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Ladislav in Nicaragua

Post your trip reports, travel experiences, and updates abroad. Or your expat story if you already live overseas. Note: To post photos and images, insert the image URL between the tags [img]and[/img] after uploading them to a third party site.

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Ladislav in Nicaragua

Postby ladislav » Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:57 am

Greetings from Managua.

A down and dirty on the place:

Basically, Managua looks very much like Tijuana or Ensenada- a long road running through town with no actual downtown area and many non-descript houses on both sides-not very exotic and not very colonial-- for the latter, I will go and see Granada as soon as I can.

The nature is nice, though- a huge freshwater lake with a nice boardwalk and people strolling around.

The food is the same as in Costa Rica- rice and beans, fried plantain bananas, grilled chicken.

The people look Mayan with some 20-30 % Spanish admixture-- small and paunchy with eagle noses. Very polite and dignified. Still unspoiled by tourism and not trying to rip one off. Many give you small gifts for nothing. I bought dinner for a taxi driver and he took me around town without charging me. Also, there is a feeling of equality here because it's a socialist country and most people are kind of working poor- there's no greed or envy in their eyes.

The women are not too pretty, some are OK looking --the ones with a Spanish admixture-- the Mayan looking ones are not- many fat rears and they are short and pudgy in general. But they are all friendly and nice to talk to.

After years in Asia, it's nice to be treated as an equal and for people to speak to me in Spanish and just talk to me as if I were a citizen. Instead of seeing "cowering" faces of people turning away from you ( because they are afraid to make a mistake in English) here it's just Spanish for everybody. No shocks, no 'Oh Americano!". Just normal treatment that one should give a fellow man.

Nicaragua has a high percentage of descendants of American slaves so you see black people here who look like Americans but they have been since at least the Civil War.

My taxi driver took me around the "Red Light district" which is basically just a long street with clubs. I saw some hookers on the streets- all looked unattractive; also, there were some trannies waiting to be picked up. Hideous creatures of the night.

Nicaragua is pretty safe; not much criminality, but today I saw cops with a dog running past me on some drug bust.

People are easy to talk to but not too curious or surprised to see you. All expect you to speak Spanish.

Prices are on par with the Dominican Republic more or less.

Will keep you posted.

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Last edited by ladislav on Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby xiongmao » Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:19 pm

Good stuff! It's nice to get some trip reports from somewhere that isn't in Asia.

A friend of my dad's was in Costa Rica for a while. Are you going there? From Facebook photos I established that it (a) had more insects than Asia (b) didn't seem to have much to do there.

By the way, what's the visa situation like in that part of the world? Can you stay for more than 30 days without too much hassle?
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Postby Hero » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:07 am

So is your school on Spring break?
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Postby ladislav » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:16 am

Yes, Hero, this is my Spring Break vacation. Today I went to Granada, a very beautiful Spanish city on a huge fresh water lake. A pleasant place with lots of colonial architecture. The people were also very gentle and polite and you can just walk up to strangers and talk to anybody. The bus trip was one hour and cost about a dollar.

Went back to Managua and shopped around some malls comparing prices- a bit higher than Manila but still at least half of US prices. Taxis don't have meters but few try to rip you off.

There does not seem to be much greed or sneakiness as what you see in Thailand or Philippines or even Costa Rica. Everything is pretty straight forward. This is a tranquil place to get away from it all and live in peace.

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Re: Ladislav in Nicaragua

Postby Jester » Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:17 am

ladislav wrote:Greetings from Managua.

A down and dirty on the place:

Basically, Managua looks very much like Tijuana or Ensenada- a long road running through town with no actual downtown area and many non-descript houses on both sides-not very exotic and not very colonial-- for the latter, I will go and see Granada as soon as I can.

The nature is nice, though- a huge freshwater lake with a nice boardwalk and people strolling around.

The food is the same as in Costa Rica- rice and beans, fried plantain bananas, grilled chicken.

The people look Mayan with some 20-30 % Spanish admixture-- small and paunchy with eagle noses. Very polite and dignified. Still unspoiled by tourism and not trying to rip one off. Many give you small gifts for nothing. I bought dinner for a taxi driver and he took me around town without charging me. Also, there is a feeling of equality here because it's a socialist country and most people are kind of working poor- there's no greed or envy in their eyes.

The women are not too pretty, some are OK looking --the ones with a Spanish admixture-- the Mayan looking ones are not- many fat rears and they are short and pudgy in general. But they are all friendly and nice to talk to.

After years in Asia, it's nice to be treated as an equal and for people to speak to me in Spanish and just talk to me as if I were a citizen. Instead of seeing "cowering" faces of people turning away from you ( because they are afraid to make a mistake in English) here it's just Spanish for everybody. No shocks, no 'Oh Americano!". Just normal treatment that one should give a fellow man.

Nicaragua has a high percentage of descendants of American slaves so you see black people here who look like Americans but they have been since at least the Civil War.

My taxi driver took me around the "Red Light district" which is basically just a long street with clubs. I saw some hookers on the streets- all looked unattractive; also, there were some trannies waiting to be picked up. Hideous creatures of the night.

Nicaragua is pretty safe; not much criminality, but today I saw cops with a dog running past me on some drug bust.

People are easy to talk to but not too curious or surprised to see you. All expect you to speak Spanish.

Prices are on par with the Dominican Republic more or less.

Will keep you posted.


This is a model for what a trip report should be.

Thank you, sir.

