When I was 18 and reckless I took a trip to Nicaragua. The trip in itself was nothing short of electrifying and I did more than possible to describe it all in just one blog post. But I will elaborate upon a brief, three-day excursion within the adventure that, in my opinion, is worth sharing. What entailed after the cute Canadian girl invited me on a trip to a remote beach in coastal Nicaragua in her group's school bus that had been refurbished into an air-conditioned, bunk-bed-adventure-wagon was almost more than I had bargained for. But it was a damn good time to say the least. Here's my best recollection of the excursion.
This dark-haired Canadian girl on the beach in San Juan Del Sur tells me about a trip that she and her friends had been organizing with their bus and hands me a flyer. They are going to a beautiful and remote beach up north with great surfing and no people, she says, and they are leaving at 8 am the next morning. I say "Sure, I'll be there. No problem." I was already mildly buzzed when I had made this promise in the early afternoon, and would only work to strengthen that buzz for the rest of the day and well into the night. After getting back from the bars to where I had been staying at about 3 am, I crash and do not wake up until about 11 am the next day. I missed the bus.
I emailed the girl who told me about the adventure and she gave me directions as to where the beach they were going, was exactly. It was not easy to find. I would have to take a "chicken bus," she said. "What the fuck is a chicken bus?" I thought.
I went down to a side street in the beach town I had been bumming out in for the past few days and found the shitty little bus that would take me the 4 hours up the coast to some town that I could barely pronounce. There, I would catch a taxi ride to the beach that I was supposed to have already been at.
How did I already know that this bus was going to be greasy, hot, and wildly uncomfortable the whole way there? The hangover I had been nursing all morning didn't help either. I then figured out why they call it a chicken bus. Because there are literal live chickens in there being transported by the locals. "Fair," I thought.
After several hours in what felt like a mobile swamp, I made it to the town where I took a taxi 45 minutes down some desolate dirt road to this hidden beach the girl from the adventure bus had told me about. The beach was definitely as abandoned and far away from civilization as I had pictured, if not more so. There were miles of Pacific coastline and great waves for surfing. I had never surfed before, but that Canadian girl was nice enough to teach me the basics while we were staying there. Apart from the beach, there was nothing there besides one restaurant that had the nearest real bathroom for miles in every direction. It also had decent food and a nice bar that served up some mean daiquiris.
When I finally got there I introduced myself to the group which consisted of about a dozen backpackers from Canada, The United States, Australia, and varying countries across Europe. I was a bit shy at first because I was the kid who missed the bus and had everyone waiting for him in the morning. But after a few drinks and conversations between me and the other backpackers, we were all friends in no time. Then I met this dude Johnny, from Britain.
Johnny from the U.K. is the definition of a coke-boy. His favorite thing to do is cocaine. You couldn't have a conversation with him without the subject getting brought up at some point by him. Johnny is very chatty and one of the most hilarious persons I have ever met. He seemed like a pretty cool dude to hang out with. At least, so I thought before going on a mission with him to find his coveted white powder in the depths of rural Nicaragua.
The day started off around 9 am with a breakfast that consisted of fruit, daquiris, and a 40oz of local beer. I had only started drinking this early in the day because I was not so sure about partaking in this scavenger hunt with Johnny as it seemed a bit sketchy, but he insisted that he would buy me booze and get me drunk all day if I accompanied him on his quest so I obliged. He also needed someone who could speak a little bit of Spanish since he knew none and I knew some.
By 10 am I was drunk and the taxi had just arrived to take us to the nearest civilization so Johnny and I could start pestering locals for drugs. On the way into the nearest town, we stopped at the first bar we saw on the dirt road for more beer and to ask around for some coke. This is the first instance where we got robbed that day when we gave a man some money who claimed he had access to the good stuff, yet would only proceed to disappear with the cash as quickly as possible. We would end up getting robbed like this a total of 3 times over the course of this day. Well, Johnny did at least -- I had no more money after we got robbed the first time at the bar.
"Oh well," I thought. We were sure enough to find some blow eventually, plus I was day-drunk and had no more money to spend so I started to care less. After the bar, we ate lunch at a family-owned restaurant and asked the waiter if he would happen to know where a couple of backpackers like us could find some "coca." The waiter said he could help us which got us excited, especially when he came back with some white powder we initially perceived to be cocaine. After lunch we scurried into the nearest bathroom to try it, only to find out that it was not cocaine at all. Rather, it was some sort of cleaning chemical in the form of white powder that produced no effect other than sheer disappointment. Fool us twice shame on us.
