Sunday, July 28, 2013

Night in Nicaragua

This whole Nicaragua “service trip” situation has me a bit worried. Lydia has already been over there a week, and I’m getting mixed reviews. On one hand it sounds like she is having some cool experiences and is able to spend quality time working for and interacting with the locals. On the other hand she’s giving me the impression that there is a lot of down time, and she asked me to bring some more books for her to read. There seems to be a lot of idle time at the base camp area they are staying at and not a lot of opportunity to leave. I am anticipating a situation where I am restlessly wanting to go out and see things, but also not wanting to seem like a jerk who is not a team player.

As usual I bought a guide book for Nicaragua. I bought it in the face of the possibility I will simply be reading about cool things that I will not be allowed to do. The book doesn’t emphasize the capital, Managua (where I’ll be staying), very much at all. None of the “top ten things to do” in Nicaragua is in this city. Not only is there maybe not a ton to see, but some of the sights are deemed to be unsafe for travelers to go to even in the daytime. So security is a concern on top of other issues.

So I am trying to manage my expectations. It’s not something I’m used to doing before going to a new country, that’s for certain. I have heard there are some cool excursions that the group goes on that sound cool. I heard that there is a possible trip to Granada, which is especially exciting. My guidebook is much more upbeat about Granada, and its history alone is pretty interesting. It’s one of those old school Spanish port towns where all the pirate fun used to go down. Well it’s about plane boarding time.

I like taking pictures out of plane windows a whole lot.


I’m feeling much better about the trip now that it has actually started. I had that familiar rush of kid in a candy store giddiness that I get when I first arrive someplace. Being Latin America, I saw a few hints of trips past. All the shops and houses are fortified like a zombie outbreak is in progress. Everything is fenced in and windows barred. There are armed guards at the gates of our little compound.

Traffic is pretty crazy. The roads around the airport weren't that bad but our compound is out in the sticks. The roads here are dirt and really bumpy and narrow. Just like in Colombia they will slow down and honk when approaching a blind corner. Stop signs are for the weak. I've seen a few of those little tuk-tuk taxis that look so cool but I always avoid actually riding in.

My understanding is that there is a supermarket visit in our near future. That’s pretty exciting.

From what I could see from the drive from the airport, there are lots of cool roundabouts in town. Many of the roundabout centers are lit up colorfully, almost Christmas-like. I even saw a few of the especially crazy ones from the plane.

We are staying at a school/hospital charity place called Amos Samaritano. It's pretty nice. There are lizards everywhere that make this cool chirping sound at night.

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