MEDICOS Nicaragua 2015
Hooray for the first blog post of the trip! We thought it was only fitting that for the first post we would share some of the thoughts of a first-time traveler of Central America (Rachel). Today's theme: transportation.
We flew into Managua and were greeted by some hospital representatives who so graciously drove us to our hostel in Leon (ps we love our hostel in Leon because we get these pancake-crepes with a whole banana and syrup for breakfast every morning, even when we wake up at 5 am). Within about 20 seconds of getting in the car at the airport, it was clear to me that driving/passengering in Central America is unlike driving/passengering anywhere else. I resorted to closing my eyes at one point to avoid the perpetual state of hypertension that I was experiencing as a result of seeing how close we were to hitting the other cars. And motorcycles. And people.
Also, Central America is HOT and humid. We are pretty much always sweaty and really look forward to cold showers and beaches. On the plus side, lotion is largely unnecessary here. Another plus: I have a newfound appreciation for any kind of wind. We love fans.
On our second day here we took a public bus to UNAN, the medical school in Leon, to meet with the dean of the school who has been great at setting us up in clinics while we're here. The meeting was excellent, but the bus ride was terrifying. I really thought that we were going to tip over - in fact, every time the bus turned I would lean the other way to do my part to help distribute the weight. On the way back to our hostel I stood at the very front of the bus, right over the emergency brake (which I had an urge to pull multiple times). A woman actually sat on the dashboard of the bus with her baby because it was so crowded. Clearly people in the US aren't taking full advantage of space on the bus :)
Okay last transportation story I promise. This past weekend we visiting Playa Gigante, which is a trek off the main road (it was also amazing and if no one writes about it I will soon!). On our way back, we tried to save money by taking one of those retired school buses back to Rivas, the closest large city. When we first got on the bus it was fine, but as more and more people started piling on it got pretty weird. I ended up in an aisle seat with my knees up to my chest (partially because I was sitting right over the bus wheel and partially because I have weirdly long legs). I also had my backpack on my lap and was resting my chin on it. As it started to get pretty packed, one woman decided that the best use of space was to put one arm behind me on the seat back, and the other arm in front of me. She then proceeded to lean forward and rest her breasts on my head...
...for the entire trip (about an hour). I wish I had a photo. Meanwhile, Diana is in the seat in front of me happily playing with a baby the whole time. So jealous.
Anyway, we're loving our time here! It's going by so fast. We can't wait to share more stories with all of you and give you a little taste of what we've been up to. Stay tuned!