+1
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Postby ladislav » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:07 am

PS. The country is the size of Fla but only has 5 million people. Hence, no traffic jams, no pollution, no crowds. Really nice.
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Postby ladislav » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:16 am

Today I went to the pier area on the lake again and had me a meal but must confess that even though it cost me 550 Cordobas, it was not as good as a meal you can have for only C120 at a corner restaurant.

Here are some online photos posted by other people found in Google images of what I saw.

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Sunset came early and the whole city lit up with all kinds of decorations- in parks, on government buildings, etc. Also, most of Managua are these huge traffic circles with some weird statues in them.

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It's definitely not a place for walking. Granada was the place fit for that, here you need a car. Also, if you want Nicaraguan food, you also need someone to drive you to some working class restaurant and then, most such places close after 10.

I went to my local AM/PM and found out that they have a lot of local food in the frozen section- bubble wrapped rice and beans and plantain bananas, and frozen tamales which tool some 8 minutes to defrost in a microwave.

It is cool and fresh at night- there are few cars and no factories so you have this fragrant tropical air- and then you have these wide avenues with no traffic after 7 pm. Lovely.

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Postby ladislav » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:07 am

PS.

Philippine SIM cards don't roam in Nicaragua. They roamed in Costa Rica, the Dominican republic and everywhere else. Even Jamaica, I can't get text messages from anybody. Worse yet, Skype cannot send text messages to the Philippines- they hang there for a day with that weird spiral going around and around and then on the next day, there's a small orange circle next to them- did not go through.

Strange. Also, Google would not let me sign into my gmail and wanted to send me a confirmation code by text but I had opened my google accounts in the Philippines and could not get it- the card is not roaming.

Then, they sent me a notification that they prevented an attempt to enter into my account from a strange location.

Nasty surprises. Take heed those many of you who are planning to switch the Philippines for Nicaragua.

US and UK sim cards roam just fine.
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Postby ladislav » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:03 am

Finally decided to hit a couple of night clubs. One was in the small business district up the stairs behind some white wall. Very modern set up with two dance poles and pretty big stages. Mayan looking girls walking around on high heels and smiling.

Entrance fee is 4 dollars and then a lady'd drink is 17 dollars. If you want to take the lady out on a date, the bar fine is 188 dollars US. Yes siree!

But one thing I liked at that place was just the modest attitude of the people- everyone was very nice to me even though I decided not to pay 17 bucks for the lady's drinks.

It looked like a standard pole dancing nightclub - nice and new actually.

Next, I went to a beer bar which was enormous- almost as long as a boat- some 140 feet--all wooden interior, with screens hanging on the wall on which there were video recordings of go-go dances being played. Smart! Instead of paying girls to dance, you just have movies in which there are girls dancing on stage. There were many screens there. Then some 20-30 girls were sitting opposite those screens waiting for guys to but them beer which was 8 dollars a bottle.

A consumable entrance fee was 4 dollars- only half of it was consumable. I guess the fee to take the girls out on a date was half of the previous bar.

I am also not happy with the food/restaurant situation here. The whole city is like these residential suburban streets ending in these roundabouts after which there's yet another residential street. There are actually very few restaurants serving local food. Every time you ask taxi drivers to take you to a restaurant to eat, they end up driving for at least two-five miles. And then bring you to either a very expensive one where you will be the only client and paying 20 dollars for rice and chicken which can be had for 3 dollars or finally to some semblance of a neighborhood one.

Taxis don't have meters, and no Garmins. Many don't know fairly big hotels or clubs. You have to tell them where those places are.

There doesn't seem to be a concept of street food here- there are just neighborhood restaurants hidden in leafy thickets of trees or large mall ones which serve insipid white rice with chicken.

The only good one was at this large market and I had iguana stew with eggs but it was very far from me. I went to the biggest market the following day and there was not even one restaurant there. Again, out comes a taxi which takes you another 5 miles to some jumping off place.

I guess the deal is just remembering a few places and frequenting them all the time as good restaurants are just not part of the culture here.
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Postby rudder » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:52 am

Do you find that the more experience you have as a traveller, the shorter your traveller's high lasts when you're in a new place?
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Postby ladislav » Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:13 am

rudder wrote:Do you find that the more experience you have as a traveller, the shorter your traveller's high lasts when you're in a new place?


Yeah, I guess you can say that, it's just that I am no longer looking for highs but for relief and tranquility, a place where my heart can feel at home. And this only grows stronger with time.
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Postby ladislav » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:18 am

Just went to the city of Leon. The road went through almost African savanna like terrain- very dry, then I saw a large lake and volcano towering over it. Leon looked even older than Granada.

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The people were nice and talking to me and even women were talking to me-- much friendlier than Managua.

Two interesting things here: there is no snuff and no chewing tobacco and no place to buy it. No one knows about it. So, you lose your Scoal or Cope, you are SOL. You'll just have to buy local cigars and chew them. Cigars are called puros here.

Taxis pick up other passengers along the way-- they just ask them what direction they are going in. This keeps taxi fares cheap--one-two dollars-- it's like you are car pooling all the time. And why not?

It's hard to do so late at night so they charge you 4-8 dollars. Still cheap.

ATMs are new-looking and are good- I used my CITIBANK and you can get money in dollars and in Cordobas.
Last edited by ladislav on Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Hero » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:08 pm

Did U.S. Customs give you a hard time again when you came back?
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Postby ladislav » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:14 pm

I am still in Nicaragua.
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Postby manly5000 » Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:49 am

How would you compare Nicaragua to Mexico and Brasil?

Just curious.
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