beads of sweat were forming behind my knees and i was swatting flies in the heat waiting for the 4 others find their way back to the car after looking for snacks. the road had just straightened out for about 100 km and nick sped on to make up for lost time. we were in chinandega and on route to jiquilillo, where we were hoping to find a quiet beach where we could surf and sip tonas in the afternoon sun.
excited to see some new places, we headed north for the weekend. we had a good team. 5 of us roomies from maderas village. nick: the hyper australian hunk, james: the curious and courteous englishman (who packed an umbrella and couldn’t wait for rainy season), and bennett: the annoyingly photogenic jungle accountant. much like any family road trip, sporadic bickering, outbursts of outrageous car dancing and heavy mockery were in order.
we had come from matagalpa that morning with no idea of what was in front of us. the roadside attractions were breathtaking: peppered with unexpected villages and random splashes of colour, cowboys and bicycles. passing oxcarts, police stops and volcanoes as the tunes dictated the dance moves and we took turns playing DJ. (james was cut off when sugar ray came on..)
we attempted to stay on route (on a route where street signs are rare)
road tripping in northern nicaragua became a guessing game and being lost was all kinds of fun. we found our way up winding hills to selva negra, an organic farm and coffee plantation where we mounted energetic horses and took off on a journey around the finca… awed by the mountainous vista of matagalpa in the distance.
from there we spiralled down the windy hills and stopped at a seemingly serene cemetery that was colourfully overlooking the valley. bennett got his sunglasses stolen by a rogue bandito who had too much flor de cana (rum) for breakfast and the boys couldn’t convince his friends to hand them back over.
about an hour later we were back on the road… unscathed but down a pair of sunglasses.
seeking a waterfall, we fell upon a road going up the mountainside. we went up and up, passing villages and all sorts of magic until we realized we were on the wrong dirt road… and we all decided that the ‘mistake’ was one of the highlights of the trip.
we found the waterfall, eventually.
then we were on the road again. bennett picking the tunes, nick taking corners like a boss, james talking about “what it would look like if it were rainy season” and jenn bobbing her head approvingly to the music. sugarcane fields on either side and then the dirt road met salt plains and, after a few days up in the mountains, once again we saw the sea…
lined with palapa-roofed shacks, the kids were excitable and the water was warm. a full grilled fish on a shack with no floor- nothing but empty coastline in sight- a quiet enjoyment of the breeze and the company.
homeward bound, we took the long route back, over the hills behind managua. with the sun sinking behind us, we were filled with the satisfaction of seeing and doing. the simple joy of a road trip and being able to share it with people who get the same feeling of exhileration from being on the open road with an open mind- just exploring.