Sunday, May 8, 2016

Gap Year Q3 Summary

A little bit behind on the blog, but here’s my Q3 recap!  If you don’t care, then don’t read it.

Total time spent:  91.67 days and 92 nights
Start:  Night of Tuesday, January 12 at Tokyo Narita Airport
End:  Afternoon of Wednesday, April 13 at Quito Airport

Continents visited:  3 (including my first time in South America!)
1.  North America:  73%
2.  Europe:  13%
3.  South America:  12%
In transit between continents:  2%

Regions visited:  5
1.  North America:  37.4%
2.  Central America:  19.4%
3.  Caribbean:  15.4%
4.  Northern Europe:  13.0%
5.  South America:  11.9%
In transit between regions:  3.0%

Countries visited:  8
1.  United States:  27.00 days / 28 nights  (29.8%)
2.  United Kingdom:  11.83 days / 12 nights  (13.0%)
3.  Ecuador:  10.83 days / 11 nights  (11.9%)
4.  Cuba:  10.33 days / 10.5 nights  (11.3%)
5.  Costa Rica:  10.00 days / 10 nights  (10.9%)
6.  Nicaragua:  7.67 days / 8 nights  (8.5%)
7.  Mexico:  6.67 days / 7 nights  (7.4%)
8.  Dominican Republic:  3.67 days / 4 nights  (4.1%)
In transit between countries:  3.67 days / 1.5 nights  (3.2%)

And just for fun – time spent in countries that drive on the:
1.  Left side of the road:  14%  (UK)
2.  Right side of the road:  86%  (everywhere else)

Border crossings:  9
-  8 border crossings by air
-  1 land border crossing (on foot from Costa Rica to Nicaragua)

Airports visited:  15 (up from 10 and 13 in Q1 and Q2)
Tokyo (Narita), Abu Dhabi, London (Heathrow), London (Gatwick), Fort Lauderdale, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Santo Domingo, Mexico City, Havana, Panama City, San Jose (Costa Rica), Managua, Quito, Baltra (Galapagos)

*My flights from Quito to Baltra and back also landed to pick up and drop off passengers in Guayaquil, but I didn’t get off the plane so it doesn’t really count.

Airlines flown:  9 (up from 5 and 6 in Q1 and Q2)
Etihad, Norwegian, Southwest, American, Spirit, Volaris, Aeromexico, Copa, Avianca

1.  Friends and family:  39 nights  (42% - UK and USA)
2.  Hostels:  26 nights  (28% - Latin America, though I often had a private room)
3.  Guesthouse/Homestay:  18.5 nights  (20% - Latin America including “casa particulares” in Cuba)

Other types of accommodation:  camping (Galapagos), hotels (1 night in Houston, 2 in Quito), and airplanes (woohoo!)

Bathroom situation:
1.  Private bathroom:  74.5 nights  (81%)
2.  Shared bathroom:  17.5 nights  (19%)

And now, for some less statistical lists…

Top 6 Experiences (in chronological order):
Because there’s more good than bad, I’m keeping my trend of doing 6 top experiences and 5 bottom experiences.

1.  Seeing family and friends – I got to visit friends and family in the UK and USA, and meet up with friends in Cuba/Costa Rica and Nicaragua.  It was nice catching up with familiar faces!
2.  Mexico City food porn – I fucking love Mexican food and Mexico City provided one foodgasm after another.  Heaven.  Eating the Tex-Mex in Texas was orgasmic too!
3.  Teotihuacan tour – My tour to Teotihuacan from Mexico City was fantastic.  The sights were great, the guide was great, and crossing off one of my 103 Things was great!
4.  Monteverde zip line – Another of my 103 Things, I can’t say that I wasn’t terrified at the start, but zip lining ended up being a ton of fun!
5.  Galapagos Islands – These islands were stunners.  I don’t even like animals all that much but the wildlife watching was fantastic.  This should be a must-do on everyone’s list!
6.  Quito walking tour – when the tour guide didn’t show up, two other travellers and I did our own walking tour and it turned out to be an absolutely lovely day.

Bottom 5 Experiences (in chronological order):
1.  British transport – I hate British transport.  It’s expensive.  It’s crowded.  It takes ages.  The staff are unfriendly and unhelpful.  I can’t believe the Queen lives this way.
2.  Texas Republicans – It was local election season in Texas and campaign flyers and billboards touted these assholes’ anti-gay, pro-gun, anti-choice “accomplishments”.  I was uncomfortable.
3.  Cuban pizza and sandwiches – I love Cuban food in Miami but the Cuban food in Cuba is pretty shit.  There’s only so many shitty pizzas and sandwiches you can have.  There’s no variety at all.
4.  Border crossing stress – The staff at my hostel in Monteverde told me that the border crossing to Nicaragua might take all day.  I was super stressed for 24 hours, but it ended up being a breeze.
5.  Spider shower – The campsite on Isabela Island (Galapagos) had giant spiders in the showers.  I left Australia – I shouldn’t have to deal with this shit.

There were no major mishaps in Q3.  Woohoo!

Top 3 Places I Could Live (in preferential order):
1.  London – I have a ton of friends here, there are tons of job opportunities, it’s English-speaking, and well-connected to the world!
2.  Bristol – It’s not glamorous, but it’s close to London.
3.  Mexico City – Food.

I think I’d rather live in a new Latin American city than live Florida or Texas.  Been there, done that.  I’d probably rank San Jose and Quito before the US cities I visited too.  But not Cuba.  No way.

