My buddy Eric & I stayed at a brand-new place just outside of San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua. (In fact, this place is currently housing the entire crew & cast of 'Survivor' as the series films in Nica.)
First day in-country, we surfed it up pretty good. By evening, we were both wiped from the Central American sun & lots of clean, peeling 6 foot waves. We called it an early night. Eric downstairs in the bedroom just off the kitchen, me in the upstairs loft-like bedroom.
Around 1230am I kinda slowly become conscious to someone yelling. I figure that it's someone outside the unit, drunk or something. I vaguely become aware, through the haze of sleep, of my name. How strange is that, I'm thinking. Someone's bellowing 'Mike, Mike.' WTF, that sounds like Eric. I jump out of bed & go out to the top of the stairs & look down on a surreal scene going on in the living room area.
Eric is standing up & grappling with some dude. The dude looks like a local Nica, he's dressed in dark blue pants & a white long-sleeve collared shirt. He looks almost like a security guard or something, at first glance. WTF. He IS a security guard ! I see his gun & radio on his belt as he's pushing & shoving Eric.
As I run down the stairs to get into the action, the dude sees me coming & moves backwards from Eric & starts to unholster his gun. F*** that! I smash my fists into his face, repeatedly, knock him down, blood flows (his),
I'm yelling at Eric to get his gun. Eric grabs the gun. Gives it to me. I'm holding the gun on the guy, asking WTF is going on here ?
Eric says he was sound asleep & woke up to a shadow figure in his bedroom, going through his wallet & taking money. He jumped up & grappled with the guy, and the yend up in the living room & Eric's hollering my name to come help.
Weird(er) moment. While Eric is gone to get help, I have an almost overpowering urge to shoot the thief in his knee. Just to see what that feels like to shoot someone, just to feel the power. Like I said: it was a strange night.
So I'm holding the pistol on this guy & he's bleeding from the mouth where I clocked him & he's pleading in Spanish for us not to call the police. F*** that. Thievin' prick. Eric goes out & after 20 mins finally gets the manager to get his fat arse up to our unit - the developer happened to be there too & he came up to see what was going on.
Here's the (really) creepy part. We explain what happened. The developer takes the security guard away. Then brings him back to hear the guard's side of it. And the guard has his gun back! And we demand to get moved to a different unit. Developer moves us. He asks what he can do for us. We say, bring us beer & rum. And we're def not paying for the condo stay. No prob.
So we stay up all night in the condo, drinking rum & beer & laughing & me icing my hand where I must have punched the guard in his head when we were going at it & my hand is swollen as hell.
We had a long, restless night....we feared that the guard, being a local Nica, is gonna bring in the extended family & wipe us out. We barricaded the doors & windows with couches & chairs & we dozed off just before dawn with large knives at our sides. Just in case.
Dawn finally arrived. We threw our gear in the 4wd & prepared to get the hell outta Dodge. No way were we sticking around to see what this dude's relatives were gonna do to the 2 gringos. The developer saw us as we were leaving & pleaded with us not to post any bad reviews or reports of what happened to us on his property on the Internet. We just shook our heads in disgust & split.
Eric went over to the Corn Islands to check it out. I went back home to get my hand checked: broken thumb.
HOLY SH*****T! The Nicaragua post is one the most craziest travel stories I've ever heard. Hard to believe, yet at the same time......totally believable.
My story long story. Spent a week surfing, camping in Southern California in late Spring a 4-5 years back with a buddy. Decided to go bungee jumping in Azusa state park, Northeast of LA. The jump is on this bridge in the middle of the state park, so we had to hike with this big group and cross a river at several sections. The river was cold and strong at points, id say around 60+ degrees. On the way there, we crossed the river in groups of 6 in a chain holding each others arms to crossed going downstream, it was pretty sick. We met these 2 two girls and hiked with them. At one crossing, Im in the middle and the girl next to me slips and looses grip to the other person next to her. I'm holding onto as she is flapping and trying to get her footing in the strong current. She makes it and we cross fine.
Thats not even half the story.
After the jumps, which were so much fun. The guides told us we can go back whenver we want because if did your jumps, you dont have to wait for the whole group to go back. Just follow the river back to the parking lot. So my buddy and the two girls make our way back, but there was a couple that made their way back about 30 mins before us.
On our way back, we see the husband of the couple in the middle of the river in a strong current section hugging a rock and waiving at us for help!!
