Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America








13 has always been a lucky number for me and trip number 13 to Nicaragua would be no exception. Although Avis completely screwed up my reservation and I was ready to choke the idiot behind the counter by the time we left the airport I wasn't about to let that screw up my trip. The good news was that I got a car and was able to drive away from the airport. The bad news, however, was that I hadn't even driven 100 yards when a cop dressed in a neon outfit came running out into the road to "pull me over". This is something you have to see to fully appreciate. Most of the cops in Nicaragua don't have cars or even motorcycles for that matter so they just stand by the side of the road. When they want to pull someone over they run out into the road and point at you. It's even more comical at night because they carry orange flashlights and they wear suits with reflective tape all over them. Lucky 13 came through for me, however, because for some unknown reason he just looked at my license, checked my "papers", and let me go on my way. These stops usually cost me at least $5 for some mystery infraction but not today.

Here's some video of the scariest department store logo I've ever seen...


Missing Manhole Cover
Missing Manhole Cover
Creative Marketing
Creative Marketing
Inspired By Wrestlemania
Inspired By Wrestlemania
Barrio Carlos Fonseca
Barrio Carlos Fonseca
Slight Trash Problem
Slight Trash Problem
Protesters At MetroCentro
Protesters At MetroCentro
The NFL Is Global
The NFL Is Global
Church Near Masaya
Church Near Masaya
The New Craft Center Outside Masaya
The New Craft Center Outside Masaya

Our first order of business was to take a ride to San Juan de Oriente to do some pottery shopping. We did a little exploring and we found some different stores this time. We picked up some really nice stuff. If you're not familiar with Nicaragua, shopping can be a confusing task. Most people run stores out of the front of their homes and many times it's not altogether clear if a place is a store or just someone's house. A lot of times you just have to walk from door to door looking inside to find what you're looking for. Most places don't have signs so it's pretty much a crap shoot when trying to find what you're looking for. Even if you have directions to someplace specific you more than likely will need to go door to door to find it once you get there.


Nice AK-47
Nice AK-47
Pottery Shop In San Juan de Oriente
Pottery Shop In San Juan de Oriente
Cheese Melters
Cheese Melters
San Juan de Oriente
San Juan de Oriente
San Juan de Oriente
San Juan de Oriente
More Pottery Shops
More Pottery Shops
Juniett Making The Deal
Juniett Making The Deal
One Of Many Pottery Shops
One Of Many Pottery Shops
The Security Guard
The Security Guard
The Artist Signing Her Work
The Artist Signing Her Work
Beautiful Pottery
Beautiful Pottery
Nice Stuff Here
Nice Stuff Here
Juniett Studies The Pottery
Juniett Studies The Pottery
While I Take Pictures
While I Take Pictures
The Church
The Church
They Have AA
They Have AA
The Eskimo Man Jack-Knifed
The Eskimo Man Jack-Knifed
Daniel And His Wife Were Here
Daniel And His Wife Were Here

For the past year the government has been building a sort of mall for the crafts people from Masaya, Catarina, San Juan de Oriente, and Masatepe that is a tribute to how socialists operate and why they fail at everything they try. It's finally finished and it's filled with "stores" that have either nothing to sell or have stuff that's ridiculously overpriced. Furthermore, the place seems to be run by people that don't seem very interested in making a sale. (I tried to buy a bottle of water and no one had change for 20 Cordobas ($1))

You see, when a capitalist builds a mall they set the rent and anyone who wants space fills out a rental agreement and opens a store. The merchant has a vested interest in succeeding (i.e. providing goods and services that people want and are willing to pay for) because he's got to invest in goods for his store and needs to sell enough merchandise to pay the rent. If the store fails, the mall owner kicks the store out and replaces them with someone that can pay the rent because the mall owner has an interest in seeing that people pay the rent because his capital is invested in the mall. Furthermore, the consumer has an incentive to visit the mall because it is filled with stores offering things they want at prices they will buy them at. This thing called "incentive" is what socialists can't quite seem to grasp.

When socialists build a mall no one has a stake in anything. The government "pays for" the mall by stealing the money from the people through taxes. The government has no incentive in seeing that the mall is profitable because if they need more money to run it they'll just steal more from the people. In order to get a spot in the new mall you have to submit an application to your local CPC (Citizen's Power Council) and if you have been a loyal Sandinista you get a spot in the new mall. No one cares if you have anything worth selling, have any ability to pay rent, etc. As a matter of fact, since your spot in the mall is a reward for being a good Sandinista, paying rent is optional as well. Since the people collecting the rent are party hacks and have no financial stake in the success of the mall they could care less if you ever pay your rent or offer anything for sale that people actually want. All they care about is if you keep pulling the lever for the black and red party. This is how you end up with a beautiful new mall filled with stores with nothing in them. As a customer, I certainly have no incentive to return to this mall since they didn't offer anything of value to me. So tell me, how exactly is socialism a better system than capitalism?


Pueblos Blancos
Pueblos Blancos
Pueblos Blancos
Pueblos Blancos
They Have Hammocks
They Have Hammocks
Pretty Spot
Pretty Spot
Pueblos Blancos
Pueblos Blancos
Not Real Crowded Today
Not Real Crowded Today
Pueblos Blancos
Pueblos Blancos
Altar For Worshipping Daniel
Altar For Worshipping Daniel
Nice Gardens
Nice Gardens
Sexy Souveneirs
Sexy Souveneirs


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