“Vik, you HAVE to go to Isla de Ometepe,” they said. “The Aztecs heard a prophecy about two volcanoes on an island in the middle of a lake,” they said. “You’ll love it,” they said. Well, f*** the omniscient they.
I planned on spending a month in Nicaragua because the all-knowing-They told me to spend ample time in the country. Fine. What follows is a long story of trauma, heartache, horror!
I ventured to Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua; nestled in the country’s’ namesake lake. Headed there with the sole intention of attending a certain specialized ceremony at a recommended finca. I arrived on the island at a time that was incompatible with the inconvenient bus schedule; so I stayed at a hostel for one night and went the following morning to Santo Domingo, the stop in which I thought I had to get off for this eventual meeting. Of course it was the wrong stop and at 11am, the next bus wouldn’t arrive until 5pm. I wasn’t about to walk 5km to Santa Cruz in the heat with my 65L backpack. No taxis; just private tourist vehicles that weren’t about to pick me up either. I was already harboring an annoyance from the previous night of failed transit, so this was just more cherries.
I booked a night in a private room with two Germans and an Austrian that I met while trying to hitchhike along the same road. We biked to Ojo de Agua (touristy and lame) and chilled for the rest of the day. My Finnish homie, Oona, came through from far-far away and brought happiness and joy back to my life after two days of utter travel purgatory. She
is my beacon of light and I follow her lead willingly because I no longer wanted to make decisions. Again, we left first thing in the morning to book space at the finca when I noticed some strange bites on my leg. Oona brushed off their severity and I followed said brushing. The finca was taking no reservations, had no open space for the next several nights (how do they know?) and of course, the next bus was in two hours and it was high-heat-noon-time. We headed back to the port town of Moyogalpa to leave the island because we wereover it and my ceremony is an obvious bust. We planned to stay the night at a hostel in town because, naturally, we missed the last boat.
Wednesday arrived with a side of pain. I awoke around 3am from a deep and luscious slumber to my inner itch. I was incessantly itchy and I absolutely couldn’t get back to sleep, so I headed to the shower thinking I must have sand fleas (I was never in the sand…). I used my iPhone flashlight as a guide back to bed and as I tried in vain to keep the light off all the sleeping faces in the dorm, the light rested on my tousled bed sheets. Bugs. At least four grown ass bed bugs all up in my bed running scared from the shining light. I do not freak out.
I, in fact, make no noise whatsoever. I immediately take all of my belongings out of the room and into the light for meticulous inspection. The receptionist on duty hears my commotion and comes out to assist, ask questions, and tell me that I must have brought the bed bugs (-__-). Typical. We find three on my backpack, shorts, and my toiletry bag. No bueno. I laid on a hammock until 7am while staring at a giant jungle spider and listened to deer sex; as I am strategically placed next to some sort of deer farm where they’re either running amok or performing coitus. #Monkeywrench
The receptionist had alerted the owner whilst I was hammocking and she arrived to work early to speak with me. In her native French accent she said, “well we used to steam each mattress daily, then weekly, but we stopped having the issue sooo…” Another low blow, but I dismissed it. She mentioned that I may use the steam machine to…WHAT? Um, yes I will hop right on that unfinished offer and steam ALL of my belongings. Extreme temperatures kill those little bastards. There are no dryer machines in Central America, so if it ain’t the sun, it’s steam!
*Bed bugs are natural hitchhikers. All it takes is one preggo female to lay her eggs in your general vicinity and it is an absolute wrap for you. They latch on to you, your linens, your mattress, your curtains, your bags, your clothes…essentially anything that has fabric. You can do a preliminary check by scanning the mattress directly and looking for exoskeletons, fecal matter that will smear if you touch it or you can move the bed around (they hate movement and light). If you see even one, there’s probably an infestation. So act accordingly.