“Can you smell that? The sweetness in the air? That’s the sugar cane fields,” Sebas leans over to tell me.
It’s incredible – I really can smell the air, tinged with a softly sugary scent as it ruffles my hair and the curtain on the bus window. I scan the surroundings and see men hacking at sugar cane with their machetes, the stalks almost twice as tall as they are, tossing them into a growing heap near the side of the road.
We’re driving down one of the most beautiful roads I’ve seen in Nicaragua. Paved, narrow, lined on both sides with beautiful trees, their canopy creating a blessedly cool break from the humidity and heat. And now the air is tinged with something else too, but this scent I need no help identifying. Salt water. We’re almost there!
A drunken man stumbles onto the bus at Masachapa, the last stop before the beach area of Pochomil, Managua. He plops in the front seat and turns to survey those around him, and fittingly enough, is sporting a hat that reads “Bienvenidos a Pochomil”!
I decide to take it as a sign that the slightly-more-ardous-than-anticipated trek to get here has been worthwhile. Plus it makes me giggle, because as the bus has mostly emptied out, it feels like this inebriated man was sent here specifically to welcome us.
We pile out of the bus a few minutes later, 2.5 hours after leaving our homes, and we’re here! Big, untamed beach, and hot, salty air greet us.
Pochomil is a beach on the Pacific, shared by many other better known, better developed, and sure, more beautiful, beaches. But after two months in the big city, it’s a sight for these sore eyes!
It’s overcast today, thank goodness, because the sand is still hot hot hot. We step gingerly, flat footed in our flip flops, and wind our way over to what appears to be the most bustling of the waterfront restaurants.
As always, the beach restaurant has no problem with us camping out under their tiki huts and using their facilities, even eating our own food and drinks, as long as we buy something. Anything is fine. Just something.
It’s a steal of a deal, and Sebas opts for a fish lunch instead of the egg salad sandwich I had packed him. I don’t blame him…I mean, when in Rome…and it gets us out of having to purchase anything more.
I spend much of the time swinging in a hammock…
We lounge for a while before Sebas points out a local, national celebrity. Chayanne! He sings, beatboxes, and dances to the styles of Michael Jackson in an extraordinarily strange mixture of Spanish and random English words. I can’t really call it English because it makes zero sense.
He comes by our table to tell us about his upcoming appearance in Managua and is kind enough to pose for a few photos. Later, a table asks him to perform and he obliges (for a tip, I’m sure).
Vendors pass by hawking their wares, and we take turns dipping in and out of the water and heading back to the shady reprieve of the restaurant. An older gentleman passes by and asks if we’d like a song. We tell him no, gracias, and I compliment him on his awesome sombrero.
He smiles, sits down, and says he’ll sing us a song for free. My friend thinks it’s his gambit to get a tip out of us and she might be right, but I kinda think he just liked that we were friendly foreigners and wanted to show us kindness in return.
Either way, his voice is beautiful and I’m glad he chose to sing us a beautiful song about this sleepy beach town. The same friend offers to tip him for all of us and he smiles again at her generosity before being drowned out by other entertainers with drums, and carrying on his way.
On our way out of town, we hop off the bus for a few minutes to take a wander around Masachapa. It’s a one-road kind of place, pretty but with nothing going on, and five minutes later we are hopping back on the very same slow-moving bus from which we had hopped off, and continue on the journey home.
We only stay a few hours but it’s enough to refresh me. After two months in the big city of Managua, however fun they have been, I needed to get out and convene with nature.
I hadn’t even realized how badly I needed it until we were winding our way here through the hills and I realized I was just so happy to be on that bus. It didn’t even phase me that the ride was double the anticipated journey. The scenery was gorgeous, the air fresh, and the ocean was awaiting us at the other end!
I’m back to loving Nicaragua. In a country this beautiful, it doesn’t take much to remind me why I’m still here and why I’m mostly in love with the place. Every day can be a new adventure if I just remember to look for it!
To get to Pochomil, we took a local Managua ruta to Mercado Israel. It’s a bit of a maze to find the buses, but you can ask people or take a taxi and get dropped right there. The bus to Pochomil cost only C$30 each way, and took about an hour and a half from the station.