Boat, Bus, Taxi, Bus, Bus Another Bus

Trip Start Dec 17, 2007
Trip End Jan 26, 2008

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America behind Haiti so things will be very basic here.  The last two days involved extensive 12 hour travel days with a combination of luxury buses, taxis, boats, chicken buses and to say the least it was hard work.  Last night I was thinking about flying to San Jose but I decided to put myself up in a 4 star hotel for 2 nights instead.  The group is complaining that GAP is a rip off with putting the group in a $13 a night hotel last night... $6.50 per person which is a bit steep given that the tour costs around $70 a night. 

The hotel last night was absolutely miserable.  Holes in the walls meant that mosquitoes had a feast... a bit worrying given that Iīm not on malaria tablets and malaria is rife on Utilia Island.  To make things worse, the electricity went off during the night, my sheets smelt like piss and my room mate got in at 3am, drunk and complaining of not having scored with another girl on the tour, and got up at 7am scuttling around for his passport.  Given that Iīve got a much more generous budget than the others, I basically said stuff it and have since put myself up in a luxurious 4 star hotel for $100 a night... all the modern conveniences including air con, a swimming pool, cable tv and a fantastic bed.  I donīt give a toss about being viewed a snob because Iīve done the budget thing and am over it...

Grenada is a beautiful city but nowhere as beautiful as Antigua... it is a colonial town with a main square and friendly Nicaraguan locals.  I think Iīve done the right thing in deviating from the tourīs accommodation because I want to enjoy this city in relative comfort... I had a huge chat with Elaine about her observations about me being on the wrong tour... this one is roam, budget.  The thing is that Gap doesnīt offer any comfort or original tours in Central America.  Elaineīs observation is damn accurate... my days of hostelling and roughing it are officially over, past this tour.  The tour guide, Susi warned us about the rough hotels in Nicaragua but to put us up in such squalour is enough to turn anyone off, even the budget travellers.

Anyway, the travel to Grenada from Utila was very difficult.  I havenīt really done 2 days x 12 hours of rough bus travel.  Yesterday we travelled on 5 buses.  Getting across the Honduran, Nicaraguan border was ok.  Susi is absolutely terrific in showing maybe a bit too much concern.  The chicken buses were ok with great music and friendly locals but very narrow seats... so much that your knees are right up the next personīs seat.

Louise and I went to a very typical Nicaraguan nightclub last night.  We got talking to a group of 5 Nicaraguan men who didnīt speak a word of English.  One of them hooked up with Louise... not bad given that sheīs 58 and the Nicaraguan guy was about 30.  They ended up dancing salsa whilst the others insisted on me buying them more beer which I passed on... I acted drunk and tired and when Louise had enough we left.  The guyīs wife ended up coming up to Louise and pushing her out the way... we had no idea that he was hitched.

We have two more nights in Grenada before moving on to another island, Otape for a cultural experience.  It will be nice having this bit of luxury before going back to the basic $10 a night accommodation!  Iīve been told that when we get to Costa Rica things will change to the better.
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