C – The parcel is actually in Nicaragua! OMG! We received notification that the parcel was in the capital, Managua, at the Aduana office (customs). It was recommended that we contact customs to see if we could get the release of the package quickly.
T – This was such a relief. Finally it felt like we could get some control back with this parcel. We knew there was a good chance we could go to the city and wrangle the box out of customs. We could taste the victory! Then we would be free again to head for Costa Rica! It was all very exciting and there was a definite buzz in our camp!
C – First though, it was breakfast with Aaron and as all we all needed to get Yellow Fever vaccinations, we decided to look for the Health Department. It wasn’t far away and the lady was helpful, but unfortunately the shots are only available in Managua, but they are free.
So a plan was formed! Rather than attempting to converse with customs over the phone, and given it was vaccination day at the clinic in Managua, we decided to ride the 70km today. Aaron joined us and we set off.
We took the back road out of town and it unexpectedly became a very fun and very dusty road! We had sand, mud, rocks, ditches, washouts!! It was an absolute blast, but poor Aaron, who was riding at the back, was super dusty by the time we had the 30km.
T – Aaron was nice enough to sit with us at our postie speed on his DRZ450. His bike made our bikes look so tiny. Mabel and Rosie bounced and flounced around on the rocky dusty road and Aarons bike looked like it just soaked up the bumps no worries.
C – After getting into the city, we found the clinic quite easily. But… it was the wrong one. After a somewhat productive conversation, a lovely gentleman jumped on his moto and took us to the right clinic, which really wasn’t that far away.
T – Yet another shining example of people who just want to help people. With a handshake and a fist bump he pointed us in the right direction and headed off on his way.
C – Unfortunately, due to the WHO regulations and funding, they can only administer shots to Nicaraguan nationals. Never mind, it was worth a try to get a free vaccination! Aaron was heading off to Las Penitas to meet up with another traveller, so he departed and we decided to tackle customs.
We found the right depot at the airport, but was advised that we couldn’t find out any information without a shipping document from the shipper. The man suggested that ParcelForce usually use FedEx, so we should go to the FedEx office in the city centro.
Back on the bikes, we tackled ridiculously, crazy peak hour traffic jams and 30 mins later we were there, extremely hot and dirty. The gentleman spoke english, making my job easier, but unfortunately, it was no help. The FedEx office didn’t know ParcelForce and couldn’t recognise the tracking number.
T – Holy hell. That was some insane traffic. Two lanes of highway turned into three lanes, plus motobikes were scooting along the drains, the footpaths, between traffic, everywhere! We joined in the mess and soon we were bumping down footpaths dodging pedestrians and tuk tuks. It was fun and kind of scary all at once. If we hadn’t taken such an aggressive riding method I am sure we would still be sitting in line at a traffic light in the city.
C – Back to the drawing board.
We tried to find a hotel under an ever darkening sky. The cheapest we found with vacancies was $50US a night, without secure parking for the motos. Nope! We decided to get out of the city before it got any darker, as we were told it was not safe to drive around after dark, particularly in the suburbs where the cheaper hotels were.
Both feeling deflated, frustrated and out of ideas, we jumped back on the highway to Leon. The main highway this time though. We got back to Leon in the dark, but the ride was sensational. Watching the sunset, seeing the full moon rise and feeling the warm (not hot!) air blowing around us.
T – It was like a punch in the guts. I felt like we had fought so hard to get to this point of actually having the parcel in our hands, and suddenly it was gone. All the emailing, all the chasing this thing from town to town, country to country and when we could almost smell it, it was taken away. Damn it! I will admit I got really sour on the whole thing and I was quite happy to just abandon it right then and there and ride away. I seethed in my helmet for the next hour. Mentally writing emails to Parcel Force full of death threats and swear words. Deep breaths, deep breaths. F$%kers!
C – We tried to check back into Via Via, but alas, they had no vacancies. Nevermind, plenty of hostels all in a row, so I went into Hostal Los Cheles. One room left, great price, with aircon and we could park our bikes in the lobby. Perfecto!
After a cold shower, we both needed food, as we hadn’t eaten since breakfast. We had a great dinner then settled into bed to read for a bit before sleep. Todd was in the bathroom when I noticed three small bugs on his pillow. I leapt off of the bed and called out to Todd, who said no, they can not be bed bugs, as there were a few in the bathroom too. You never see bedbugs outside of the bed right??? I wasn’t convinced but decided to roll it, as I was sure they didn’t live in bathrooms. A minute later… sting! I slapped whatever bit me… yep, another bug. We googled it and it was most definitely a big, fat, stinky, rat-bastard bed bug. It was then we examined the room a little further. Within a minute, we had spotted at least 20 of them, crawling on the mattress, sheets, pillows and walls in the room and in the bathroom. I was thankful there we didn’t see any sign of them on the floor – as that’s where all our stuff was! We both sighed and hung out heads. It had been a long day and it was already 10pm. The owner was most apologetic, but they didn’t have any other rooms.
T – Wow. I couldnt believe it! I have never really seen bed bugs. We thought we had once but we couldnt really be sure. These things were coming out of the walls, the pillows, the mattress, every where! I was shoving our loose clothing into our sealed bags as fast as I could, hoping we hadnt picked up any passengers. The roof was badly infested. When we first walked in we both noticed a smell of kerosene in the air. But we thought nothing of it. Just assuming that maybe they had cleaned the bathroom and tiled floors with kero to kill germs maybe. It turns out it is a fairly common practise to use a kerosene based mixture to remove bed bugs. Now we know!
C – After a quick check on the internet, I found another reasonably priced hostel close by and we packed up the bikes, feeling even more deflated than before.
But… a blessing in disguise? The new hostel was cheaper and everyone was so lovely when we arrived. The other guests all introduced themselves and one was an overlander who is travelling from Argentina to Mexico on his Yamaha.
We finally relaxed, after thoroughly checking the few things that did touch the bed or walls in the last place.
Tomorrow – hopefully we have a reply from Parcelforce about which agent they are using in Nicaragua so we find out how to access the parcel from Customs. I was so close to my new boots today… a few hundred metres away I suspect!