We ran over and luckily came across a guy camping along the trail and yelled for some rope. (I'll never know why that guy camping never heard the guy in the river and without that rope It would have a whole different story). So we take the rope make a 4 person human chain halfway across the river, (it was much wider at this section) and chuck the rope to the guy and hauled him to shore. He comes out of the water shiverring, panting and can barely get his breath, saying "my wife, gasp, shes down the river, gasp"
We sprint ran down the river quite a bit and find the wife in a same kind of situation as the husband and repeat the same process to get her out of the water. They were both freezing and I told them you need to keep moving and we need get to the parking lot. We hike the rest of trail together and still have to make some legit river crossing again, make it back to the parking lot, my buddy and I give them our sleeping bags to warm up inside their car. They thanked us profusely over and over. The water is oceans is strong but rivers can be just as dangerous.
LOL! They were nice girls but ah lets just say, not my type. I remember being really tired and hungry. But maybe next time I tell the story, I should finish it with, and then the girls wanted my brave buddy and I taking to go with them to their hotel room and keep them safe!
We figured that the guard used his key to get into our place. The guards at that particular place had rings of keys, so they probably could get access to anything on the property.
We figured later on that the guy had probably robbed a lot of gringos just like he tried to rob us. Because he was so bold about it. It couldn't have been the first time that he did it.
The developer had to have known that he had an existing security breach issue, too.
Reason I say that is 'cause he didn't act very surprised when he was dealing with the fallout from that evening.
It's my impression that a lot of the gringos in Nica who live & work & build homes are extremely careful not to step on local's toes in any way, shape or form. After all, the Sandinista are the ruling party & Ortega isn't a fan of Uncle Sam.
It wasn't all that long ago that people were being disappeared by the same guys who now rule the roost. There's many dark side stories about current everyday life there that you hear if you spend some time in-country...:
I went to the Virgin Islands a few years ago and camped on Cinnamon Bay St. John. I brought my board with me since the bay can break on a big north swell, which was hitting just as I arrived. I surfed 2 days in a row when I got there but on the third day I walked down to the beach with my board and it was pretty much flat. As I was walking back this guy says : You need to go over to Tortolla the waves are better there". I said "yeah I've heard that but I'm here with family so I wouldn't be making any side trips". I talked with him a little longer then went back to my campsite and put my board in my tent. As I was walking back to the beach I passed the same guy on the path (in the Jungle). He was sitting there with this shabby looking 10 year old with dreads (They were both white and clearly from the US) . This time he looked the other way as I walked by, which struck me as strange since we were just talking 10 minutes before. Any how I get down to the beach and was watching the guy and kid out of the corner of my eye when my son says "dad lets go swimming". So I get myself up and jump in the water with him. Within a minute I look to where the guy was and he's now gone. I can barely see the shabby kid in the Jungle, so i get out of the water an walk quickly back up the beach and into the jungle path. The guy and kid are there but the guy looks really flustered and turns away as I walk by and starts picking at the bark of a tree.
I walk back to my campsite and quickly look around nothing missing. Then I start thinking ah your paranoid, and take a seat at the picnic table. As I'm sitting there I am looking in the direction of the beach through the trees at the bath house wondering if it as all in my imagination. But just as I'm about to get up and walk back down I see a head lean out around the edge of the bathouse and look directly at my campsite. It's the friggin guy and the kid looking to see if I'm still there! I then got up, found a big stick and a giant rock and I duct taped the two together like the nastiest club you ever saw. I swear I was ready to cave his skull in if he came any closer. Eventually my wife walks back and says "what happened to you?" I told her and she went back to the beach and got everyone we were with to sit at the campsite while I went to find a ranger. The ranger said he had no doubt that I was right and found the guy and kid and made some small talk. Within a minute the two of them were walking as fast as they could away from the beach.
As lame as this story might sound it freaked me out being so far from home and the target of a couple of loosers. A word of caution when traveling be respectfull but avoid getting too friendly unless you have a connection through another party. There are jerks out there waiting to take advantage.
That's a very valid point from Zippy. Always trust your gut.
Your homemade war club is awesome. Holy hell man, I wanna party with you, lol !
How was Tortola, did you go over there ? I've read some articles on the place. Sounds like it could be great ? Crowded waves there ? I'm seriously considering a winter trek there....any info would be much appreciated.
The full moon party on Tortola @ the bomba shack also sounds off the chain although I might be getting a bit long in the tooth to be drinkin' 20 year olds under the table. Ah, heck why not....
Nope I never made it to Tortolla. I heard that the surf was good there for a week after I left and more than a week after Cinnamon Bay went flat. I was on St John with my wife and 8 year old son and it just seemed like a huge hassle to get over to Tortolla alone, and figure it all out, for a day trip. We were only on the Island for a total of 5 days and I got some fun surf for 2 of them which was cool for me, it was a family vacation and not meant to be a surf trip. I wish I could have brought that club home with me. I slept with it for the last 2 nights convinced that guy was coming back .