Rob told me that he'd hit a rough patch while climbing the volcano and navigating the passage through the crater. He got his second wind during the descent, which is pretty amazing, because the thing about rough patches is that you very rarely recover from them.
On his way back down the volcano, Rob saw two Nicaraguan kids up near the top. They clapped for him and called him by name, and they told him that Simeón was climbing up the Mérida side to look for him. Sure enough, Rob encountered Simeón on the path a little while later. "¡Rob! ¿Como estas?" Simeón said.
Knowing that Simeón was up there on the volcano looking for Rob-- that means more than just about anything in the world to me.
William and I rode in the van back to Moyogalpa with the runners. We sat up in front with the driver, while the runners sat in the back and shared their war stories. Eventually William turned 3 circles in my lap like a puppy dog and fell into an exhausted sleep. I looked out the window at Maderas fading into the distance and bawled the entire way.
This was the volcano Rob climbed at the end of the race
We stayed at Hospedaje Central again in Moyogalpa, and we randomly met up with Joël and Carla again for dinner. I had a bottle of much needed Victoria.
Rob was exhausted, as you might imagine, and after we finished eating we went back to the hotel where he immediately went to bed. The hotel was right across the street from a discoteca, and by 7pm, brain-jarring regaetton was blaring into our room. The music was so loud that I swear the walls were shaking. I put in earplugs, but it didn't help at all. Rob and Will were both able to sleep through it, but the only thing I could do was intensely meditate so that I didn't lose my mind. Finally, at 1am, the music stopped. I think I managed to get about 4 hours of sleep that night.
We decided that instead of trying to go someplace like Granada or Masaya, we would stay another day in Moyogalpa. There was a 5K for the children of the island in the morning (Calzado Ometepe Kids Run), and we went to see it. Hundreds of kids were streaming across the finish line when we got there. I swear, every kid on the island must have done the race. And I don't blame them. Each participant received his/her own pair of running shoes, a finisher's t-shirt, and a sandwich and drink at the end. I became stupidly emotional and started bawling.
Rob and I rode a bus back to Charco Verde for a post-race luncheon and talked with some more of the Fuego y Agua participants. Will would not eat, but the scenery was beautiful.
Will found a small piece of playground equipment.
We stayed at a place called Hotelito Aly that night (Sunday 2/19), and Rob remarked that I wouldn't shut up about how great it was. Really, I was just glad that there wasn't a discoteca next door. Plus, we had a nice view.
The next day (Monday 2/20) was our last day in Nicaragua. My primary goal was to locate and purchase a bottle of rum for my boss (in hopes that it would persuade him to let me do this again next year) before we took the ferry back to the mainland. Luckily, it is farily easy to come by Flor de Caña pretty much anywhere in Nicaragua, even at 8 in the morning.
We also found a mini supermercado that had gelatina fresa (strawberry jello) for Will. Reyna had made some while we were in Merida and Will had actually eaten about 2 bites of it, which I think was the most he ate during our entire trip.
And then it was time to get on the 9am ferry.
As you might imagine, I bawled all the way.
When we got to the mainland, we paid roughly 3/4 of a million dollars to take a taxi to Managua. I just didn't feel like waiting for a bus, riding 3 hours, and then getting off at the utter chaos of Huembes with our 4 pieces of luggage and a child.
Don't tell the baby police that this is how my child road in a Nicaraguan taxi
We checked in at the hotel in Managua, and 2 of us ate lunch (Rob and me). I actually did get Will to eat a small piece of platano frito. At least that was something.
We went swimming in the hotel pool, and Will had the time of his life.
We all went to sleep in a big king size bed that night, except somehow, Will took up so much space that there was barely any room for Rob and me. Then we woke up early the next morning and it was time to go home.
It still doesn't feel right to call St. Louis home.
Have you ever gotten on a plane and felt like you were headed somewhere that you really weren't supposed to be going? That's how I felt.
In a strange way, though, there are certain things about St. Louis that remind me of Nicaragua. It has something to do with serendipity. In Nicaragua, things just happen, without planning for them. Like when I was trying to figure out how to find Eduardo and he just showed up at the field station right before my eyes. Or when Simeón climbed up the volcano to watch over Rob during the race. Or how Reyna was there to look after Will while I ran out to El Porvenir. This kind of thing happens in St. Louis sometimes too.
When our plane pulled into Lambert and we were coasting along the runway, I was thinking about how we had very little food in the house and I was wondering when on earth I would find time to go to the grocery store during the week. There were mountains of laundry from our trip, I needed to submit the howler book chapter, I would have to resume my marathon training. Oh yes, and I work full time.
And then I got a text message from NeighborGood Foods-- the produce delivery service I signed up for several months back. Are you guys back in town, J asked. He ended up with a surplus of produce from last week's delivery and wanted to know if he could bring a box by for us. Yes! I replied,Our plane just landed!
Within 10 minutes of arriving at our house, J came over with a box full of wonderful things-- lettuce, tatsoi, potatoes, onions, local organic peanut butter, fresh baked bread, carrots, apples, and oranges.
I can't quite find the words to explain it, but an unexpected box of produce made me feel like Nicaragua was a little less far away.
Thanks for reading!