Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America








On Tuesday I took a half day vacation because we had to go to the US embassy to get a notarized copy of my wifes passport. It seems in order to file my income taxes my wife needs to have an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) and the only thing the IRS will accept as proof of her existence is a notarized copy of her passport. Furthormore, the only notary they will accept it from is the US embassy.

The US embassy only offers notary services for US citizens from 1 to 3 PM so my plan was to get there at 1 PM. The embassy is one of the things that isn't close to where I live as it's on the opposite side of town. With that in my we made arrangements for a taxi to pick us up at 12:30. We had planned on hiring him for a few hours so we could do some other things as well. Well, in true Nicaraguan fashion our taxi driver never showed up so at 1 PM we headed out to find another.


The Trash Inspector
The Trash Inspector
Juniett Loves Novelas
Juniett Loves Novelas
Let's Go Already
Let's Go Already
Nicaraguan Gas Station
Nicaraguan Gas Station
PLC Headquarters
PLC Headquarters
Mercado Oriental
Mercado Oriental
Mercado Oriental
Mercado Oriental
Colorful Wall
Colorful Wall
Pali AKA Walmart
Pali AKA Walmart
Go West Young Man
Go West Young Man
I Said Go That Way
I Said Go That Way
PLC Clubhouse
PLC Clubhouse

We finally arrived at the embassy around 1:30 and were greeted with 2 massive lines. There's one for US residents and one for people applying for visas and both were equally long. The wait was about 40 minutes and I was thankful that is was January and not March because you have to stand outside and wait and there isn't much shade. In fact, one old man passed out on the sidewalk from the heat while we were waiting.

Every so often the security guard lets in 5 or 6 people at a time. When you finally get inside the door you go to a window and tell them what you came there for. Based on what you need they give you a laminated card and usher you onto the security desk. The security check is like the airport except they keep your stuff. They took my camera, our cell phones, my wifes umbrella, her makeup, and some other stuff and gave us a ticket so we could claim it when we left. Next, you go through a metal detector and then you go back outside into an outdoor waiting area. Since we only needed a document notarized we didn't have to wait here. Before you go into the embassy you have to go through another metal detector and then you enter an indoor waiting room.

The whole process was remarkably effecient considering it's a government operation. You give your laminated card to the guy at the counter, he punches some stuff into a little machine, and out pops a ticket with a number on it. Every line has a monitor above it and when your number comes up you go to the window and they take care of what you need done. Within a couple of minutes my number came up and I went to the window with mine and my wifes passports in hand. I should mention that the entire hour that we hand been waiting my mind had been coming up with reasons on why they wouldn't do what I needed done. Would they not believe Juniett was my wife? No, I brought our marriage certificate with me. Would they say they won't make copies of foreign passports? (Their website is a little hazy as to whether they would do this or not.) Anyway, I got to the window, told the lady what I needed, and she asked me why I needed a notarized copy of my wifes passport. I said I need to file for an ITIN and that was good enough for her. I paid the $30 fee and 5 minutes later we were out the door with the required document in hand.


Line At The US Embassy
Line At The US Embassy
No Guns Please
No Guns Please
US Embassy In Managua
US Embassy In Managua
US Embassy In Managua
US Embassy In Managua
Old Glory Flies Over Managua
Old Glory Flies Over Managua
US Embassy In Managua
US Embassy In Managua
US Embassy In Managua
US Embassy In Managua
Funky Mountain Near The Embassy
Funky Mountain Near The Embassy
It's Bigger Than It Looks
It's Bigger Than It Looks
Giant Cactus
Giant Cactus
Mercedes Benz Dealership
Mercedes Benz Dealership
The Peru Statue
The Peru Statue

On the way home we drove by Dennis Martinez Stadium which is home to Nicaragua's favorite sport, baseball. The championship of the Nicaraguan professional baseball league was played the week I was in Managua in front of sold out crowds. One day I'm going to have to get to a game because it looks like great fun. The stadium, like all things in Managua, has seen better days but it's always great fun to go to a game in a quirky, old stadium.


Baseball Stadium In Managua
Baseball Stadium In Managua
Baseball Stadium In Managua
Baseball Stadium In Managua
Baseball Stadium In Managua
Baseball Stadium In Managua
Tent City In El Centro
Tent City In El Centro
National Assembly Managua
National Assembly Managua
National Assembly Managua
National Assembly Managua

One of the challenges of doing business in a foreign market is that catchy product names that sound great in one language may have a completely different meaning in another languange. General Motors found this out first hand when they tried to sell the Chevy Nova in Latin America. The Nova was one of the best selling cars in America but GM couldn't give them away in Spanish speaking countries. It seems nobody in Detroit knew that "no va" in Spanish means "it doesn't go" which doesn't exactly make you want to run out and buy a car.

The reason I mention this is that if you look at the sign in the last photo it says "Brahva". Brahma is a beer that is brewed in Brazil and is hugely popular. Unfortunately, when they tried to introduce the beer in Nicaragua retailers weren't willing to display anything in their stores with the word Brahma plastered all over for fear of offending their customers. While to my knowledge Brahma means nothing in Portugese or Spanish for that matter it turns out that "Brahma" is a popular slang word in Nicaragua that loosely translates to "bitchy wife". Imagine the great marketing slogans they could of had like "Need a new Brahma?" or "This Brahma goes great with football."


Taking A Break
Taking A Break
Great Carne Asada Place
Great Carne Asada Place
Brahva Beer Sign
Brahva Beer Sign


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