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Voyages of los Testigos - Part 11, Page 3

Border Post Paranoia

While the travelers continued pondering their cervezas, Nuco took out a map and opened it on the dirt floor of the bar. Emboldened by the beer and still smarting at his earlier border station abandonment of the Revolution, he pointed to a small town on Nicaragua's Atlantic coastline. "We got all this money now, I say we go to


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Bluefields."

"Where's that?" Medio asked.

"It's on the Miskito coast. It's a port town. They speak English."

"How are we going to get there?" Medio asked, looking at the map. "There aren't any roads to that side of the country."

"We go to Costa Rica, rent a fishing boat and head up the coast. On the open sea again!"

"Isn't Bluefields where the CIA mined the harbor?" the BigGuy asked.

"Yeah, but that was more than a year ago. They've cleared that all away."

"Hmm..." began the BigGuy, signaling a move into fast-think. "I'm not sure that all this Nicaraguan dinero is going to do us much good in Costa Rica."

"What mines?" Medio asked.

Nuco folded the map. "Our government was pissed off that the Europeans were still trading with Nicaragua after we imposed an embargo. They were using Bluefields as a port, so the CIA mined the harbor there."

"Not the kind of harbor I'd want to ride a fishing boat into," the BigGuy said.

"That was over a year ago," Nuco insisted.

"Let's put it to a vote," Medio suggested. "Who's for Bluefields?" Only Nuco raised his cerveza.

"Looks like a no-go this trip, Senor," the BigGuy said quickly.

"You guys are paranoid," Nuco replied, disgusted.

The post election democracy sat quietly for a while, drinking and digesting their rice, beans, and newfound paranoia. Finally, the BigGuy finished his cerveza and stood up. "Esta noche, mis amigos, es muy cansado." The rest of the group drank up, ready to look for lodging. It was good to see the BigGuy revert to his Berlitz tape Spanish again.

Pension Parsimony

A walk through town revealed that all the pensiones in town were filled. One pension manager mentioned another place outside of town, and the BigGuy, his language skills rising to the challenge, volunteered to check it out. His three companeros sat on their luggage on a dusty street corner in the middle of town.

As tired as the street corner gringos felt, it was impossible not to notice how nicely people treated them. Virtually everyone who walked by their new base camp smiled and said hello. One muchacho, who lived nearby, even offered them a place to stay in his home. Counting on the BigGuy to score a couple of rooms, the tired trio declined.

The BigGuy returned from his quest full of vigor. "They love me here!" he enthused.

"Did you find a place to sleep?"

"No luck there, but they love me here, Señor!

"No rooms I bet," Nuco said.

"Must have been the huge influx of people that took that last bus into town," Capn surmised.

"You know, I think I'm going to run for mayor of Somoto!" the BigGuy suddenly declared.

His three companeros looked at him, puzzled. "I don't get it," Medio said. "First you abandon your country because you're afraid the Nicaraguan people will string you up, and now you want to run for mayor?"

"I hope you make more pensiones a part of your platform," Capn added, standing and dusting himself off.

Despite the cynicism, the BigGuy's optimism was borne out as within minutes a pension employee arrived to say that the owner invited them to sleep on his living room floor. Not relishing the street and too tired to begin the campaign for the BigGuy's newly declared mayoral candidacy, the travelers accepted the offer.

Next issue, more overcrowding, Nicaraguan cerveza, and talking shit.

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