YES! FINALLY!! We ran into the notorious “crooked cops” we had heard so much about throughout our travels in Mexico and Central America! Before and during our travels we had been warned about Mexico and Honduras in particular, but to this point (6+ months on the road) had sailed through without any problems. On our way to the Nicaraguan-Costa Rican border we saw two cops on the side of the road who waved at us to pull over. Oh, another standard police stop. Time to pull out the driver’s license, passports, insurance papers, etc. We handed over all of our important documents, and they were returned to us minus Richard’s driver’s license.
Richard did his usual routine: HOLA! BUENOS DIAS! COMO ESTAS? SOY DE CANADA!
This cop wasn’t really buying it.
Cop: “Infraction!!” He said immediately (this is the conversation translated into English). “Your lights are on! Lights are for night time only! Infraction!”
Richard: “This car is from Canada and has daytime running lights. The lights are on all the time.”
Cop: “You didn’t signal in the roundabout! Infraction! No driving crazy in Nicaragua! You have to pay the fine. You must go to the police station and pay the ticket.”
Richard: “No, thank you.”
Cop: “Yes, you must go to the police station and pay the ticket.”
Richard: “I don’t need to.”
Cop: “Yes, you do.”
Richard: “I need my driver’s license to drive to the police station.”
Cop: “No, you don’t.”
Richard: “Yes, I do. I need my license to drive there.”
Richard then said something under his breath about “paying here” and the cop’s eyes lit up immediately. A smile similar to the long, drawn out, evil shit eating grin of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas spread over his face. His eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store. This was ample evidence of the notorious bribing technique we had heard so much about.
Richard: “Don’t need to. No, thank you.”
The cop stood outside the driver’s side door, sweating profusely under his uniform. The sun beat down on him, at a full strength high 30 degree sweltering heat. I opened my water bottle and took a few long swigs of water. Then Richard sipped on his coffee before taking a sip from the cold water bottle. Mmmm, refreshing.
All of a sudden, the cop gave Richard his license back and walked away. And we were off.
Nicaraguan fumigation: 0
Crooked Nicaraguan Cop: 0
Desk to Glory: 2
Before all the police shenanigans we had slowly made our way south from Leon:
Our $8/night campsite at the Las Penitas “Beach House” location of Bigfoot Hostel.
Las Penitas And then we made it to Paradiso Hostel on the extinct volcano crater of Laguna Apoyo.
Since we were so close, we had to check out the live Masaya Volcano. Check out the sulphur-y goodness creeping up from the crater. Just in case of an eruption, “Park your car facing exit” for a quick getaway. This was our sweet camp spot at Matilda’s campground on Playa Majugal near San Juan Del Sur. After a sketchy boat ride to Isla de Ometepe (words of wisdom: get there early, make a reservation, and DO NOT choose the small ferry boat…) we camped at Finca Magdelena and went bike riding. Make sure to check out Cafe Campestre, just down the street from Finca Magdalena. They served up some of the best food we’ve had on this trip, and satisfied our cravings for salad. They also sell organic coffee beans, freshly baked bread, and organic salad greens that are grown in the garden behind the restaurant.
We also met up with Josh and Shannon from The Next Adventures. The last time we saw those two was in Mexico so it was great to catch up!