Dec
23
2008
1

Arrival in Nicaragua

I had a bit of a scare when I tried to leave El Salvador – all the buses were booked out for 24 hours! We even went to the station at 3am to try to catch it, but no luck. Fortunately I was able to get out the next day.
I took a first-class bus that was nice because they fed us and arranged all the border crossings.

Ode to Sandinistas

Ode to Sandinistas

Here I am in Managua (the capital of Nicaragua), and it kind of sucks. The city is spread out, there doesn’t seem to be a downtown or focus. The cheap hotels (where I’m staying) are in a residential area that’s pretty boring. There is a modern shopping mall and strip if I want to feel like I’m back home. I tried going to see the few sights there are, and the entire area was cordoned off by the police.

Normally I take warnings with a grain of salt, since it’s usually the middle class being unnecessarily scared of the lower class (just like in the States), but here I’m heeding the warnings. There is a feeling of unrest in the air. Lots of touts and beggars hassling. The people in the shops and hotels are friendly, though.

The cable TV in the hotel is coming from some strange satellite connection in America – I get local news in both New York and Washington – two places I used to live!

I don’t know if it’s the lack of crass commercialism, the weather I’m not used to this time of year or what, but it doesn’t feel much like Christmas.
The cold I’ve had for the last 10 days has now turned into a throat infection. Excellent.

homeless camps

homeless camps

Nicaraguans don’t talk rapid-fire the way the Hondurans and Salvadorans do, thank Dios. [Listen to George speak, and understand why I don’t have a prayer of understanding them.]
But they do their part to confuse me by slurring, mumbling and dropping most consonants. Guatemalans are still the most well-spoken people I’ve run across yet. No wonder Spaniards think most Latinos are hicks. Listening to a Spaniard speak the language is completely different – so refined, using complex phrases and accurate pronunciation.

Adding to my displeasure here, I just got a call from Rissie that her flight missed the connection, so she’s stuck in Atlanta until tomorrow (she was supposed to land tonight). Which means she’ll be landing on Xmas eve. I’m going to see if we can go straight from the airport to Granada, so we don’t have to spend the night in Managua.

I have a new phone number that will be good for the next couple of weeks while I’m in Nicaragua: +505 994 5832. It appears I can’t receive international texts, damn.

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