After a brief stop in Las Penitas (a beach town near Leon, Nicaragua) we headed to Granada, Nicaragua. We had to take a chicken bus back to Leon, then a taxi to the other side of the city, then the bus to Managua, then another taxi (driven by a dude with his wife a baby in the front seat) to the other side of Managua , then finally…yep, you guessed it…another bus to Granada. It was a 8+ hour long day of travel!
The last leg of the journey was the best! A horse drawn carriage ride to the hotel! We ended up agreeing to take a horse drawn carriage tour of Granada the next day and the driver even let me (pretend) to drive. 🙂
At this point I had had it with no hot shower, no air-conditioning, nasty mosquitos in the room, hovel type $8 per night accommodations. We decided to spring for a hotel room at a place with a huge pool. Sadly, the hot water wasn’t working and the owner was less than friendly. But the air conditioning was heaven! And the pool was refreshing (at least until Rhiannon flipped backwards on her chair!).
The horse drawn carriage tour was great (albeit, we had no clue what we were seeing since the tour was totally in Spanish. Oops. Minor detail we neglected to consider!)
It was so hot in a Granada that at one point I nearly jumped in a fountain.
On the morning of our departure I decided to buy a massive canvas painting. For some reason I thought it would be no big deal to lug this thing around for another month.
Lucky for me Rhiannon agreed to take it home with her so I only had to deal with it for 10 days or so. I found a broken old metal broom stick and a wooden stick and duct taped them to the painting for support (thank you Ed and Nancy for wrapping the duct tape around a pen so I could fit some in my bag!). Unfortunately for Rhiannon, the duct tape painting caused her to nearly miss her connecting flight home and gave her grief at customs! Here is her account!
Your painting and I are safely in my car. Got to Atlanta with few issues. However, apparently it’s not too believable in Atlanta that a big ass canvas is cheap enough to go through customs duty-free. “How much did you pay for this item?” Me: “My friend paid $200.” Customs: “Why are you bringing in something your friend bought?” Me: “She’s traveling for another month.” Customs: “How long have you been gone.” Me: “5 weeks.” Customs: “what was the purpose of your trip?” Me: “Tourism” customs: “why are you bringing in something for your friend?” “Because she’s traveling another month in Mexico.” Customs “are you prepared to declare this? Me: “Yes, but it’s under the duty-free import maximum.” Customs: “$200 seems too low for a painting this size. Are you sure it wasn’t more to avoid the tax?” Me: “yes, she paid $200 from a local artist in Granada, Nicaragua.” Customs; “do you have proof of purchase?” Me: “I do not, but she paid with a credit card.” Customs: “do you have access?” Me: “I don’t, she paid with her credit card, which I don’t have access to.” Customs: “could you get in touch with her?” “No, she is on a flight to Mexico at the moment.” Customs: “and she paid how much for this?” Me: “200 US.” Customs: “you’re sure?” Me: “yes, I’m positive.” Customs: “ok miss Pruitt, welcome home.” Had to pick up my bag from baggage claim before I could go to catch my next flight. Then through security. Again. Bag through. Backpack through. Shoes, passport, jacket through no problems. Painting. Security “whose item is this?” Me: “it’s mine.” Security “what is it?” Me: “it’s a canvas painting.” Security “why is there a stick taped to it?” Me: “for support, so it doesn’t get bent and damaged. If you need to take it off though, it’s no problem.” They looked it over, put it back through the scanner (people behind me were pissed lol) and inspected it again. Apparently they figured out it didn’t have a bomb in the paint and they sent me on my way, stick and all. Nearly missed my flight, but the plane took off half an hour late so I made it just as they were boarding.
Now that’s a good friend! Thanks Rhi! Miss you!
Audrey and Rhiannon – two tired travelers loving life by a pool with or without a painting from hell