First night in Nicaragua

Trip Start Oct 22, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    I arrived in Managua last night around five o´clock.  My couch surfing buddy picked me up at the airport and we went and grabbed some grub and some beers.  He´s a cool guy.  His dad was a diplomat during the seventies and eighties and Luis was actually born in Geneva but he grew up here. He´s very political and he gave me an earful of whats wrong with the US politics but also with Nicaraguan politics.  Smart guy who knows his internationnal politics.   His englsih is pretty much flawless too.  I tried to steer the conversations back into Spanish buy he would usually start speaking in English again after a few minutes. Thats okay, I´ve got plenty of time to practice Spanish.
    One word I have learned is ¨Chele¨ which is like Gringo or white boy.  I was walking around town today and people would yell ¨chele, you want a taxi?¨ I think it was partly because I had to walk through a shady part of town in order to get to the old presidential palace.  The view from the old palace was worth it though.  It sits on top of a hill and overlooks Lake Managua and you can see several of the country´s larger volcanoes in the distance. Its pretty darn hot here and it probably won´t cool off for another month or so.  Well, that´s about it.
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gayledevereaux on

Hey Rob, glad to hear you made it safe and are having a great time so far! GLD

gavinlayton on

Nicaraguan notes
Hey Rob, great to get your post. I pulled out my journal from my 1987 trip there and found a brief reference to Masaya (we tried to go there on a day when there were 'no tours'). I wish I had gotten this to you before you left, but I'll give you a couple of excerpts from notes made in between traveling and rereading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenanc:

'21 Julio, Selva Negra. This is a sort of resort, a secluded hotel with rooms and cabins aobut 10 miles outside of Matagalpa on the way to Jinotega. We came here becasue of the promise of a cloud forest ... miles of hiking trails... abundant wildlife and a 'rock bottom' inexpensive hotel.... From Matagalpa we paid a taxi $2.00 to bring us here -- slightly less than the cost of our room per night... an extraordinary place... a big lodge with a modern, formal dining room.... It has rained almost continuously.... We tried to do a little hiking, but gave up as the few trails we were able to find became streams or faded away or simply and quickly brought us back to our origins... the rain has continued steadily for hours....

'(My friend, Anthony, a Republican,) is quarrelling within himself over his feelings about this country's government and politics... he senses, as do I, the predominant unity here of the government and the governed. This particularly manifests itself in the relationship between the civilians and the military, and in fact in the very carriage of the soldiers. The soldiers here are, everywhere we've seen them, at ease. Their weapons hang casually from their slings as the soldiers stroll or relax around town or at their posts along the roadsides. It is a stark contrast to the soldiers in the other countries we've visited who, hats pulled down sinisterly so the edges just meet the tops of ther eyes, stand rigidly always surveying as they keep both hands firmly on their rifles. It's the difference of soldiers who know who the enemy is and soldiers who don't.' (Maybe that was a little simplistic.)

We didn't much like Managua. Sprawling and difficult to get around in, and still a lot of damage from the 1972 earthquake (including a church next to the National Palace). And hot as Hades in July.

So there's some recent history to compare with your travels. And didn't Daniel Noriega recently return to power in Nicaragua? Keep up the posts. It's amazing to me how little I remember of my own stories. You'll be glad to have these to look back on. Vaya con Dios.

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