Current Location: Hostel Sonati, Leon, Nicaragua
Cost of beer in a bar: US$0.86 for 12 ice cold, refreshing ounces. It’s the same price for 12 lukewarm, depressing ounces and it’s 100 degrees in the shade, so choose wisely.
Song currently stuck in my head: Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty)
Crossing a 30 degree Chicago when packed for a 100 degree Leon presents certain challenges. I’m not about to tote a parka around Central America like some displaced schizophrenic. On the contrary, I’m packed lighter than ever on this trip. Had I thought ahead, I’d have grabbed something long sleeved from my “to Goodwill” pile to wear to the airport and discard. Of course, had I thought ahead, I’d have expended most of my mental energy wondering why we were experiencing 30 degree highs in mid April. Since most meteorology has roughly the predictive power of a palm reader I probably couldn’t have been convinced 5 days out that it was going to be that cold.
Luckily the train I took to Chicago pulled into an underground station which allowed me indoor access, via the semi-secret Chicago Pedway, to the Blueline train and ultimately the basement of O’hare. Not bad. I wore my snorkel/surf rashguard as a light base layer under the one long sleeved shirt I packed; seersucker, no less. My flight left around 5:30am, so I “slept” at the airport. I had a surprising amount of company.
I chose the flight based on 2 major criteria: 1) cost 2) time of arrival. Number 1 is obvious, number 2 is mostly a safety issue. I’d rather not arrive in any Central American capital after dark, and some are worse than others. You can usually get a good hotel across the street from the airport, often the local presentation of a recognizable chain. “Best Western” really lives up to it’s namesake in these situations. But the rooms are ~US$120/night when you’d otherwise be paying ~US$15 if you arrived early and had a broader selection to choose from. So number 2 informs number 1.
San Jose (Costa Rica), Cancun (Mexico) and Panama City (Panama) are the airports in this region where you usually find deals. So flying into Cancun to visit Belize or Costa Rica to visit Nicaragua is common amongst people who have the travel time to burn.
Right now, I have the travel time to burn.