(Sometimes an unexpected adventure becomes the best! We spent this past weekend in Nicaragua renewing our visas for Costa Rica so we can get visas for Colombia…yeah, pilule a lot of red tape that is just designed to make travel more complicated.
Friday night Corey and I stayed up all night. At 2AM we dragged Alex and Maggie out of bed to catch the 3AM bus from San Jose, sovaldi Costa Rica to Managua, sovaldi sale Nicaragua. The ride took us seven and a half hours, including going through customs and all that fun stuff. The bus was actually very nice. For $14 we went high class on the Executive bus. It had cushy seats, TVs and meals. We had a very comfortable ride.
The Padron family, who up until last Friday lived above us, are missionaries to Nicaragua. They were leaving first thing Saturday morning with everything in tow to move permanently there. So we set a plan, we would take a bus, they would drive their car and they’d pick us up at the bus station. Their apartment wouldn’t be ready until Monday, so we planned a short trip to the beach. It all sounded perfect…but they got hung up in customs and we sat in a sweltering bus station for two hours wondering if they had forgotten us. They hadn’t, fortunately, and we set out on our adventure.
We made a few stops on our way out to the beach. One of them was to visit our former neighbors above, Dan and Beatriz Kleahn.)
We have met Nicaragua. I threw in a few blips during our chaos, but here’s the whole rundown. Our original date to leave for Colombia was on August 14th. However, we needed a religious visa to come into Colombia. I’ve written before about all the hoops we’ve been jumping through to get the visas, paper after paper, letters rewritten three and four times. We went on Thursday with every paper requested and was told that because our visas in Costa Rica had expired we couldn’t get our visas to Colombia. So the day after graduation we headed on a bus to Nicaragua. Thinking we only needed to be out of the country three days and then we’d be set we headed to the coast and sacked out in a hotel by the ocean for the three days. Alex got pretty sick, I think sun poisoning, so he didn’t have a ton of fun, but Maggie and I enjoyed our time. We were there with another missionary family and had fun hanging out with them.
When our 72 hours were up we headed back to Costa Rica, ready to go get our visas for Colombia. It was Tuesday night when we arrived in San Jose. We went back to the embassy on Wednesday and they told us they wanted one more paper, but that the consul would look over our papers and call us in the afternoon. He never called. Thursday morning we headed back to the embassy with everything in hand. The only thing I think we were lacking were mine and Corey’s elementary school records, I mean, we had a mountain of papers that had been requested. When we arrived they told us that the consulate wouldn’t even look at the papers until the following week. Our biggest concern was that the kids had already missed two weeks of school.
Through some sly movements the other workers in the embassy pulled us aside and told us that if we went to Nicaragua they could get us our visas there. One man who had been helping us before was there and said he was a good friend of the consul in Nicaragua and that he’d call him for us. That was 9:30. We rushed home, grabbed clothes, made calls to stay in our apartment longer, let people know we weren’t coming to Colombia just yet, etc. and at 11:30 we were sitting in the bus station ready to go back to Nicaragua.
We had emailed the missionaries in Nicaragua that we were coming in, in hopes that someone would pick us up at the bus station. However, they didn’t get them in time. When we arrived at the bus station it was after 10PM. We knew there was a Holiday Inn close by. Thinking that would be a sure bet until the morning when we could find the missionaries we got a taxi to take us there. I don’t know what was going on in Managua, Nicaragua on that day, but the Holiday Inn was full. They called all the other hotels in the area and they were all sold out. It was now 11PM and we were standing in a lobby with nowhere to go. The taxi driver said he knew of a couple of hotels that would be open near where we wanted to be. He took us to one that was scary looking from the outside. It was full. Then he took us to another. Feeling very helpless and insecure we went to the next hotel. It was not quite a hole in the wall, but it wasn’t much better than that either. It was getting so late and we were getting a bit scared we went ahead and checked in. The room was pretty yucky. There was a double bed and a twin bed so we just squished a bit to all find room to sleep.
In the morning the taxi driver picked us up and was going to take us to the embassy. On our way we started finding our bearings and asked him to take us where one of the missionaries were staying. We had brought all our stuff with us determined not to stay in that hotel again. The taxi driver wanted to charge us $15 an hour, so we were so glad to find the missionaries we had spent time with before. We ditched the taxi driver there.
Our thoughts were that we would go to the embassy on Friday and only be in Nicaragua another 72 hours. Fernando, the other missionary, took us to the embassy. We found out that one of our papers needed to say Nicaragua that still said Costa Rica. They also told us once they got the applications it could take 10 days to get the visa back. Feeling a bit distraught we went to a pastor’s office and got on the phone. We were told to just wait it out there and see what happened. We got the letters resent that said Nicaragua with all the information they wanted. Then we waited. This was an interesting time because we were a bit stressed out, but we were so blessed with two missionary families who had been neighbors of ours in language school.
We spent quite the weekend with Dan and Beatriz Klaehn. We had the most peaceful weekend. We had time to just stop and relax. We were waiting and a little bit preoccupied with that, but I can’t even explain the peace we found in their house. Even the kids loved the down time.
Monday we went back to the embassy and got good news! The consulate had heard from his friend in Costa Rica and all about our story and granted us the visas. It would only take two days instead of 10 to get them back. We were ecstatic! We spent two more days relaxing and on Wednesday we picked up our visas and headed to the bus station – finally ready to go to Colombia!~Tona