Nicaragua map:
Down to Nicaragua
Dec 24, 2007

For years, I joked my home is where my backpack is.  But when I returned to the US, I realized that it's actually true.  The place where I grew up didn't really feel like "home" anymore.

As I left on the way to the airport, it felt good to be down to just a backpack again.  I have almost no "stuff".  It's good to know exactly where all of my few things are.

I chose to fly on Christmas day, as those flights are heavily discounted.  My flight leaves just after midnight and it's a 5 1/2 hour flight to San Salvador where I change planes for Managua.  5 1/2 hours is just not enough time to get a good night's sleep.  What a terrible way to schedule a flight.

I arrive in Managua around 8 in the morning.  I dawdle around the airport a bit, finding an ATM, and a place serving breakfast.  Then I walk right past the airport taxis as my guidebook suggested, walked right across the road, and caught a taxi for 1/4 the price of the airport taxis.

Over breakfast I decide to go straight to Leon.  I'd already decided to head up there for the New Year, but I didn't see any reason to spend any time in Managua, and after two cups of coffee I found the energy to keep on traveling.

The taxi driver is nice and friendly.  He doesn't speak a word of English and so I get my first chance to start practicing Spanish.  He drops me off at the University bus station, where I catch a minibus heading for Leon (US$1.50).  The minibus cruises through the countryside past gorgeous views of Lake Managua and several volcanoes.  The one big disappointment is the huge amount of trash along the side of the road.

Bigfoot Hostel

Bigfoot Hostel

I arrive in Leon by Noon, and walk through the sunny afternoon in search of a hostel.  "Bigfoot Backpackers Hostel" is the first one that I find.  The prices are much steeper than I expected, with dorm beds going for $5.  But I relax in a hammock for a bit.  I relax in the pool for a bit - it's a tiny pool, but it's still a pool.  And I drink a Mojito.  Then I share pictures of my travels with other backpackers, and tell them about the plans to buy an island.  Life is good. 

The hostel is having a Christmas dinner priced at a rather absurd $15.  But what the heck; these days, Christmas seems to be more about spending money, rather than being a religious holiday.  I decide to get in the spirit of spending money, and put my name on the list.  The dinner was an impressive stack of meat, meat, meat, pasta and salad. 

After dinner, I start getting into drinking lots more rum.  And I make lots of new friends - most of whom are leaving tomorrow.  That's often the nature of the traveler's life.  And that's my first day back in Nicaragua, since my last trip down here in 1999.

Leave a comment!  I'm much more inspired to write when I know people are reading. 

Interesting - Feb 14, 2008

I got caught up reading many of your stories for several hours and felt I owed you a response and "thanks" for taking the time to write.  I too have been traveling and working overseas since about 2000.  As you've written, there is a certain since of malaise a person gets after experiencing so much.  I don't particually mean in a negative way, but more in a "thicker skin" sorta way.  Maybe some of that is just age too?!

Anyway, my point is that your writing is the first that I have read a travel blog that not only captured my attention, but broke my current gaze. 

Too me, your writing is much like a good chat with an old friend where you are not trying to impress or influence.  I often wonder just who people are writing too in the back of their minds when they journal.  I'd be curious to know who you think of and if it has changed over the years?

I particually like your article on Addis Ababa.  Great detail without trying, unbais accounts of reality, and most of all; free spirted!

Keep it up and thanks again for making me remember why I fell in love with living overseas!

Chiara - Feb 27, 2008

Reading your stories makes me feel like the travelling community is around even when you dont feel it is.
Keep travelling and lovin life...  see you along the way :)

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