Flashback Friday: The Nicaragua Plane Ride

I mentioned in last Friday’s post that a few years back, some friends and I spent a week in Nicaragua and, during that time, took a plane to the Corn Islands after having heard tales of their beauty. The plane to the Corn Islands left from the airport in Managua, the country’s capital, which proved to be convenient since we had to swing by the airport anyways to retrieve our luggage that had enjoyed an extended stay in Guatemala (travel tip: always pack a change of clothes in your carry-on. It will save you from having to buy undies from a street vendor, and any time you don’t have to purchase undergarments off of the street makes for a good day).

After we had spent an appropriate (or inappropriate, depending on how you look at it) amount of time gazing adoringly at our own brought-from-home clothes, we made our way over to our terminal. I also mentioned in last weeks post that only one girl in our group spoke Spanish, so she worked overtime that week translating for us. We got up to the ticket counter and hopped in line. The first girl in our group bought her ticket and the lady behind the counter motioned towards a scale. Our friend went to put her bag on the scale and was stopped by the woman, who was shaking her head. After some back and forths and gesturing, our translator friend informed us that we were supposed to get on the scale with our bags so that they would know our cumulative weight.

Neat.

So one by one, we all stood on the scale, clutching our bags and red-faced from that all-too-familiar combo of laughter and humiliation, while the ticket agent made note of our weight and – I’m pretty sure – judged and while we made lame jokes about having packed rocks in our backpacks. After our pride was sufficiently wounded, we grabbed our boarding passes and headed through security to wait for our flight.

While unflattering, this picture is important because it shows our convenient, wallet-sized boarding passes.

After a little while we saw what we assumed to be a child’s plaything roll down the runway and were surprised to hear that what we were looking at was actually our ride. I think that I can safely speak for everyone when I say that we’re lucky that we were wearing our new street undies because our stomachs dropped so fast that there was a real chance that they might fall right out of our butts.

We climbed the 3 steps into the plane and took our seats. Including the 2 pilots (whom we could have reached out and touched, if the urge struck us), there were 12 people on board. They had to move people around so that the weight distribution wouldn’t throw the plane off balance. In what can only be described as foreshadowing for our upcoming boat ride, the other passengers were crossing themselves and clutching hands and I belatedly wondered if I should chow down on a Dramamine.

The flight itself was fine, albeit a little rocky since a strong exhale could have sent the aircraft tumbling. We spent a couple of days on the Corn Islands and then geared up for our flight back to Managua. We laughed in the cab ride back to the airport, anticipating the big weigh-in that we knew was coming. We were old pros by this point – they didn’t even have to tell us to get on the scale, though they did have to point us in the right direction because all we saw was what we assumed to be some sort of old-fashioned cattle scale.

A little salt in the wound, sure, but nothing that we couldn’t laugh about.

What surprised us most was when, instead of jotting down our weight as they had the last time, the ticket agent yelled the number to another agent who was standing across the moderately crowded room. And he yelled it in the only English that we had heard, outside of our group, since we had arrived in Nicaragua.

Those Nicaraguans have a funny sense of humor.

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