What proved to be a beautiful experience and trip, started off on the wrong note, I guess like all good stories do.
Yesterday, I made it to Grenada Nicaragua. If you have never worked on a ship before let me tell you: It's some of the most arduous labor one could ever imagine. It puts you into a state of exhaustion one could only hope didn't exist.
So with that being said, after 9 weeks straight at sea and over 3 years total , waking up at 2 am to catch a shuttle from Jaco, Costa Rica to San Jose, Costa Rica proved to be a challenge. I walked in a blurry haze through the airport and died going through the airport filling out customs paperwork and leaving my things left and right, as some guy chased me down with my shoes. I then tried to get coffee and find my gate, hit up the currency exchange all the while I'm still asleep. I get on a tiny plane, pass out again and arrive in Managua. I went through an awkward verbal exchange with customs again and finally made it out with my bag and most of my stuff. I found a taxi to Grenada after negotiating the rate, passing out again in the car and stumbling into a disheveled hostel and even more disheveled me.
I am pleasantly greeted by a drunk front desk person who couldn't find my reservation (naturally), so I just decided to go try to find some coffee and chill and come back later. So I go get coffee for a few hours at the weird banana tourist coffee company, talk to a few locals and write in my journal. I come back to the hostel and still no room. At this point, I can't keep my eyes open. They offer me a weird 5 person private room down the street OR a mixed dorm room of ten people. They hand me dirty sheets and I'm on the verge of tears. The cleanliness of this place is my worst nightmare. A guy is behind me is removing dirty saran wrap off a mattress. Everyone, and I mean everyone sitting around the front desk (mostly travelers and hostel stayers) are staring at me, as I swallow down every word I really want to say because they are looking at me like I am some basic b**** from America but I am an exhausted sailor. So I grab the sheets and walk towards the dorm.
I walk into my room, and my wooden locker is broken. At this point...of course it is. I walk back to the front and tell the guy if he has hammer and nails I will fix. He reassures me no one will steal anything. However in the ten seconds I went to the the front desk to tell him about the locker, someone took my sheets off my bed. I use the "shower" which was a leaky pipe dripping from above that barely turned on. The "shower" door didn't have a lock or a light. There were people in the room that could see into the shower since it really didn't have a wall. I try to wash my hair or something. I give up and grab my clothes.
At this point I can feel the hospitality industry person start to freak out. But I'm not going to be her. Oh no. I'm going to tranquila. I'm going to Pura Vida. So I grab a beer out of the hostel fridge and pass out on a dirty mattress and bloody used pillow, with Alanis Morisette playing in the hostel lobby, which I find comforting and ironic.
I wake up to someone saying
“Excuse me, excuse me miss. Are you Jodie?
There was a mixup. We have your room, it's been ready allllll day.”
Why is the guy talking in the tone like this is all my fault and did he really just wake me up?
"Follow me right this way." he says and I just agree at this point.
I grab my stuff and walk across the street. He opens the door to a beautiful private room. With outlets! Thank you I say, and reallyyyy mean it. I unpack and crawl into bed for the night. I wake up to mosquitos eating me alive. Noooooo! I grab pants and a sweatshirt and hide under my sheets sweating to death. I finally pass out in a pool of sweat with a knife under my pillow for good measure.
I wake up to about twenty plus mosquito bites. Those rats got my face, hands and feet. Whatever. I grab some bug spray from next door. I'm just happy to have finally slept. I stumble into the bathroom. A scorpion greets me from the shower. I don't even scream. At this point I just accept it. I wait an hour and then go to the restroom. I hear a guy manically scream in English from above the bathroom. There are only open ceilings in Nicaragua. He screams a deranged, agony filled scream.
Is this real life?
Later that night gunshots rang out, from above my room. I wait and there are about twenty more, so I dart to the lobby where the guy guarding the doors is sitting.
"Um, pistola?" I say is jittery Spanish.
"Si," he says and I can feel myself getting worked up.
I sit in the fetal position in the "lobby" area for the next three hours wide awake as they continue to be peppered off. I call the one guy I liked back home. He doesn't answer. I cannot believe this shit is happening.
Finally they stop.
Finally I go to bed.
The next day I grab all of my stuff, make a grand pissed off exit after settling up with the drunk hostel owner and find a different hostel.
It turns out the gunshots were possibly fireworks but I wasn't even hanging around one more night to find out.