I’ve tried to make sense of all the pictures I took from Nicaragua, but it will probably take me at least a year to go through all of them. Looking at some of the thousands of photos has reminded me about few things people might come across in Nicaragua. So I decided to collect a small list for future travelers. What to expect when you are in Nicaragua?
1. The change rate is what it is. Sometimes 4 dollars get you something worth of 100 Cordobas. Sometimes you need 5 dollars for it.
2. The taxi rates are what they are. If you take a taxi the prices may and will vary. And some taxes double their prices after dark. Considering part 1 on my list, it makes recognizing a rip off really hard. The good thing is that not so many people try to cheat you (compared to Asia at least…), and people are sincerely helpful. It takes time for a suspicious Finnish traveler to get used to it.
3. You’re beautiful. James Blunt got this one right. In Finland, even if you are as beautiful as I am, you don’t hear it so often. But in Central America my pale western skin seems to be appreciated even when it’s red and sweaty from the heat and when my whole essence is sleazy from the trip. Interviewees weren’t afraid to tell how pretty we look. Some even wanted a picture to remember us by.
4. Buses are really handy, or not. Sometimes the trip starts right away accompanied by Rihannas voice and flashing lights. Other times you have to wait for the bus to leave for ages; they might wait for the bus to be full. And while you are waiting for the departure, expect to hear anything from a performance by a blind harmonica instrumentalist to a lecture about politics, president and gay-marriage, and to different kinds of food offerings. Anyway, the trip will be cheap.
5. Finally, but most importantly, expect to speak Spanish. I regret that I can’t because people would very much want to say something to you, and only few can speak English so my ¿Habla Inglés? -phrase didn’t get me too far. It will stay as an eternal mystery for me, what the smiling grandmas or enthusiastic children wanted to say to me. Maybe they wanted to sell me something, maybe they were making fun of me, or maybe they just wanted to say “you’re beautiful”…