Airport security is what it always is; intrusive, obnoxious, unproductive, insulting. From standing in front of the x ray scanner with your hands above your head, to a quick pat down by a uniformed government servant, it is hard to ever feel this is for my own good.
Once I clear scrutiny, I eventually end at my proper gate where i wait more, finally board my latest jet and fly for my sixth travel ring in the belly of a gussied up tin can.
Houston to Managua is a boring three hours in the air and standing in Managua, going through Customs, travelers who have been here before share their travel adventures in loud voices you can’t escape.
” Last time down we shot a hell of a lot of ducks, ” a middle aged man with a Hemingway beard and a protruding stomach tells me. ” I’m staying at the Hotel Alhambra. My friends and me come down here three or four times a year. ”
Customs goes quickly and paying a $10 entry fee to get into Nicaragua I smile for a camera mounted on the Custom officer’s booth window as he stamps my passport.
Martine, my pre-arranged shuttle driver, is waiting for me outside the terminal, holding a sign with my name on it. It is night and he is paid to get me to my lodgings.
” Welcome to Nicaragua, ” he says, in English, with a smile.
The United States is behind me, Nicaragua is in front of me.
Why so many people leave the U.S. looking for paradise is a Graduate student’s dissertation I would pay to read and actually read.
In the middle of the night, on our way to Granada, I can’t see anything of what I have gotten myself into, only know that another place on a world map is about to unfold for me.
I’m glad, as Martine navigates the dark narrow roads, that I’m not a duck.