The third time we got robbed was when Johnny gave money to a taxi driver that never came back with the product. I warned Johnny that this is probably what would happen, and it did, but he was willing to take the risk anyway. By now we were sick of getting ripped off and probably the drunkest we had been all day, so we decided to cut our losses and head to the nearest strip club.
When we got to the strip club it was closed. By this time it was nearing sunset and we were the only tourists in sight in this tiny little town in God Know's Where, Nicaragua. The strip club would open in a couple of hours and Johnny was adamant about staying until they did so. He pitched a plan to stay here and find a place to crash in town for the night instead of getting back to the beach where our camp was. I was not in favor of Johnny's plan.
I told him that he could do that all he liked but that I was going to call it a day and head back to the beach. However, I had no money on me at this point and was relying on Johnny as my sole means of transportation. Johnny knew this and told me he would not buy me a taxi ride and that we were going to stay in this little town tonight partying with strippers and continuing our search for cocaine. At this point, both belligerent and extremely angry with one another, we were at each other's throats. I was about to throw hands with this greasy Brit right then and there outside of this closed strip club in this dirt-road town in the middle of the jungle when we had a change of fate...
A taxi was driving by as we were screaming at each other so I flagged it down and proceeded to get in. Johnny, now realizing he was the only gringo left in this shady part of this shady little town outside of this shady strip club was now forced to get into the taxi with me. He was steaming. I figured I'd try my luck once more and ask this taxi driver if he knew where to get the stuff we had been sticking our necks out all day looking for, because why the hell not? What else had we to lose besides more of Johnny's cordobas?
He immediately told us yes, that he could get us "coca," and said that if we gave him the money he would be right back with the stuff. Johnny and I were both apprehensive of this claim. Something about previous experiences that day had made it challenging for us to trust this humble-seeming taxi driver. However, I got a good feeling from the man and convinced Johnny to try his luck one more time and give him the cash. So he did.
We waited outside the strip club for what felt like the longest 5 minutes of our lives, becoming increasingly anxious as the clock ticked on.
"This is bullshit we just got robbed again!" Johnny spat.
"Let's just wait a little longer," I reassured him. "If this guy is smart he will get money from us twice: once for the yayo, and again for the taxi ride back to the beach."
Just as it was getting dark and the alcohol was starting to wear off, our nerves were at an all-time high for the day. Then, our eyes lit up as we saw the shitty little green sedan pull up and heard the skinny taxi driver tell us to get in. Both Johnny and the taxi driver had enormous smiles on their faces. As soon as I sat down in the backseat I could smell the diesel-like smell of what was sitting inside of the taxi driver's pocket. I immediately knew that all of our hard work that day had just paid off.
The taxi driver whipped the yayo from out of his pocket and I became very excited. Johnny took one look at it and assured me that it was some disco shit. Then Johnny busted out a Nicaraguan coin and started doing coin bumps with the taxi driver and me as we sped down the dirt road at an alarming speed. The three of us were doing bumps the whole 45-minute ride back to the beach, which felt like a lot shorter this time around because the taxi driver was driving like a coked-up maniac, hitting the occasional drift with his sedan if the turn was sharp enough. It was one of the more entertaining taxi rides I had ever taken.
When we got back to the beach and regrouped with the others it was well after nightfall. Certain members of the group had begun to worry if something bad had happened to us as we were gone a lot longer than we had told them we were going to be. We didn't give them the details about what had happened during the day. But we did supply the drugs for one hell of a party on the beach that night.
While we were away on our narcotics scavenger hunt, the others had befriended a group of sorority girls from Pennsylvania that were visiting the area and convinced them to stay and party with us on the beach for the night. A bonfire ensued, along with music, dancing, and Willie Nelson quantities of cocaine. The party lasted all night and everyone seemed to be having a hell of a time.
An Irish man who was camping with us thanked Johnny and me for going out and getting the goods that made for a fun party on a remote Nicaraguan beach, and he described us two as a "Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo type combination," like in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." I got a major kick out of this.
I spent the rest of the night having a good time running around the beach yacked out of my mind chatting up sorority girls and swimming. The next morning, we all went our separate ways and I never heard from Johnny or any of the other persons on the beach that night ever again.