Trip Start Dec 08, 2004
Trip End Dec 07, 2005

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Sunday, April 17, 2005

We arrived in Nicaragua two days ago. Its in the high 90s both in temperature and humidity! The people seem very warm and open, tourism is on the small scale here, just the way we like it.

At the border crossing between Honduras and Nica we were stung like a pare of naked beekeepers covered in honey. The money changers have it down to a fine art, they crowd round you and offer you various rates for changing your monies. We were so hot and desperate for some water we just wanted to get it done as quickly as possible, not a good combination when money changing is involved! Needless to say we got a terrible exchange rate and lost around $30 US. Not the end of the world, especially with the current pound to dollar rate, but annoying nonetheless.

The thing that annoyed me more was this is the first time we have been ripped off in over four months of travelling. In my opinion, Central America has an unjustified reputation for scandals, thievery and rip off merchants, most of the people are extremely honest and helpful and will even take a loss on items sometimes to save face. This is especially the case when you get away from the main tourist trail of Mexico and Guatemala. Most items are very fairly priced and barterring really isnt necessary or expected. Just remember that bargaining for a dollar or two will make very little difference to you, but it can mean the difference between a family eating breakfast or not the next morning.

Were staying in the colonial town of Leon, its similar to Antigua in Guatemala without the American tourists dressed in long white socks with $4000 cameras strung round their necks, which can only be a good thing!

Found a great little hostal, where we finally got our clothes laundered after 3 long hot weeks in Honduras. Im sure you can imagine the aromas that wafted from our backpacks every time we opened them! We also managed to buy a new outfit each (trousers and top) for the lofty sum of 160 Cordobas (about 4 GB Pounds!). Now we have a few more options for hot weather clothing, 3 t-shirts for 3 weeks, yes I know what youre thinking!

Tash is getting some clothes made up tomorrow by a very talented seamstress we met at our hostal (La Casona) and then we plan to move on.

Our rough plan, for anyone currently in Nica and for those keeping up with our travels is to visit Managua, Masaya, Granada, San Jorge, Isla de Ometepe, San Juan del Sur and then into Costa Rica.

Thats about it from us, hope everyone is well at home and abroad, adios amigos.

PS We saw an amazing bus tearing round the town last night, its a topless long american school bus, decorated in all kinds of lights, theres a bar and live music on board and they tour round the town in the early evenings. So, guess what were doing tonight?

Well actually were staying in to make chicken soup and have an early night, you can only do so much in this heat!
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