Hola amigos!! It is I, Lynn-see (apparently the only way to pronounce my name so Spanish speakers understand me). Well, I am so very pleased to say that Day 3 has gone one million times smoother than days 1 and 2 (thank goodness!!) and actually smoother than either Ryan or I ever truly expected. We arrived at the airport in Managua around 9:30 this morning, August 7, and made our way through customs, paid our $20 entrance fee and were on our merry way. We made a quick stop in to the movistar kiosk just inside the departures area of the airport to get a SIM card for our cell phone and add some minutes. This ended up taking longer than anticipated as neither of the women working there spoke any English at all. Luckily there was a helpful, although pestering, taxi guy who helped translate the things Ryan couldn´t. While standing there we were approached by two kids begging for money – I was actually a little offended since the were both wearing clothes that were nicer than mine and seemed quite well fed by the looks of them. Why do they have to do that? Anyway, I digress.
Once the cell phone transaction was complete, $12 USD and 20 minutes worth of minutes later (FYI Ryan believes this to be a total rip-off, time will tell), we headed out of the airport. We were quickly approached by a mass number of taxi drivers vying for our few dollars, but it was Luis who won us over offering a cheaper fare (the cab drivers at the airport are vultures, go to the guys across the street or the ones at the close by Best Western, they´ll knock about $5 USD off the price).
Luis was fabulous, his car was not. We were amazed when after the sixth try it started. But once it did, and once he loaded a bit of gas into the tank (with the car running…?) we took off for the UCA (Universidad) to catch a minibus shuttle to Managua.
In Leon we are staying at the Tortuga Balooda. It is a bit off the beaten path compared to some of the more central hostals, but it´s not a far walk to everything downtown and seems really safe. We arrived and settled into our room around noon, and voted to take a nap over finding lunch. Napping is hard here – it is so hot and so humid, you sweat constantly and the newest discovery is that your feet and ankles swell to the point of discomfort. Boo. Meanwhile, Leon is supposed to be the hottest area we will be visiting, so we figure if we can get through the heat here we can do anything.
After our nap we went for a walk to hunt down dinner and wander a bit to find some of the tour companies and other hostals.
On our way we found several cathedrals and took pictures while listening in on the services (the nice thing about it being Sunday, granted it´s all in Spanish so we didn´t stay long). We ate, it was tasty, not quite the Canadian sized portions we´re used to, but that´s probably a good thing. Then found a grocery store where we picked up a few snacks to tide us over in between meals for the next couple days.
As the day ended and it began getting dark we made our way back to our hostal and enjoyed a cool Coke (in a glass bottle, so retro!!) while sitting debating our day tomorrow. It seems that we have booked reservations to do volcano sandboarding tomorrow at Cerro Negro. We´ll tell you all about it once we survive it…I´m pretty sure the boarding itself will be fine…it´s getting to the top of the volcano in the heat that I question, and you get to do it twice (does that sound like reward or punishment??)!! Shot a game of pool at the hostal and are now going to pack up our things and head to bed – we have to move rooms tomorrow – because of our delay we lost our reserved room but we get it back tomorrow, so we hope it´s sweet (and cool, literally!!).
Ok, that´s all for now! Visit again to hear about sandboarding!!
Lindsay (aka Lynn-see) & Ryan