Ultimo Dia

Up early for our final day in Granada and the drive to Managua.  It turns out we totally forgot to go to the top of this bell tower and look at an awesome view.  We took care of that first thing this morning.

As per usual, Carlos provided the ride to Managua, during which we particularly enjoyed his playing the drum fills to “Winds of Change” by The Scorpions on the steering wheel.  It’s worth pointing out that much like 99.9% of the people we interacted with in Nicaragua, Carlos was amazingly friendly and helpful.  We’re more than a little sad we didn’t get a picture with him before we left.

Now for a word about Managua.  Due to its reputation for crime and sprawl, most people seem to avoid it altogether, preferring to drive to the airport from Granada or wherever else they are.  Dave had a 7:00AM flight so that wasn’t an option for us.  And we like cities so we were curious.

Our first stop was The Hotel Aloha, our pineapple-themed bed and breakfast complete with weird Ukrainians smoking cigarettes in a cloud of bug spray in the courtyard.

Because we like to walk, we exited the front of the hotel bound for the sights but only made it as far as the mall food court across the street before returning and asking for taxi.  It turns out there’s a lot of traffic in Managua.  And heat. And not many sidewalks. And a Kellie groper.

The taxi, on the other hand, was air conditioned and came with a tour of the city in Spanish. Our Spanish is sort of terrible but we did manage to learn quite a bit.  First stop was Laguna de Tiscapa, a hilltop crater lake in the center of the city.  There’s even a horribly frightening zip line that we were WAY too afraid to touch.

The hill was also the home of the elaborate presidential compound of Dictator Anatasio Somoza who’s forty-year rule was toppled by the Sandinista revolution in 1979. Unlike relatively un-politicized Granada, Managua is filled with monuments to the revolution, including pictures and statues of Augusto Sandino; tombs of various revolutionary leaders and heroes; signs pointing to good works currently in progress under the rule of Daniel Ortega; and even a statue of a worker holding a pick axe in one hand and pointing an AK-47 at the sky with the other. In addition to the revolution, the 70s also saw most of city destroyed by an earthquake, including the cathedral which still stands crooked and empty today.

After returning to the hotel full of revolutionary spirit, we went to a place called Woody’s Sports Bar to eat poppers and watch the Phillies game.  Just kidding, we didn’t eat poppers.

After a swell dinner of Peruvian food we went home to say our good-byes to Dave, who seemed really, really sick of us.

Flying home at noon tomorrow.  We’ll reflect a bit and post again soon.  And we totally forgot to tell you about the bat that died on the floor of our house in Granada.  There was bat blood and bat shit everywhere!

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