Welcome to Nicaragua! Last weekend I covered my second month in Costa Rica, and now we move north for my last month in Central America.
Nicaragua! Just saying the name of this small, beautiful country makes me feel lighter. I loved my time here, and not just because my depression had eased considerably. For one thing, it’s much cheaper than Costa Rica, which is one of Central America’s costliest destinations. Another difference is that I was finally on my own, completely off my leash, if you will, since I knew many friends in Costa Rica, and in Nicaragua knew no one beforehand. You’d think that would have made things more difficult, but it turned out to be exactly what pulled me out of my shell.
Yes, it’s impoverished. Yes, the roads are rough, the transportation is abysmal, and the garbage is all burned in the street. But these are all generalities. And anything that is initially perceived as negative winds up being just one of the charms you look back on and smile about.
On my first day in Nicaragua, I was a tad shell-shocked and exhausted. I had successfully crossed the border from Costa Rica a.) on foot and b.) alone. Despite watching YouTube videos on how to handle the crossing with the right forms, it was still a nightmare. So when I arrived in the colonial city of Granada after hours of walking back and forth, bus rides, and searching for my hostel, all I wanted was something, anything vegetarian to eat. This is what I ended up with, at long last:
Looks all right, doesn’t it? But in reality, it was disgusting. Raw onions, tomato, shredded lettuce…I’m not sure what that greenish thing is, and the bread, like much of the bread products I consumed on this trip, was kind of flavorless. But devour it I did, because I was that hungry! Oh, the things we do while on the road…
I spent several lovely nights at the Bearded Monkey Hostel, which Google has just informed me has taken a turn for the worse (no more bar or restaurant? Bed bugs??), unfortunately. At least I was there when the food was still good:
It was in Granada that I found my long-lost love, pizza, after we’d had an awful two month separation. Luckily, the reunion was a happy one.
One of the best things about being in a tropical country is getting to eat and drink fresh coconut. None of this silly coconut water out of a carton nonsense! I walked right up to a couple and their food cart, handed over my córdobas, and watched as a machete was taken to my unsuspecting coconut and a straw was stuck in the newly formed hole. Voilà!
I bet you’ve always wondered what a Nicaraguan ice cream sundae looks like. Wonder no longer, my friends!
Here is where I leave you hanging, for there was so much splendor in the second half of my Nicaragua stay that I need a whole other post to tell you about it. Coming up in the next travel retrospective: Lake Nicaragua’s island of Ometepe!
If you don’t want to wait until next weekend for more of these travel photos, here’s the Nicaragua set on Flickr.
Thanks for stopping by, everyone 🙂
To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world. — Freya Stark