I arrived in San Juan del Sur at around 11am. I think I was able to snag the last available bed in the town. Apparently, this was to be the hot spot for New Years. Fortunately, I my hostel was only a block from the beach. I had read that the beach in town was lacklustre but I went for a walk anyway. I actually quite enjoyed the beach. Check it out.
I grabbed lunch at a waterfront restaurant and then strolled to the end of the beach. I went for a swim and then was summoned by a Nica family who was renting out a beach house for the holidays. They invited me to their backyard table for a beer and we talked for about 30mins. I then hiked up to the big Jesus statue, like the one you may think of when imagining Brazil, which is where this picture I stole from Google was taken. I stayed up there for quite a while listening to music but then I started to feel the effects of the heat again. I was struck by my earlier symptoms on my walk down and I eagerly sought my hostel bed for a nap. When I got back I grabbed a gatorade from the fridge and when I closed it there was Tzily hiding behind it and waiting to greet me. I had no idea her and Oren were coming to SJDS as well.
“I thought I saw a bit of Sunshine!” she said. Back in Leon the Israelites referred to me as “Sunshine” when talking about me in Hebrew. When I asked her why she said it was because my bright yellow shirt, hair and sunburn made me look like “A beeg sun.”
Tzily and Oren invited me to come join them at the Naked Tiger hostel because they had some friends staying there. I was ready to collapse but agreed anyway. Other Andrew came along just then and joined us as well. We hopped a free shuttle out of town and up the hill to the hostel. It was a gorgeous set up with it’s bar/restaurant, patio views of the ocean, infinite pool, and young positive staff/visitors. A group of us sat around on the upper deck and watched the sun set over the Pacific. I couldn’t drink anymore but we did smoke some of the tea I bought in Granada, which made me feel better. That and smoothies. Many places in Nicaragua offer fantastically fresh fruit smoothies and I downed at least a dozen of them after my heat exhaustion.
I left with Tzily and Oren at 8 and we grabbed dinner in town. They are both dedicated vegans and so we had to search many places before we settled on a waterfront joint that served veggie burgers (but the chef put mayo on them and botched the whole thing). I tried as hard as I could to stay up but I crumbled at 10pm and had to retire. My hostel was the first real dive I had stayed in all week. It was infested with big ass cockroaches and jungle sweaty in the dorms. My bed was the only one without a fan pointed at it. There were rolling blackouts and so it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. The instant I lay down I began sweating and when I woke up at 3am, as I had the night before, every inch of my bed was soaked and my hair was as wet as if I’d just had a shower. I had to towel off and then I migrated to the upstairs sitting area and slept on the couch until 6am.
For my last day in Nicaragua I hopped a shuttle to one of the North beaches called Playa Maderas. It was indeed a much nicer beach than in SJDS and it was more isolated. I thought about renting a surf board but when I was swimming I got tossed hard by a wave and swallowed a large volume of salt water. I dry heaved for a bit and then didn’t much feel like exerting myself afterwards. Instead I did what I always seem to do – go for a long walk.
That evening I again hung out with Tzily and Oren. Each party tried to bait the other into visiting it’s native land. I enthralled them with pictures of Banff and I was pleasantly surprised with the landscape of Israel. It seems more likely that I will visit them in Israel – perhaps as early as next August. That night I again made a move for the couch but someone beat me to it. To avoid the swamp of my dorm room I pushed two chairs together and again slept upstairs.
I had arranged for a morning shuttle to take me straight to the airport. Before I left Tzily got up to have coffee with me. I’m glad she did because there is really no person in the world I enjoy talking to more. The van pulled up at 8:45am and thus began my extensive travel back to Canada. Nicaragua borrowed herself into my heart. I appreciated/missed her even more when I returned to Canada and was arrested at the airport. But that is a story for another blog.