to just finish the whole hike anyway since we had already gotten that far, but I also had to leave for the airport at 4:30 that afternoon. Actually, I would've finished it anyway, but another brother in our group who was leaving on the same flight as I was still needed to get back to León to pack his things. All of that, along with the fact a few others in our group weren't feeling that well, led us to the decision to call it a day (or night? We all got mixed up!) and finish it another time. We were disappointed, but we didn't consider the trip a waste by any means! While we were waiting for another truck to come pick us up from the farm to bring us back into town, we still managed to hike up a portion of the trail to get some decent photos.
|Pretty satisfying view!|
I have to say, being able to view Chinandega from the volcano that has been the background in so many of my photos all this time was a very satisfying experience. For once, the town itself was in the background! It has been such an intriguing aspect of my time in Chinandega ever since I arrived, and it was very cool finally checking it out. Although we only did a portion of the hike, it still felt like another major accomplishment - this time, for all of us.
|Don't be fooled. The top was a lot further than it looked!|
|The result of me checking to see if my camera timer was working. Apparently, it was.|