Friday, February 22, 2013

Travel Blog pt. 1

Jan. 17

I meant to compose a whole piece reflecting on being home and life in America, but I somehow ran out of time.  Let's just say that while I love stinging-hot showers, milk and butter, and fios internet, I am sufficiently bored enough here to return to my querido Central America.  I leave tomorrow (Friday) morning for Guatemala, the starting point of the backpacking adventure I never got to do upon completing my Peace Corps service.  From there, I'll visit Belize (maybe), Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama before flying home from Panama City on April 1st.  If I have some extra time, I may even get to Colombia and finally touch South American soil!

Visitors are more than welcome.  I have no plan (no really, I'm not lying when I say I ran out of time), but I will have access to email, so hit me up!  I'll hopefully send some exciting mass emails throughout the trip :)

Oh also I did succeed in submitting all seven of my graduate school applications (most of them even waived the application fees on account of my poverty level!), so yay for me!  I should hear back from them mid- to end of March and then I'll make my decision once I'm back.  I'm really, really hoping that I'm accepted into more than one and that I'll have a decision to make!

Feb. 22

It's been a little over a month of travelling now and I meant to write earlier, but never got around to it.  Since I had a bunch of time to kill yesterday (on lovely Ometepe island, Nicaragua), it seemed appropriate to finally pull out the notebook I bought a few weeks ago (I'm transcribing what I handwrote).  Incidentally I bought the notebook for its cover art: a stick drawing of a girl with curly hair under the caption "shorter, but smarter."  Fitting, no?

Anyway, as I write this, I am preparing for my last leg of my time in Nicaragua.  Then it is off to Costa Rica for the fourth country of my adventure (or fifth or sixth, if you count a night in San Salvador and a bus ride across Honduras without getting off.  So far, it's been totally awesome (ugh, I'm even starting to sound like a backpacker haha).

Some highlights:

1. Spending a week in and around Antigua, Guatemala catching up with good friends
2. Waiting in Guatemala City for the bus to Puerto Barrios when into the terminal walked Frank (PCV from my group) and we just smiled at the coincidence of it (we were no longer smiling when the ride was extended for 4 hours due to traffic)
3. Swimming in waterfalls at a reknowned Belizean jaguar reserve
4. Being shown around San Ignacio, Belize by an insane Rasta man
5. ATM caves.  Oh my God incredible (and incredibly dangerous...gotta love Central America).
6. Crossing back into Guatemala to Flores, overnight bus to Guate, and picking up a chicken bus to El Quiché at 5am...good thing I'm no longer a PCV
7. Seeing more friends in Quiché and having a blast at the Cunén those Conejos!  Also I accidentally went into a cantina and was the only female patron...good thing I no longer live there lol
8. Romantic Atitlan getaway with Hilary
9. 6-hour bus ride from Guate to San Salvador (btw papusas at the border are gross), hanging out with a Mexican hippie who got questioned and searched at every border crossing, and then 12+ hours the next day to Matagalpa, Nicaragua
10. hiking in a not-so-cloudy cloud quetzales was a disappointment
11. Chilling with awesome people in León and going to the nearby beach for one night and staying for 3 because we loved it so much
12. Getting accepted to Indiana University and LSE's MPA programs!
13. Volcano boarding in León - I went all of...13km/hour downhill!  Definitely a record for slowest descent
14. Taking local transportation to Managua and getting picked up in a Mercedes-Benz (mind was blown.)
15. Crazy weekend in and around Managua - Cultura Profética concert, ATV riding, private beaching - hosted by Walter, member of the Eskimo family dynasty
16. Fancy hotels in Granada and Ometepe with Matt and Mike

And now?  While writing this, I was getting ready to leave the fancy hotel for an overnight boat ride across Lake Nicaragua.  Having completed it, I have seriously welcomed myself back into backpacking reality.  I still feel like the floor is moving below me lol.  I'm currently waiting for a boat to the Solentiname Islands :)  Oh also I have a hair wrap with a shell tied into it...I'm praying it doesn't turn into a dread!

Photos and more to come later.