There is no such thing as a full bus in Nicaragua. If you want to, you will get on that bus. They will fit you on somehow, the guys that man the bus will do some very impressive acrobatics to squeeze down the aisleway to collect your money.
We took a weekend trip to Esteli on Saturday morning. Twenty minutes into the trip two red plastic buckets were passed down, and my friend Rachel and I took turns switching off sitting on it in the middle of the aisleway. That is until I managed to fall asleep while perched on it. It was kind of impressive, really. I just put my head down and fell fast asleep while a crowd of passengers huddled around me passing little bags of water down the aisleway and a woman sold quesillos out of her apron, exchanging money over my head.
They put on this terrible terrible 80's-couple-of-guys-go-to-the-beach movie called Private Resort. Definitely not appropriate for all of the little kids looking up at the screen from their mom's laps. The driver and the other bus guys kept taking pictures with their cell phones, sending text messages, and passing around a drink that they sipped out of a coconut. We did make it to Esteli.
Esteli is further north of Granada, and up in the mountains. It´s a little town of cowboy boots, cigars, and an uncanny number of dentists´offices. There isn't a whole lot to do in Esteli, and we went with the intention of going directly to Miraflor, a nature reserve that is two hours away from the city. Bus service is spotty, though, so we would have been hiking in the dark, which would kind of hinder the frolicking in waterfalls, butterfly and monkey watching, and all of those other cliche touristy nature things that we were looking forward to. We opted to hang around Esteli instead, and managed to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening wandering around town looking for a place for one of my friends on the trip to buy a good pair of cowboy boots. We ended up sitting on a bench and eating candy in the park. One of the highlights of the trip was being able to sleep with a sheet on and not waking up with the power out, the fan stopped, and drenched in sweat. Esteli is in the highlands, so it is a little cooler. We heard rumours that we'd need sweaters and we all got excited and packed one. No such luck. It was still hot, just a little bit more bearable.
Sunday morning we headed out to see a waterfall just outside of town. We wandered around looking for breakfast first. Esteli opens late on Sunday mornings, and the best place to eat appeared to be a Shell Station. Reccomended: pancakes, omlettes (listed as an omleth). Not reccomended: cornflakes and milk. Unless you like yours heated up, all soggy and swimming in a big bowl of nice warm milk.
Back on the highway, we caught a taxi to the entrance of the falls, walked a little ways and then spent an hour swimming and taking cheesy photos. The water was actually chilly, and I actually got goosebumps. I forgot what those felt like.