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Voyages of los Testigos - Part 10, Page 1

Border Disorder

The bus for the border arrived, putting an end to the gringo music and Nuco's Moon Walk exhibition. The travelers bid goodbye to the Sandinistas and boarded the bus, having shared a piece of their culture. In exchange, the Sandinistas had included the travelers in the group they were protecting against Y

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ankee imperialism.

A three kilometer drive along a road dotted with Sandinista Army encampments carried the travelers to the new border station. Because the previous station had been destroyed by the counterrevolutionary "Contras", the overriding concern at the new station was mobility. The Nicaraguan government's socialist policies had stirred up trouble with the world's largest military power, the US, which was funding the war against them, so the Sandinista-led government had simply retrofitted a small RV trailer with an outdoor awning and three shelved windows. Each morning, they would roll out the RV and process the trickle of people entering and leaving their country. At night, they would close the station and withdraw to Somoto, the nearest town of consequence.

"The last time I was here, people said the Contras only come out at night," Nuco said, as the bus approached the port-o-station.

"So this should be a safe, easy procedure," the BigCanadian said.

"Safe, yes," Nuco replied.

The travelers disembarked, were given packets of documents and showed a long line at the RV's first window. "I need a beer," Capn said.

"Don't see any cerveza around here," the BigCanadian said, surveying the port-a-station, which seemed to have been chosen for its lack of ground cover.

After filling out the documents, the group settled in line. Overhead, the sun moved slowly across a cloudless sky, burning deeply into their sun lotion plastered hides. "Relentless," said Medio, after thirty minutes of the blaze.

"And unforgiving," Capn added, finishing the phrase that would become the travelers' theme over the next few days.

The BigCanadian, who had withdrawn into his clothes like a turtle from danger, peered out from under his campesino hat. "El sol is taking its time crossing the sky," he observed. "What do you say we take turns waiting in line." He pointed to a small shade tree, walked over to it and sat down. Capn and Nuco followed suit, leaving Medio in line with the baggage.

At midday, with the solar death rays near their zenith, the windows suddenly shut. "Que paso?" asked Nuco, who was baking in line at the time.

"Almuerzo," said the woman in front of him.

"What's up, Señor?" the BigCanadian called from the shade.


"How about a little entertainment while we're waiting," the BigCanadian suggested. "Another Moon Walk?"

"Hot," Nuco mumbled.

"Doesn't anyone drink beer with their lunch?" Capn queried.

Lunchtime passed and the windows of the RV remained closed. "Siesta," the woman in front of Nuco explained.

"Siesta," Nuco called out to the shaded trio. "Somebody spell me."

"I wish that sun would take a siesta," the Big Canadian said, glancing up at the fiery Aztec god that had begun to determine the group's every motion.

"Relentless and unforgiving," Medio said, preparing for another shift.

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