Yesterday Alex and I departed for Nicaragua. We’re now in Granada and I have to say it has been a nothing but interesting journey so far! First of all we decided to take the cheaper route and use the local buses to get here. What this means is that the bus took us to the frontera (border) and then it was up to us to cross it and get all the paper work done. Ohhhh boy was that interesting! I went into it thinking that just because Alex is from Costa Rica and speaks fluent Spanish that it would be super easy, that was not the case. He’d never done it before and all of a sudden I was the one with experience. It’s just so hard at borders because everyone attacks and wants you to use their services. We exchanged some money and totally got ripped off, I knew that we should only do it with the “legal” exchangers, the ones with badges, but at the time with everyone yelling at us and us being really tired we just said the hell with it and went…. 20,000 colones is about $40, 21 cordobas (the Nica currency) is equal to one dollar. We exchanged 20,000 colones and got 420 cordobas back….thats about $20. So we basically got ripped off by half. That sucked, but whats done is done.
Then we went through immigration and customs, all the while having two taxi drivers following us around, which went really smoothly and quickly. I for some reason always get really nervous crossing boarders. But it was fine! Alex said that the immigration in the States should be as easy as it is in Nicaragua! So then we find out that we got in about ½ after the last bus to Granada left. It was dark and we were confused and tired and there were two very persistent “taxi” drivers hounding us. We eventually decided to go with one of them and he took us all the way to Granada. He ended up being really cool and gave us his number if we ever need anything. But the whole ride up here I was nervous he was gonna highjack us or something ridiculous like that. Oh and I forgot to mention that we had to walk across the boarder. From where the bus left us in Costa Rica it’s a 1 ½ kilometer walk to the immigration post in Nicaragua. Makes for an interesting walk though!
Alls well and good now. We found what seems like the last double bed room in Granada, thanks to a local who brought us around to all the hotels, by about 10:30 at night. We went out to the main strip after to get some food. I had an amazing papaya and milk batido (it’s like a yummy smoothy) and Alex ordered a plate of rice with vegetables. The plate cost $4 and it was huuuuuge! We didn’t eat it all and then this little boy came up to us from the street and asked if he could have it. We weren’t going to bring it home so I said yes. After it got packed up we left to find him. I just kind of put my hand out to give it to him and another little boy grabbed it from me. I said it was for the other one and just kinda left. When I looked back they were fighting over it, like for real fighting. I felt bad but I figured its better to get it into one of their stomachs than have it be thrown away. And that concludes our first exciting day in Nicaragua, only 60 more hours here! (I have to be out of the country from 72 hours to renew my visa.)