IMAGE GALLERY BELOW…
We took a bus ride to the Nicaragua National Zoo today. It’s a great little, well-maintained zoo populated mostly by rescue animals. In addition to lots of cool birds, gigantic cats of prey, and other fauna, they had an amazing butterfly garden you can walk through and have thousands of butterflies land on you. I had so many butterflies on me at one point I’m pretty sure had they worked together they could have carried me away, likely depositing me in some cave on Mombacho Volcano where my slightly, though not as much as it was a month ago, overweight corpse could feed their species for several hundred generations. Thankfully, butterflies aren’t that crafty. Plus, the garden is enclosed with a mesh roof.
As with our bus trip to the mall in Managua, the ride there and back were just exciting (if not more so) than the destination. We caught a bus before it left at the depot off of La Calzada in Granada. Per usual, it stopped and fully loaded with passengers before we got to the Zoo.
On the way back from the zoo we waited at a bus stop. A “bus” finally arrived. I put bus in quotes here, because this bus was not so much a bus as it was a late 80’s Ford Aerostar minivan packed with people. We crammed ourselves in, both of us squatting on the floor by the sliding door while a nice Nica in a seat offered to hold Levi in his lap but then…the van died, and would not start. We got off. I figured even if they got the van going again, they’d probably stop several more times before reaching Granada; each stop a new chance of a dead van. So we got off and caught a chicken bus that just happened to be heading our way. As we were climbing onto the chicken bus, the Ford Aerostar finally started up and they left. I was relieved for them, since they had stopped to pick us up when the thing broke down.
A chicken bus is an old American style school bus that has been vividly decorated in bright colors. It’s called a chicken bus because of how its bumpy ride causes your head to bob back and forth. There were no actual chickens on the bus…none that I saw or heard, anyway.
This bus was PACKED. I mean P-A-C-K-E-D! It was so packed that we could not fully get on. Roberta and Levi stood next to the driver between several other people and I stood on the top step next to the OPEN door. I had my back to the open door as we barreled down the highway at un-regulated speeds.
After a few stops, though, enough people cleared out that we were able to all get a seat. Levi slept most of the way.