Just a quick entry...

Trip Start Jul 21, 2012
Trip End Aug 09, 2012

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Just a quick entry to put a pin in the travelling map.

Spent yesterday recovering from the volcano experience - had a long sleep and woke feeling even more dreadful.  Achey and fatigued.  Had a shower then fell back into bed for a while.  At about 5pm, I finally dragged myself out of bed and down the road and had a big plate of chicken, chips and rice and two big glasses of lemonade.  This helped slightly, but I still had a throbbing headache, aches, pains and a rather upset tummy (not food related, more like Paula Radcliffe marathon over exertion I think).  I popped into the hostel briefly to say hi to the folk I'd been up the volcano with and to Katerina, a nice English girl who I'd chatted to previously.  They were all off to the cinema but I declined the invite and took to my bed.  I was fast asleep by about 8pm and has a lovely deep kip.

This morning I awoke bright and early and took down a big bag of stinky, sweat filled clothes to be laundered.  I love laundry services - you deposit stink clothes and get back lovely, neatly folded pleasantly smelling clothes in their place.  Sometimes they even come back pressed and starched and vacuum sealed in plastic bags.  After handing over my laundry bag, I grabbed a large mug of coffee and retreated back to my room for some blog writing and a shower.  I repacked my rucksack into its orderly state.  I am much better at rucksack keeping than I am at housekeeping or classroom tidiness - it is my forte in the cleanliness department.

I checked out and paid up my dues, including a nice tip for the volcano tour then went out to the supermarket.  On the way to the volcano, one pocket of my rucksack was undone and I lost that vital item, the deodorant.  By this point I was getting a bit whiffy, so brought a new bottle.  To settle my tummy, I also got some yogurt then on my way out purchased 6 bananas from the banana seller over the road for a whole 7 cordorbes (about 20p).  I returned to the hostel, applied the deodorant and ate some of the nanas and chilled for a while waiting for my laundry to be returned.

Clothes cleaned, I repacked my bag, secured my possessions (I travel with my money, cards and copies of my passport well distributed, some in my rucksack, some in my hand bag and some in my money belt in the hope that if I am robbed in transit, they don't get their hands on all 3) and started off on a walk to the bus station.  It is about 8 blocks from the hostel, so before long I had got tired and hot and hailed a taxi to take me the rest of the way.  Leon taxis seemed very fair - all charged me 20 cordorbes with no attempt to overcharge.  

I boarded a full air conditioned van to Managua and voyaged back,  I hadn't meant to back track to Managua and certainly didn't want to spend the night there, but the bus to Guatemala via Leon was full when I booked tickets so I had no choice.  I arrived at about 4pm in hot Managua and was quickly hustled off the bus by taxi drivers.  A particularly persistent one was vying for my custom.  He wanted $5 fair so I laughed in his face and bartered him down to $C60, a more reasonable fare.  Firstly he took me to Managua backpackers even though I had clearly said 'Tica Bus' and he had repeated this to me.  He doubled back and took me to the road with Tica bus on it and hustled me into his hostel of choice, presumeably the one he gets commission for.  I looked at the room and dismissed it, more because I didn't like the way I was herded in there than anything else - the room looked okay.  I tried Lonely Planet's number one and number 2 choice of roost....both were full.  On attempt number 3 I got lucky and am rested down in a joint called Casa Vanegas in a fairly bare room with a big bed but a thin foam mattress, a large fan and a telly.  The door has a nice lock and the building had fortress railings to keep out banditos so it feels safe enough.  I have a minute long walk to do at 4.30am down the road to the bus station which will be scary.  

Today has been the only experience in Nicaragua when it has felt like someone was trying to rip me off for being a gringo.  In Peru and Bolivia there was definitely a two-tier system, gringo price and local price, but that doesn't seem to be the way here, perhaps because tourism is relatively unimportant to the Nicaraguan economy.    It doesn't have the interesting indigenous culture of Peru and Bolivia though - I hope to see a bit more of this in Guatemala and plan to do some cultural visits.  If I had more time then I would voyage east and try to see some of the more remote parts of Nicaragua and the caribbean coast.  A week has been enough for a taster though - I can tick off forests, monkeys and volcanoes from my to do list!  The voyage goes on....
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