Our first hours in Managua, Nicaragua
We were scheduled to land in Managua at 9:20 p.m., but an hour delay in taking off in Houston because of thunderstorms, and then time lost circumventing said storms made our arrival about 10:45. Obviously the last flight in that night, the airport was deserted. We quickly made our way through customs then stepped outside for our first breath of the tropical night air.
When I reserved the hotel, I also made arrangements for their shuttle to pick us up at the airport. Numerous people were standing along the sidewalk with signs in their hands to help in claiming their fares, but as we scanned them our name did not appear. With luggage in tow, we continued on to the line of cabs and vans waiting at the curb searching for our hotel's name. It was a mildly chaotic scene: late night, deserted airport in a foreign country, Spanish banter flying, people meeting up, then dispersing. Eager cabbies vied for our business, but we explained we were expecting a hotel shuttle.
|International arrivals -daytime|
When it became apparent our shuttle was a no-show, we enlisted a couple of cabbies to get us to the hotel. (We were traveling with dear friends, a mother-daughter duo, the mother a native Nicaraguan.) Now, the hotel shuttle was a package deal at $15 for the four of us, but late at night with the choices growing slimmer, $20 a cab was now the going rate. We decided to split up with a Spanish speaker in each cab--I got Paula, the mother and the most fluent.
|Imagine nighttime with a line of cabs and vans.|
Bobby and Marina were in the lead cab. The doors slammed and they sped away into the Nicaraguan night, We soon lost sight of them. We are darting through darkened Managua streets, me straining to see the silhouetted sights, a Spanish radio station playing softly, with the cabby lightly tapping the car horn at the major intersections and driving through, not matter what color the traffic light happened to be. I was later grateful that my initiation into Nicaraguan driving etiquette came on semi-deserted streets of the night.
In only a few minutes our cab pulled up in front of the hotel. I immediately noticed 2 things: #1. The cab containing my husband was nowhere in sight and #2. The hotel looked nothing like what I had seen online.
Before I had time to panic, Bobby's cab came spinning around the corner--we supposed his cabby 'earning' his fare with a fancier route. Observation #2 would answered in the daylight.
....to be continued.....