Snow in Houston, let's go to Granada

Granada Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 14 › view all entries
Well today turned out to be quite interesting.  I had pre-arranged a taxi to the airport early this morning; my flight back to the US left at 7:30 AM.  I carefully packed my bag and searched the bed to make sure I'd left nothing behind. The taxi showed up right on time at 5AM.  I said goodbye to my friend (he was continuing onto Costa Rica).  It was about a 20 minute ride to the airport, already there was quite a long line for checkin; the agents hadn't yet arrived.  I had checked in online but didn't have a printer, so I only needed to collect my boarding pass.

Suddenly when searching through my bag I realized I didn't have my passport!!! I knew I'd had it this morning when I put it in my daypack, but the zipper was open.  The daypack had been in my big bag the whole time though, so likely the only place it could have fallen out was back at the hostel.
  It was only 5:30 by this time, I still had 2hrs left.  I found an ATM, which only gave me $50's (who has change for these), or a 500 Cordoba note (who has change for those, either?) then ran outside and caught a cab back to the hotel.  I told him I'd forgotten my passport so he drove like a maniac, through red lights, etc.  Only 15 minutes back to the hostel.

I knocked on the door and surprised my friend that I was back again.  I found the passport/money belt under a pillow on my bed! I must have put the pillow over it when searching the bed earlier, because I remembered lifting up the pillows before. Ugh...  I've never forgotten my passport before.   I jumped back into the taxi and raced back to the airport.  In a half hour the queue had moved.
. 10 feet.

I got in the pre-checkin line, maybe 10 people in front of me.  The line kept moving painfully slowly; they were taking 5-10 minutes to checkin each passenger.  Over an hour in line and still there were 5 people in line in front of me!  The departure time was rapidly approaching, there was no way it was going to depart on time; the main checkin line still had 40 or more people.  Finally I get up near the end of the line and hear people saying the flight had been cancelled due to snow in Houston!!

The manager there was saying come back tomorrow at 4AM for the return flight.  They weren't offering hotel accommodations since they said it was due to weather.  I went back in the office with a few other people who wanted to see if they could be rebooked on another airline.
  To no luck, all other flights out on American and Delta direct to the US were full today.  I knew there was a Copa flight via Panama City that might be possible; though by the time I was able to get on the phone it was within 20 minutes of departure and the phone agent said it was too late.   I was on an award ticket and Continental would not endorse my ticket over to another airline.

So back to the hostel again... already an expensive day as each taxi ride (this was my 4th..) was $15 each way.  Surprised my friend yet again.. he wasn't expecting to see me again for sure!  Ww went and had breakfast, then decided to make the most of the day and go on a day trip to Granada.  He was planning on heading south to Costa Rica, so would take his backpack along then head off from Granada.
  I would need another night in the hostel.   I had to change rooms as there was already someone booked in my room for tonight.

We caught a cab to the bus station, then found a minibus ready to leave for Granada.  At last, one with air conditioning.. that felt great for the 1hr ride.  When we arrived, we found a local hotel that could watch his backpack while we wandered around town for a few hrs.  Scott had been to Nicaragua back in the early 90's, no tourists then and he said that the restaurants were still playing Russian music back then.

Granada was much improved since his visit, the buildings were all repaired and brightly painted.  It's the tourist gem of Nicaragua so it's kept pretty clean.  Most of the central core has been bought up by expats and turned into hotels, restaurants, cafes, etc.
  We walked down to the lakeshore; there are several restaurants and discos here but they were pretty dead during the middle of the day.   After catching a cab back into town then grabbing pizza for lunch, we walked around a bit more, then we said our goodbyes as my friend headed off to catch the bus south to Rivas.

I spent another hr or so wandering around; there is a neat old church here that used to be a fortress.  It now has a very Armenian style to it.  The bus ride back to Managua was uneventful.  It felt odd with my friend gone, the hostel too was very quiet that night and I only met three other people staying there.  One couple managed to lock themselves out of their room late that night!  I'd pre-arranged another taxi to the airport for 3:30 the next morning; our new departure time was 6:30AM.  After checking flightstats, it appeared this was a special flight; the normal flight was still departing at 7:30 AM.
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Church, Granada, Nicaragua
Church, Granada, Nicaragua
photo by: monoli