Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America








I couldn't have picked a better day to leave for sunny Nicaragua than March 1st. The reason I say that is that the day before we got buried in Pittsburgh by 8 to 10 inches of snow. In fact, every time I leave I wonder why I live in this god foresaken place. Pittsburgh has arguably some of the worst weather in the world. We get less than 100 days a year of sunshine, it rains or snows all the time, and it's just generally a miserable place to live when it comes to weather. (I guess I won't be applying for a job with the tourist board...)

When I got to the airport I had something happen that was too good not to share. I was standing in line at the airport and I was wearing a baseball jersey that says "Nicaragua" across the front of it. A guy standing next to me looks at my shirt and says, "Is that a big school?" Admittedly, my brain wasn't functioning well since it was 5:30 in the morning so my response was a rather elegant, "huh?" He asked me again, "Nicaragua, is that a big school? It's in New York, right? Did you go to school there?" I responded, "Ummm, No, it's not a school, it's a country." He asked, "Are you sure it's not in New York?" At this point it was getting pretty hard not to laugh but I told him, "I'm pretty sure it's in Central America." "Ohhhh, you mean like near Kansas" he asked. "Yeah", I said, "It's a little south of Kansas." If you happen to live in Kansas and see a confused man wandering around looking for Nicaragua tell him I said hello.


Florida Keys
Florida Keys
Florida Keys
Florida Keys
Honduras Coastline
Honduras Coastline
Northern Nicaragua
Northern Nicaragua
Volcanic Crater
Volcanic Crater
Laguna De Asososca
Laguna De Asososca
US Embassy Managua
US Embassy Managua
Laguna de Tiscapa
Laguna de Tiscapa
Mall Las Americas
Mall Las Americas

On the way to our house from the airport we got our windshield washed a few times. One of the things I've always found interesting about Nicaragua is how few beggars there are considering how poor the country is. Instead, people offer whatever service they can with the resources available to them in order to try to earn money. Washing windshields is just one of the ways people try to earn money. Every intersection in Managua is a mini-marketplace with people selling fruit, vegetables, water, and even windshield wipers. I have to assume that since there is so little tourism in Nicaragua (hence, a lack of gringos with pockets full of cash) offering services is the only way to survive.

Breakfast And Slot Machines
Breakfast And Slot Machines
Child Window Washer
Child Window Washer
Child Window Washer
Child Window Washer
Child Window Washer
Child Window Washer
Fat Bald Guy
Fat Bald Guy
Fat Bald Guy
Fat Bald Guy
Car Bomb Store
Car Bomb Store?
Old Cathedral
Old Cathedral
Palacio Nacional
Palacio Nacional

On my first night back in Managua we went to the farm show. The show, called "EXPICA", is a lot like a typical American county fair. On the way we drove by one of Managua's most famous landmarks. No, I'm not talking about the National Palace or the Rueben Dario theatre, I'm talking about "el arbol" or the tree. Central America is unique in the fact that places don't have physical addresses. People give directions in reference to landmarks and el arbol is one of those landmarks. The mall, for example, might be indentified as from the tree, 2 blocks south, 1 block up (arriba). El arbol has an interesting history considering that for about 20 years there was no actual tree there. It was cut down in the 1960's yet people kept giving directions from "the tree" even though there was no actual tree there anymore. As you can imagine, this led to quite a bit of confusion so in the 1980's they planted another tree on the same spot. It remains one of the things that makes life in Managua difficult for outsiders since if you're not familiar with Managua and someone gives you directions from "the tree" it's obviously impossible to know which one of the thousands of trees in Managua they are talking about.

El Arbol
El Arbol
Lake City Fire Dept
Lake City Fire Dept
Managua Farm Show
Managua Farm Show
EXPICA
EXPICA
Water Tank Store
Water Tank Store
Tona Town
Tona Town
Nice Cows
Nice Cows
My Wife Likes Cows
My Wife Likes Cows
Seminole Indian Cows From Florida
Seminole Indian Cows From Florida
Anchor Brand Cows
Anchor Brand Cows

Here's some video from EXPICA...



Click Here For More EXPICA Photos


Google
 




© 2008 David Mayle/PuraVidaTravels.Com
All Rights Reserved