Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America








Over the next few days the makeshift fire pit in the back yard got quite a work out. Like I said before, there's never a shortage of food at my house in Managua. Most of the women seem to do nothing but cook from sun up to sundown. None of the food comes in nice shrink wrapped packages that you throw in the microwave for 2 minutes either. Everything is made from scratch. That explains why it takes so long to make everything but it also explains why everything tastes so good.


Chelsea Making Lunch
Chelsea Making Lunch
Greber Helps Too
Greber Helps Too
Cooking Plantains
Cooking Plantains
Making Frescos
Making Frescos
Juniett Relaxing
Juniett Relaxing
I Join In
I Join In

I had another first on this trip and it was one I wish I wouldn't have had. On Monday night I wasn't feeling well and by Tuesday morning I thought I was going to die. My wife called to the doctor and to my surprise he arrived at our house about 20 minutes later to check me out. At first he thought I might have Dengue which is a disease similar to malaria that's quite common in Nicaragua. It's also deadly if not treated promptly. Thankfully, I only had a really bad case of the flu but it still kept me laid up in bed for the better part of 3 days. By the way, the cost of the housecall was $20.

On Friday when I was feeling better we went to enroll Juniett in school. Here's some food for thought if you're thinking about coming to Nicaragua and you think you're going to be able to make a living teaching English. My wifes class is 2 hours a night for 6 weeks for a total of 60 hours. The cost of the course is $65 so she is paying a little more than $1/hour. Multiply that by the 12 students in the course and considering the school is in business to make money (I think they are anyway) that doesn't leave a whole lot to pay the teacher.


Where Did The Baby Come From
Where Did The Baby Come From
My Prescriptions
My Prescriptions
Class Schedule
Class Schedule
Juniett's School
Juniett's School
Mariachi's In Bello Horizonte
Mariachi's In Bello Horizonte
Trying To Gnaw My Thumb Off
Trying To Gnaw My Thumb Off

By Saturday I was tired of calling our dog Princessa so I started calling her "lil' asesino" which is little killer in Spanish. My wife hates it but her family thinks it's hysterical. Alas, I finally found a joke that worked in Spanish. I've also learned that the tiled-floor homes in Nicaragua are a dream when house training a puppy. When the dog has an accident all you do is grab the mop and the problems solved.


Lil' Asesino
Lil' Asesino
Lil' Asesino
Lil' Asesino
Stop Calling My Dog Killer
Stop Calling My Dog Killer

On my 8th trip to Nicaragua I finally saw a circus. I believe the "Circo Libertad" is mentioned in the book "The Death of Ben Linder" but I don't have a copy in front of me as I write this so I'm not positive it's the same one. The reason I bring up the book is that it's one of the few books I've read about Nicaragua that doesn't mesh at all with what I know about the people of Nicaragua. It describes a people yearning to escape the yoke of dictatorship and replace it with a Marxist utopia. The truth is that the people DID want to get rid of the Somozas (and for good reason) but the last thing they wanted in their place was another dictatorship. The absolute last thing they wanted was to live in a Marxist state where the state would replace God and family and collectivize private property. God, family, and farming is what Nicaragua is all about and by attacking all 3 the Sandinista's were doomed to failure from day 1 in my humble opinion.


Circus Libertad
Circus Libertad
Circus Libertad
Circus Libertad
Funky Statue
Funky Statue

I guess one way of keeping costs down for medical care is to just let you do it yourself. Every month my wife has to get a shot so she goes to the pharmacy and buys the medicine which they give her conveniently pre-loaded in a syringe with a needle. I guess if you're brave you can just give yourself the injection but my wife takes the needle to the doctor and he gives her the actual shot. I'm not sure what you actually need a prescription for in Nicaragua or if you need one at all for that matter. For the most part medicine is very cheap here but don't expect to find the same brands as in the USA.


No We're Not Junkies
No We're Not Junkies
Need A Shot
Need A Shot
Las Americas Mall
Las Americas Mall

My new house is conveniently located only a few blocks from the Las Americas mall. Don't expect to find Nordstrom's or Macy's here. Most of the stores are one's that can only be found in Nicaragua. The fashions are about 3 or 4 years out of style, electronics are exhorbitantly priced, and the selection of stores is sorely lacking. About a third of the storerooms are empty reflecting the general state of malaise the Nicaraguan economy is in. All that can be forgiven, however, because the food court is great. Not only do the have Eskimo ice cream but they also have great bratwursts. In addition to Subway, Burger King, and Quizno's there are numerous local places with traditional Nicaraguan fare that are outstanding.

The malls in Managua have to work a lot harder to bring in paying customers than their US counterparts. As a result they have tons of activities for kids like train rides and rock-climbing walls. They also have mascots and clowns that make balloon animals for the kids. At night they have concerts, game shows, poetry reading, and just about anything else you can think of that might draw in a few paying customers.

I took a video walking through our neighborhood on the way to the mall. Our neighborhood is home to a lot of politicians and one very famous Nicauguan, Tomás Borge. Borge is the last living founding member of the Sandinistas. Borge was imprisoned and tortured by the Somoza's for 3 years before escaping. (For a year he was kept in a dark cell completely blindfolded) He is widely considered to be the "brains" behind the frente's eventual overthrow of the Somoza's. He probably would have been President instead of Daniel Ortega except for the fact that he was so devious that none of the other Sandinista commandante's trusted him. Instead, he was made the interior minister where he controlled the police force and his own private army. Borge, even though he had suffered at the hands of torturers himself, is alledged to have used similar methods on opponents of the Sandinista's. Today he is Nicaragua's ambassador to Peru but remains a powerful figure in the FSLN. His house is guarded 24 hours a day by numerous AK-47 wielding police officers so it's obvious he still has some enemies. Borge also is a hardline communist and a firm believer in state control of everything. He shutdown radio stations that didn't glorify the Sandinista's, forced all newspapers to submit their articles to his minions for approval before publication, and improsoned those that didn't toe the party line. As I stroll past his machine gun toting body guards every day I often chuckle to myself wondering how Borge would react if he knew I was the guy that writes this website and I live a block away from him. 20 years ago he had the power to have me thrown in jail and would have done it in a heartbeat...


Las Americas Mall
Las Americas Mall
View From The Mall
View From The Mall
They Have Eskimo Here
They Have Eskimo Here
And Bratwursts
And Bratwursts
Crowns Work In Any Language
Crowns Work In Any Language
Food Court
Food Court
Mall Mascot
Mall Mascot
Chelsea Makes A Friend
Chelsea Makes A Friend
Dangerous & Fun Activities
Dangerous & Fun Activities
Outdoor Cafe
Outdoor Cafe
Ready To Launch
Ready To Launch
Liftoff
Liftoff

On Saturday we had to take our new dog to the vet for a checkup. I was dreading this because frankly a lot of the time I forget where I am. At home a trip to the vet usually costs a small fortune but not in Managua. We walked to the vets office (I swear that everything in Managua seems like it's only a couple of blocks from my house) and 10 minutes later we were on our way home. The dog got a checkup, 2 shots, a new dog dish, and a little collar with bells on it all for the tidy sum of $9. With what some vets charge in the states these days it might be worth it to fly your dog here for medical care.

CIA Spy Plane
CIA Spy Plane
The Vets Office
The Vets Office
Nervous Mother
Nervous Mother
The Veteranarian
The Veteranarian


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