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Nicaragua, A tale of two cities

NICARAGUA | Saturday, 8 November 2008 | Views [414]

We stopped in Nicaragua twice and what a contrast there was.  Managua, the capital is the sort of city that the locals can not even be bothered to name there streets! In order to get around you tell the taxi driver the name of one of the key monuments [often buildings that have turned derelict a number of years ago] and then say go up or down from there the required number of metres. Not a great first impression.

However, not wishing to rule out a capital city [surely all capital cities have redeeming features], we decided to keep an open mind to Managua and attempted to investigate the city. After another early night, we were up with the Quetzals [key nationalistic bird for many Central American states] and walked down to the lakefront and tourist centre!!!! Now I am an over user of exclamation marks, but needs plenty more. We walked for about 40 minutes before we felt decidedly nervous, quasi shanty-towns criss-crossed by relatively major roads. We jumped in a taxi and asked for the tourist centre. Old habits die hard.

There are a number of different ways of learning Spanish. One theoretical in a classroom in London and one from a taxi driver in central Managua. The key vocab for this day was 'Peligroso'. I knew it was not a good word, but could not quite recall its meaning, but the taxi drive kept on checking our destination and then using the word peligroso repeatedly. When we got out of the car we could FEEL that what peligroso meant -dangerous. We looked at another derelict cathedral, looked at the National Palacio (under-whelming) and got the hell out of dodge. Taxi to hotel, picked up bags and taxi to Bus station, Taxi driver charged us twice as much as he should have, but as we tried to complain we were again thrown in to the clutches of the local bus system. My bag on one bus, Nicola's on another and yet we were going to the same place. All finally rectified and bags and ourselves on one bus out of Managua - did not really matter to where, just out, but this bus was to Granada. We shall never return to Managua. One additional comment - you will have to take our word on Managua as we never felt comfortable getting our camera out and also never found anything to photograph.

Granada, in complete contrast whilst not a breath of fresh air - still humid and around 30 degrees - was lovely. Another Spanish colonial town, but a lot less developped/touristy than previous ones. Lovely tree covered central square, rehabiltated neighbourhoods with proud homeowners and a decent arty community. We only stayed one night, as Nicola could not be kept from her white sand beaches for any longer, but thoroughly enjoyed peaking behind as many of their doors as possible. So another early morning bus journey, but this time to Costa Rica and its sun, sea and sand......and much more photos.

Tags: nicaragua


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