As anyone who has lived in Nicaragua would attest, the concept of personal space does not exist. Getting onto a bus becomes a battle as abuelitas and chavalos alike push, shove, box-out, and try to position themselves in such a manner so that they can squeeze through the small school-bus doors before you. Likewise, while sitting at a table by a bar one evening, one Nica lady had no qualms about using my head to rest her arms as she ordered what I can only imagine to be her umpteenth Toña. Arms are heavy, and my head offered a brief respite from a lifetime of baggage–I get it.
So there I was, in the airport, one among the crowd of Nicas and extranjeros alike, pushing, shoving, and boxing out to get a spot by the glass wall that separated those who had yet to enter the country and those who had already made it through. I waited anxiously, face pushed up against the window, head dashing from right to left, left to right, absently sucking down my delicious frozen cappuccino, and when that had finished, absently chewing on the straw.
Finally, I saw it: a suitcase, gray in the middle and lined with orange with the word SPIGEL written across it in black sharpie marker inching along the conveyor belt. They had arrived. I could hardly control my glee–I almost turned to the person next to me to tell her that MY FAMILY IS HEREEEEEEEEE, until I realized that HER FAMILY IS PROBABLY HERE AS WELLLLLLLL! So I continued with my neurotic, but highly trained scanning techniques (I’m a lifeguard) until I saw my little sister, my big sister, my dad, my mom and my grandma stroll into baggage claim.
And so began the adventure of a large gringo family walking about Nicaragua. It’s an epic tale of surprise Sandanista rallies, meter-long steaks, power outages, and active volcanoes. But it’s a tale for another time. For now, enjoy the pictures: