End Of An Eviction Tour

This blog entry about the events of Tuesday, January 01, 2008 was originally posted on February 01, 2008.

DAYS 41-43:  If you recall, Elaine met a guy on the plane from Houston named Steve, who was actually a friend of a friend of hers back in New York.  Like Stephanie to Camillo in Bogota, Colombia, we had to use my cell phone to track him down.  Even though Steve was in Nicaragua to take a Spanish class in Grenada, he was using all non-class time to see as much of the country as he could.  Upon contacting him via email to his BlackBerry, I soon received a text message.  We discovered that he was in fact, right there in San Juan del Sur too, at one of the restaurants on the beach, two blocks away from us.

“Happy New Year,” I greeted him that New Year’s Day as he was about to eat a fish platter that just arrived. 

“Happy New Year.”  Steve was an intrepid one, trying to do the local thing as much as he could, trying to avoid the gringo trail whenever he could — in fact, he was practicing his Spanish with the locals on the other side of the table when we arrived.  We all caught up on the events of our holiday (over delicious Coca-Colas) and tried to figure out a plan on what to do to get back to Grenada.  Some people said that, even though it was New Year’s, there were buses running back that way; others said there would be nothing available but a hired taxi. 

We left the restaurant and wandered town to where the bus would be if there was one.  Steve used his Spanish to ask around, but everyone had a different answer to where the bus would be — and ultimately, we walked in a complete circle.  Finally, when we figured it out, people said that there was in fact one bus, but that it had just left and we missed it. 

“I guess we’ll get a taxi,” Steve said.  We arranged a taxi to take us all the way to Grenada in one shot for $15 each.  It was well worth it since it got us there before the confusing time of nightfall — plus it got us there with time to relax for a bit.  Steve got dropped off at his home-stay, while Elaine and I went to find a hotel — but we’d we group later for our last night in Nicaragua together.

I’d like to think it was my influence that convinced Elaine to not go to another hostel dorm, but to “splurge” the thirteen bucks to split a private room with two beds, a private bathroom with hot water, and a TV.  We found this at the Hotel Dorado, a block away from the main plaza, which was a lot more lively than we anticipated; perhaps there was something worthy of Grenada after all.  In the meanwhile, we settled into our room to clean up and repacked our bags, all while watching a Spanish-dubbed version of Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown! (And Don’t Come Back!)

Steve was to have dinner with his host family, so Elaine and I went off to explore.  Unlike our last time in Grenada, we were now closer to where all the action was, near the promenade between the main plaza and the ferry port.  The street was lined with outdoor cafes, restaurants and bars, and it was so crowded that we could barely find a place to sit.  We had a craving for disco fries (fries with cheese and gravy) or even disco yucca, but the closest we could get were “Roadhouse Fries” (fries with chili and cheese) at Roadhouse, this neighborhood bar quite possible named after the Patrick Swayze movie.  It was a Nicaraguan imitation of a T.G.I.Friday’s or Applebees, a restaurant with a bar with sports memorabilia on the wall (mostly American teams), serving standard American bar food items and burgers.  Much to our chagrin, the Roadhouse fries weren’t available, so we settled on chicken fingers and nachos.  We might have felt guilty to be “selling out” to American food, but it’s not like locals didn’t enjoy it as well — the place was mostly serving other locals, so it seemed.  Besides, I missed it.

We met Steve at another bar, but then regrouped at the Safari Lounge, a place adorned with zebra stripes that mostly catered to gringos — not that there’s anything wrong with it.  It wasn’t really Steve’s scene though — he wanted the full Nicaraguan immersion experience in his short time there — so after a drink he took us to a place that was off the tourist radar, a place recommended to him by his teachers and host family.  A short taxi ride took us to the Cesar Disco Bar in a dark, seemingly desolate part of town — but all the liveliness was apparently inside.  Entering the building, we saw a big crowded dancefloor surrounded by dinner tables, with a big bar on one side, and a stage on the other.  Performing was some local salsa band who sang and danced on stage to the rhythmic sounds of their instruments. 

