Homeward bound

Our bags were packed. They wouldn’t be open again until we were back home.

All set and trundling on down to the port.

Now that’s an interesting concept. Home.

Some say home is where the heart is and after 2 months of falling in love time and time again, my concept of home had become very blurry. Was is Caye Caulker and my surrogate Belizian family or my time with little Christian in Antigua. I had seen towns on the Atlantic coast and beaches on the Pacific. I had met people from Austria through to Australia. I had covered the length of five countries in the space of 6 weeks. I had visited some of the most remote areas in the Central Americas and best of all, I had come out the other end in good health.

And so I sat in that rickety minivan on our way to the port of Isla Ometepe, lost in the sunlight through my window and the strength of my reminiscence.

The journey back was a reversal of the journey there. Instead of uplifting Led on the way back to Granada, my sombre mood had taken a fancy to the Strokes. This was further fuelled by a sudden onset of bad weather. Torrential rain. As we exited the bus in a rather sunnier and dryer Granada, I realised that the driver had in fact not covered our bags as he had promised. So most of our things were wet. Which deepened my mood. Which was further exacerbated by my friend being an annoyance, but he had been a faithful companion thus far so I bit my tongue (hard) and pushed it to the back of my mind. Tempers fray when it rains. I have seen this as a growing trend in life.

For our last two nights we checked ourselves into the same hostel. It was empty to me, without the friends we had met there before and I was determined to have an early night in order to wake up early the next morning and hit up Masayah Market.

The plan would of worked, except I couldn’t find any will in my body to sleep, through a sheer mix of emotions with the return journey looming. I missed my family and my friends at home but this was outweighed by my urge and need to travel on, to explore further, to live.

Before I knew it, the night had passed in a matter of moments and I was already at the dusty station again, for another chicken bus ride up north to Masaya, where the famous market was based. I sat in my seat. One of the last chicken buses I would be travelling on. I admired the peeling seat cover in front of me, took in the smells of the traders selling pastries outside and watched as the bus filled to the brim with locals from all walks of life.

Chicken bus chic.

The market was only half an hour away and the day was overcast but warm. The market proved to be a fantastic experience as I bobbed and weaved through throws of locals in a short narrow passage between stalls of food, electric wires and illegal DVDs.

Variety and necessity.

The weirdest thing had to be the freshly killed chickens with the eggs still inside. A sight that had me disgusted and intrigued at the same time.

Erm, ok?

The rest of the market was tourist orientated which meant I could do some final purchases for loved ones back at home.

The rest of the day was a daze for me. I spent it back in Granada, in the Park Central, watching people go about their daily lives. Lives that are so different to mine, but so similar at the same time. Making a living, entertaining children, worrying about their finances, enjoying a brief stare with a loved one, swirling a spoon in coffee, running for the bus, chasing their dreams whilst being chained by reality.

That night I didn’t sleep. I was thinking through the trip and the people I had met. Wondering where some of them were in that moment. Thinking about the things I had done. Picturing some of the views. Taking a final account of the trip in my mind, trying desperately to burn it’s memory into the fleshy walls of mind.

The taxi to the airport left ar 4am.

I had no hinderance in Miami airport. Shocking. Seeing as this time around I had developed a rather large beard. But amidst my fears, all in all, my travel had been a safe one. A complete one. One of the best.

Me and my old, wrinkly but faithful friend. Oh and the beard. Which I miss.

Central America is an experience rich and culturally diverse part of the world. I would strongly recommend travel through it’s countries and plan to do it all again one day.

But as the plane home took off and that weightless senselessness hit me as we ascended into the heavens, I could help but think, what next?

-U.Mirza

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