Day 13 (Rec Day) – In honor of our last full day in Nicaragua, I got up for a run through Managua with Nat, Seth, and Brittany. It was short and uneventful, but felt good. (This was my first run since the tripping incident). We showered, and ate breakfast at the usual 8am. We didn’t have to be anywhere until 10, so I took some time to pack and nap.
We drove for an hour, to a small village high on a mountain that overlooked a lagoon. The view was spectacular! We took advantage of the photo ops there.
We walked around the small market area there for a few minutes, the got back on the bus.
We drove back down the mountain and entered a national reserve area. We came to a resort-style restaurant, with steps down into the lagoon. We ordered drinks and food, then took a dip in the water while we waited. The edge of the water was really rocky, but once you go in a little further, it was sandy (and we couldn’t touch anyway). The water was perfect – neither hot nor cold! We took a break for lunch, then got back in once our food settled. There was a boat ramp ledge a little ways off, so the majority of the group swam out to it to jump. The afternoon was spent relaxing in the lagoon – I felt hundreds of miles away from the parts of Nica we had seen. Our group was the only one in the lagoon, and the only sound you could hear was the monkeys. For the last hour, we laid out on the platform, ordered drinks, and talked. It was quite a relaxing afternoon!
We left about 4 and drove back to the hotel. Don Juan, our bus driver, was quite the hero to us over the two weeks, so Danielle and Lindsey had the idea to take pics with him – on top of the bus!
The rest of the day was spent packing. Marta ordered Pizza Hut for dinner, to ease us back into “our food.” She said goodnight early, and so we all crowded around a couple of tables, to play cards and tell stories. I, for one, was worn out from being out in the sun all day, so I turned in about 10pm.
Day 14 (Travel) – Hasta Pronto, Nica! (Until next time!)
Natalie, Danielle, and Brittany had 7am flights, so they had to be ready to leave at 4:30am. Katie and I woke up when Nat and Britt did, to see them off. Hugs from both, and a “Bye little sunshine” from Nat. Danielle came by and gave us both hugs too, then we went back to sleep until breakfast. Even though I was still asleep for the goodbyes, it didn’t make them any easier!
The eight of us left had breakfast at 8, then finished our packing and left at 9:30. We requested our favorite Spanish song, El Meneaito, immediately, but old Don Juan purposefully didn’t find it until we were pulling into the airport! We said more goodbyes outside the airport, to Don Juan and Marta.
Check-in was easy, and somehow my bag still weighed 58 lbs, even after leaving a suitcase full of medicine! I carried on only my backpack, which made moving around the airport much easier. We filled out our Nicaraguan exit forms, then passed through security. The Managua airport only has 5 gates, so we all stuck together until time to board. Karen, Jenna, and Lindsey were on the same flight as me, and we were the first to go. More goodbyes were said as we left the other four behind. The flight was uneventful. I was alone in the front; the other three sat together in the back. There was an empty seat next to me, and I had more room than I knew what to do with. My uncle booked my ticket, so I was in Economy Plus. That allowed me to sit in the front, and also (thankfully) allowed me to have 70lbs of luggage. I didn’t have a book to read, so I took the few hours to journal, and write about my teammates.
Once the plane landed, I had only 40 mins to get through customs and to my next gate, 3 terminals over. Since I had to bolt, I wasn’t able to say goodbye to Karen, Jenna, and Lindsey. In Houston, customs is divided by US and non-US citizenship, which made things a little faster. They checked my passport, then I got my checked bag, ran it through security, then dropped it back off (Got a Geaux Tigers! when they saw I was going to La!), then had to go through one of those full-body scanners. It was harder to get into my home country than to get into Nica! I finally made it down to my gate, with all the other flights to College Station, and Tyler, and Lafayette. Once we boarded, I heard thick accents and saw lots of camo, so I knew I was in the right place. Mom was waiting when I got to Shreveport, and that was that. I was home.