It started with a comedy of errors. Freezing rain cancelled our flight out of Toronto to Nicaragua so there were 40-minute line-ups at the pay phones just to try to re-schedule. T was relatively new at “travel glitches” and was wringing his hands in anxiety. After many years of travel I was used to flight delays, but this long forty-minute wait was getting to me too. We finally gave it up and suddenly found direct line phones where we quickly got re-scheduled on a flight the next morning. Then it was back to the hotel overnight. The next morning we flew from Toronto to Washington on our new routing to Nicaragua but missed the connecting flight. We had to re-schedule and reroute yet again. And spend another night in a hotel, barely closer to our destination. You have to laugh at this point, or else you’ll cry (stomping your feet does not help).
The next morning we flew to Miami, changed planes, and that afternoon we were finally on a flight to Managua, Nicaragua. Luggage went ahead of us two days ago…. Hmmm.
We arrived in Managua about 8 pm, but couldn’t pick up our luggage because security was only open 8 am to 11:30 am and 2-4 pm. No use getting upset; we could get it in the morning. Who needs to brush their teeth anyway? By the time we got to Hotel Los Filipe it was 9 pm – two days later, but we were just happy to finally arrive. Next surprise – the hotel was clean and the grounds were lush and green, but T was aghast at the extremely modest cabana with a double bed and single bed that filled the entire room, and a very old tiny bathroom!
For $30 a night, we couldn’t complain, and although I thought it was barely acceptable, T was not impressed, to say the least.
Since we were starving hungry, we went wandering around the area, a pleasant experience in the soft and warm January air and a comfortable 23 degrees C. Managua was not a pretty city at all, but it seemed safe, and not much was open until we finally found several people gathered along the stools at a small booth cafe open to the street. We sat down and the owners were very friendly trying to explain in Spanish what different items were. Everyone was laughing and cheerful as we tried a few things without really knowing what we ordered. The food was scrumptious! The dishes were small appetizer-size so we ordered some new things as recommended by the owner, a round-faced jolly Nicaraguan, eager to see if we liked what he and his wife made. They rushed around making orders obviously enjoying cooking and serving their patrons. With kettles steaming, grills sizzling, and chopping boards well worn, they hustled around tossing and stirring, grilling and steaming, until proudly presenting a dish for us to try. Locals watched too, to see if we liked the food, and we had great fun as we tried to communicate in half-Spanish, half-English. The food was incredibly cheap too – less than a dollar a plate.
The next morning we negotiated a taxi to take us first to the airport to pick up our luggage, and to our surprise, it was actually there waiting for us, and then it was off to the Mamotambo Chocolate Factory (some of you may know that this is a particular weakness of mine). Well, once again, we were disappointed. The chocolate factory was closed! Great. Obviously, it was going to be that kind of trip. We agreed to a price of $50 for the driver to take us to Granada, driving through poor villages and rural countryside.
Loved this cow strutting casually across the street in the middle of a town…
Tune in next week when we get dropped off on a private uninhabited island…
P.S. The one small thing we have learned, especially when living in Mexico for 4 months, was that people who were demanding and angry when things didn’t go exactly as they had planned were treated like spoiled children. The Mexican people looked at them in astonishment as they ranted and raved, and then they pretty much ignored them, tending instead to the people who were civil and polite. We liked it.