Day 25 (Jun. 28):
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
San Juan del Sur. It’s a gem of a place here. A small beach community tucked away in the middle of nowhere Nicaragua. The people lazily meander about the streets without the slightest sense of urgency. Their step is only gradually more intentional in the early morning when the best surf is starting to roll onto the beach. Like a mass exodus, the town empties as droves of stoked surfers chase the waves with their boards tucked under their arms. The action seems to never stop here. Early morning, mid-afternoon, and late evening. The town can accommodate whatever desires the wandering traveler may have; no matter how relaxed or chaotic they may be.
Sitting at the Iguana Bar, Oliver and I sip on a handful of beers and watch the natural lightshow plastered across the early evening skies. Out task for the afternoon is to wait for the sun to drop slowly beneath the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. This is definitely a good environment to unwind and forget about the rigors of the road. During our early evening festivities, travelers continue to cycle through the bar to share a few good stories with one another. Every table is an open invitation for anyone who needs the company or a casual chat. Gradually, our table of two takes on a party of three…then four…then three again, as people join and depart our rowdy conversation. After talking with a number of the travelers here it’s clear that San Juan del Sur has a sneaky ability to trap passers-by with its laid back vibe. For many, a quick three day trip turns in to a few months and before they find their sobriety, they’ve spent the better part of a year here. It’s that easy to lose yourself in this town. Every day new faces are shipped in to replace those that have convinced themselves to depart and every day the festive personality of the town is rejuvenated.
The sun eventually disappears into the sea and before I know it, the once serene bar is swarming with party goers ready to get the night rolling in the right direction. With the evening carelessly moving along, the random conversations get more and more strange and before I know it I am engaged in a bout of madness with a displaced American who explains to me his odd life story. “You see those lines in the sky? What do you think they are?” He asks me with a dense, empty look in his eyes. “Well”, I respond, “I’d say that they're the jet streams from airplanes coming from the handful of airports that surround us.” This seemed like the most logical explanation, but the man was quick to correct me. “No man, you’re all sorts of wrong. Those are signs from my people letting me know that I’m safe. You see I own 73 starships that travel all through the universe and they're always keeping an eye one me. When those two streams cross over the moon, that’s their sign to me.” This is obviously a completely insane statement, but he rattles off his story so casually that I don’t even question his validity. “Oh yeah,” I tell the man. “This is fascinating. Please go on.” I say this honestly. In no way do I mean to be condescending. The man’s face contorts and he unleashes the next chapter of his amazing story. “Well man, I am the president where I come from.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out an oversized, novelty passport that has the words ‘President’ boldly written across the top. He digs even deeper into his pants pocket and unveils an old Star Trek patch displaying a weathered image of the Starship Enterprise. “Check this shit out man. This is the logo of my company. Only I get to carry this, but it’s how I let my people know that I am really me. I know a lot of people and they will all tell you that I am serious. Just the other day Dick Cheney and I were out at a bar up the road...Let me tell you, that guy is crazy.”
The conversation continues in this manner for roughly 20 minutes and the insanity grows steadily over the course of the entire discussion. While the madman rambles on about his last outing with the former Vice President I stare down into my empty glass and use the lack of drink as an opportunity to exit the seemingly never ending conversation. I take a few paces towards the bar and turn back to the madman to wish him good luck on his travels, but he was nowhere to be seen. He vanished into the night...could it be?