Chapter 9Scalability

Standing in line at the Hedman Alas office in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, I was anxious to leave city life and head to colonial, cosmopolitan Granada, Nicaragua. Only 275 miles away, the “direct” route would be one of my lighter travel days, but I'd booked a primera clase (first class) bus with reclining seats, snacks, moist towelettes, and even a bathroom. Most importantly, Hedman Alas doesn't allow chickens!

I had hoped to catch a bus to Leon, Nicaragua, but there were none (as well as no one who spoke English at the office). I understood we'd be departing to Granada in the morning—and very few other details.

While other Hedman Alas buses had played Spanish-speaking movies with English subtitles, within seconds of pulling out of the terminal, the conductor (bus driver) blasted an all-ABBA soundtrack that persisted throughout the voyage. Painful as it was, we were making good time, and an afternoon arrival in Granada seemed imminent.

But at the intersection of CA1 (Central American Highway 1)—or the Pan-American Highway—in Jicaro Galan, the Mamma Mia tour bus first slowed then crawled into a dusty lot. No, we hadn't broken down, but it was announced we'd be stopping for a few hours. ¿¡Que!?

Busing to Tegucigalpa a few days earlier we'd passed the same remote, rundown, rusted-out hotel—obviously closed for decades—devoid of any signs of life. Despite the bleak façade, however, the Hotel Oasis Colonial was magnificent inside, and definitely aptly named.

A full-service ...

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