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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Moments - Day 555 - 556

Not all our days are full of joy. Some days have moments of joy, the good; and moments of bad and then experiences of darn right ugly. Today was one of those; our journey to Costa Rica.

It was time to leave Big Corn Island and sail 7 hours back to the mainland. This time we sat on the top deck which was more airy and lighter than our previous journey, and the sea was much calmer, culminating in a nicer trip.

The next morning, Tim did a great bodge-job tying up the car battery so the leads didn't dislodge again. He is officially a Nica mechanic now. We waited for Nat to return from her early morning walk and after a quick breakfast was on the road again.

We were driving to La Fortuna in Costa Rica, a quicker route back to San Juan del Sur plus the ladies needed to renew their visa.

After driving through the new road, Tim found a shortcut. The road was surprisingly good, most of it tarmaced but there were many pot holes, the odd turkey, pigs and cows to be avoided, not that they bothered Rexy boy or Eve, who was driving.

It was such a delightful journey, beautiful scenery of undulating hills, and the terrain turning green from all the rain. Our conversation flowed like a meandering stream, bubbling with laughter. I remember at one point thinking that this was the most perfect car journey; on an adventure with lovely friends having a great time. I wish I had shared my thought in that moment.

We arrived at the border just as the heavens had opened. A friendly guard took details down of our passports at the first border point and didn't fine the sisters for their one day over their visa date. Great news.

Oh dear, after that, things rapidly went downhill. Upon seeing Zoe, the dog, one of the officials asked to see Zoe's documents giving permission that she could go over the border. Argh! The sisters were unaware of this requirement.

Another rather unhelpful official announced that the paperwork to take the car, Rexy boy, over was incomplete. Tempers crescendoed.

We felt for Eve; she had paid a lawyer to ensure that she had the correct paperwork when purchasing the Jeep, clearly expressing that she would be travelling to different countries.

After quite some time of unfruitful discussion, then phoning a friend who spoke to the official, it transpired that police permission was required.

Tim and I offered to stay with Zoe and the Jeep while Eve and Nat walked across the border to get their next 3 months visa. They then had to ping-pong between various officials until their passport was stamped and Visa extended.

The bubble of our wonderful morning journey of joy had burst. "It too shall pass".

The acronym HALT sprang to mind. When hungry, angry, lonely (loo for me) or tired, we are not in the best frame of mind. There were 4 hungry people back in the car on Nicaraguan soil, some angry, some tired. Food was needed and quickly.

A few tears, apologies for harsh words, hugs and much love we drove on to San Carlos, by Lago Cocibolca and filled our bellies. We now had over 400km drive around the north side of the lake back to San Juan del Sur rather than the 250km south side via Costa Rica.

Next on the agenda was to find a place to stay and get some of those kilometres driven. By the time we left San Carlos, it was getting dark. I think some of our previous night drives had scared Nat so she was very reluctant for us to drive, but, as she said, it was a democratic vote. Tim drove 150km, slowly and carefully (I've never seen him drive so well), and we finally arrived in Juigalpa.

There was no room in the first inn and the second wanted US$120 (instead of US$30 on Meanwhile, Zoe did a great Houdini trick, escaping from her harness, so the four of us, for the next 5 minutes, were trying to catch her in the Hotel carpark. She thought it was a great game; we were not amused.

Eventually we found the only place available on but due to internet issues, couldn't book online. We turned up and managed to persuade a very reluctant landlady to allow us to stay (she charged us US$10 extra).

Oh dear, Eve smelt cat pee in the room, there were large stains on the walls and the bathroom was filthy. Behind the toilet had never been cleaned. Yuk - ugly. It only takes a bit of muscle, hot water and cleaning material...there is no excuse for dirty rooms in hotels or hostels.

What a day! Definitely a day of the good, the bad and the ugly moments.

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