The music really got the crowd’s hips gyrating, including Steve, but for me and Elaine it was a bit tiring.  Not that it wasn’t fun, but we were both still wiped from the night before.  Steve was fine with the Pepsi and rums we drank all night, but for me, it only made me zone out.  (That picture’s staged if you can believe that.)

THE NEXT MORNING, we were fully rested by sunrise.  Elaine and I walked back through the main plaza (with its pile of piggy banks for sale), passed the cathedral (where a girl was dressed in a traditional dress [picture above], most likely to dance for tips from the cruise tour that was slated to be in town), and to the promenade of cafes to find breakfast.  We recharged on smoothies (a great idea), pancakes, and eggs at this one place with an old (ex-pat?) Irish waiter before heading back to gather our belongings to depart.  For Elaine, it was time to go home.

A Paxos shuttle van picked us up at the hotel, and we left Grenada behind.  It was better the second time around, and we’d miss its colonial classiness and kitsch factor.  Elaine went straight to the airport in Managua for her afternoon flight.  My flight didn’t check-in until early the next morning, so I decided, like others in the shuttle, to just check into the Best Western literally across the street from the airport.  It was the perfect place to be “on vacation” one last time before going back to the cold New York winter; I had a cabana to myself, a massage, a lovely dinner of local lake trout, and some pool time to just do nothing and read a book under the warm tropical sun.  It was lovely, if only for fifteen hours. 

I also used this time to digest everything that had happened on my Central American Eviction Tour, and I knew I’d have to go back and face the questions of where to live and what to do with myself in Life, from travel to career to relationships.  At least I had a “clean slate in 2008” I started to say to myself, because I like the way it rhymes.  The questions were still unanswered; all I knew was that perhaps this latest trip has shown me that I am — at least for the time being — completely jaded and “traveled out.”  In my mind, with all I’ve seen and blogged about in just five years, villages have become villages, cities are cities, jungles are jungles, beaches are beaches, travelers are travelers.  (The only “new” experiences to me on this trip were hiking near lava and getting shot in the stomach.)  When or where I’d plan my next trip was not yet determined, but I knew that one day, sometime in the future, it would come. 

In the meantime, I knew I could still have fun wherever I am, may it be on the road or back at base camp in New York.  Two days later, I was back in the Big Apple for Elaine’s birthday celebration at the Fuerzabruta show — and with every jumping photo, it was easy to reminisce and relive our days in Central America.






Next entry: Preface In Paris

Previous entry: Nicaraguan New Year’s




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Comments for “End Of An Eviction Tour”

  • Tada!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/01  at  09:53 PM


  • I guess you gotta ask “what is left?”  I think you have pretty well done it all.  It’s gonna be hard to top any of your trips. Thanks for the great read!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/03  at  02:19 AM


  • Hurrah! The New York Giants won the super bowl! What a great game!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/03  at  02:22 AM


  • Yeah!  Go GIANTS!!!

    Posted by Erik TGT  on  02/03  at  03:52 AM


  • Antarctica??
    Did you do New Zealand on a long ago trip?? I need to actually finish this blog, but work’s been too hectic… I’m headed back to Thailand on my mom’s dime at the end of March - I’m SUPER stoked… And I’m bummed that the Giants won - I have a little bit of my heart that will always cheer for Boston teams… it’s all that money I spent at BU for a year!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/03  at  05:36 AM


  • I can’t believe all the amazing things you’ve done. Maybe to get some rest for a change, your next journey can be more metaphorical… an inner journey or exploration.

    I have friends in Australia… just in case.

    Posted by mia  on  02/03  at  07:11 PM


  • Thanks for another excellent blog, Erik.  I always feel a bit sad when these end.  And yes, Go Giants!  They won me £20!

    You’re always welcome in Scotland if you need some new travelling idea’s.

    Happy new year!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/04  at  01:31 PM


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This blog post is one of thirty-nine travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip: The Central American Eviction Tour* (*with jaunt to Colombia)," which chronicled a six-week journey through Central America, with a jaunt to Bogota, Colombia.

Next entry:
Preface In Paris

Previous entry:
Nicaraguan New Year’s




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