Something that happens from time to time to Volunteers in Nicaragua is getting “Nica kidnapped” or “Nicanapped.” It is when a Nicaraguan invites you to do something, and it the total ordeal takes exponentially longer than you expected. I got Nica kidnapped on Wednesday.
I’ve been getting to know a woman and her husband who are excellent ambassadors for me and project partners. He is a successful business man and industry advocate (he works in hospitality). She works in hospitality as well, has a doctorate in rural education, is involved in trade groups, and has her own vocational training school. When she invited me to visit the Flor de Caña Factory in Chichigalpa with her and a group of her students on Wednesday, I jumped on the opportunity.
[I’ve previously written about Flor de Caña and Chichigalpa here if you are interested in a more philosophical tome]
I arrived at Ximena and Carlos’ house at noon for lunch. By 12:50 we were in her car with her co-worker and their two young daughters for the 30 minute ride north to Chichigalpa.
When we got to the Flor de Caña Factory in Chichigalpa we were met by their 30 tourism students who were going to observe how the tour guides acted during the tour. However, we were faced with a problem. International travelers pay $20 for the tour, while Nicaraguans only pay $6. No one wanted me to have to pay the full price, so they had me change shirts with one of the students (they all had a polo with the logo of their organization) and get into the back of their bus. The plan worked! I actually paid a concessionary group rate less than $6. The tour was neat, but I’m not sure it is worth $20. You do get to try quite a bit of their 18 year aged dark rum.
Little did I know my ordeal was just beginning. After we left Flor de Caña I was informed we were going to visit the Chichigalpa Museum. That was fine with me. I had been meaning to visit Chichigalpa. This trip was surely allowing me to, albeit without seeing the two Volunteers who live there, David and Gabriela. There turned out not to be too much to see at the Chichigalpa Museum. There was a youth dance group practicing for something though.
We’re going home now, right? Nope. We weren’t even halfway through the trip. From Chichigalpa we parted ways with the tourism students, at which time I was informed that we needed to head up to Chinandega proper so that Ximena and her co-worker could quickly meet with someone. We made it into a café in Chinandega (which I learned Ximena actually owns) right before it started raining. And we were there for the next two hours. Luckily my friend Jessica who lives in Chinandega came and chatted with me at the café.
It was pretty late at that point. Maybe 7:00 PM. But we still didn’t go home. Instead we went to visit Ximena’s parents’ new house in the city (it is a nice house, can’t argue there). At this point I graciously accepted coffee from my new hosts despite my dislike for the beverage (the experience only re-affirmed my distaste for coffee).
After visiting the house we finally headed home. I got in at around 9:10 PM. But I’m not complaining (too much). Ximena and Carlos are great people and counterparts, I got to visit the Flor de Caña Factory at a concessionary price, I got to visit Chichigalpa, chat with Jessica, and meet nice people in Chinandega. Plus I had time to talk with Ximena’s students who all may be potentially starting a business in the future. It was a great afternoon, despite the fact that I got Nicanapped.