Top 3 Places to Visit Again (in preferential order):
1.  London – I was so busy visiting friends in London that I hardly saw anything touristy.  I’d like to change that.
2.  Costa Rica – It’s a great little country and there are other parts I’d like to see.  10 days was not nearly enough!
3.  Galapagos Islands – One day when I have money, I’d like to do one of those rich bitch boat tours and check out some of the uninhabited islands.

I also wouldn’t mind checking out more of Mexico and mainland Ecuador.  It would be fun to go back to Cuba one day when communism finally disappears.

Top 3 Accommodations (in preferential order):
1.  Hostal Monte Cristi (Managua) – I only had one night here before my flight, but the room was nice and the owners were lovely and I wish I had booked in a day just to chill here.
2.  Can San Ildefonso (Mexico City) – While I wish I had stayed in a different neighbourhood, the building here was charming and the staff were super friendly.  I met some nice people too!
3.  Posada del Arenal (La Fortuna, Costa Rica) – This little guesthouse was brand new, conveniently located, had good air conditioning, and the owner was sort of a DILF.

Because I stayed in seven different family and friends’ homes, I’m not including them in this list.  That would be rude to rank them, but maybe I’ll do it quietly in my head.

The end is quickly approaching.  Noooo!  Q4 will feature an impromptu wedding (not mine), a shit ton of coffee, trying to figure out how to watch Eurovision from South America, and a visit to one of the world’s most remote islands.  But first, let me take a selfie.

Smiling after an easy border crossing into Nicaragua.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Nativity Llama in Quito

The capital city of Ecuador, Quito has a reputation for being dangerous – as do all Latin American cities – but I didn’t find it to be all too bad (though I always play it safe).  There were some really nice neighbourhoods (and some not nice neighbourhoods) and plenty of good restaurants.  I had three days to chill in the city after my return from the Galapagos and I did my best to make the most of it.

A few highlights of my time in Quito:

TeleferiQo & Guayasamin:
My first full day in Quito was spent with a few people from my tour taking taxis to the faraway places that weren’t lumped in with the rest of the tourist sites.  We started at the TeleferiQo – a cable car that whisks you up the side of one of the mountains that surrounds Quito’s valley.  At the top, we were a mere 4,050 meters (13,287 feet) above sea level.  So basically really fucking high.  In fact, commercial jetliners pressurize their cabins to levels of around 6,000 – 8,000 feet above sea level so Quito is naturally 66% - 121% higher than that.  I got a headache.  The lookout itself was super cloudy upon arrival but the clouds parted after a few minutes and we had some great views of the city below.

Later on, we popped by the former home of Oswaldo Guayasamin – one of Ecuador’s most famous artists.  He died a few years ago and his hillside home has been turned into a museum.  Next door, the Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man) was built by Guayasamin to showcase big murals depicting the suffering of indigenous Latin American peoples.  His works are brilliant.  Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed inside.

The Equator(s):
Just outside of Quito lies the equator, and it’s every tourists’ duty to take a picture with one foot, arm, testicle, and nipple in the northern hemisphere and one foot, arm, testicle, and nipple in the southern hemisphere!  Due to the mountainous terrain, it was here was the equator was first marked out in 1736 using triangulation.  However, the methods back then weren’t exact and the expedition team was (much much) later determined to have been 240 metres off.  Nevertheless, the government built a monument on the site of the original equator and turned into a tourist attraction called “Mitad del Mundo” (Half of the World).  A tower and yellow line marks the original equator and the complex also contains a craft village, a few museums (including one with some Guayasamin works that were available for pictures!), a bunch of other crap, and llamas!

Almost next door lies Museo Intiñan with various displays on indigenous culture and the modern day GPS calculated equator – though my guidebook said it was also slightly off.  The guided tour lets you walk on the equator and demonstrates how water spins different ways on either side of the line and how the forces pulling you both ways make it very difficult to walk a straight line on the equator.  Museo Intiñan was definitely better than Mitad del Mundo.  While it lacked random llamas, it did have a chocolate display and random guinea pigs!  The best part of this whole day trip:  it only cost me $0.80 to get there and back on the public bus.  I love it.

Walking tour:
I showed up for one of those free walking tours that most cities have these days.  Unfortunately, the guide decided not to show up.  I was stranded there with two other travellers but I had my Lonely Planet on my phone and it came complete with a suggested walking tour.  So I was the new tour guide!  Our first stop was the massive Basilica del Voto Nacional.  This is Ecuador, so rather than having traditional gargoyles decorate the exterior, the basilica has turtle and iguana gargoyles.  The belltower was TERRIFYING to climb up.  What basically amounts to a ladder was sticking out over the side of the building to let visitors climb up.  There was some thin netting to protect you if your foot slipped forward but it had holes in it and would do nothing if you fell backward.  I almost didn’t go up but I’m glad I did as the views were great.

Our leisurely walking tour took us to various plazas and more churches than I think I had ever visited in my lifetime up until that point.  Some of these Ecuadorian churches were decorated in nothing but gold.  Shouldn’t the Catholic Church be a bit more responsible with their money and use it for good instead of gold?  My favourite church was the big cathedral – not because it was pretty or big or whatever – but because it had some interesting local religious artwork including a nativity scene featuring a horse and a llama, and The Last Supper featuring Jesus and his posse eating guinea pig and humitas (the local version of tamales) and drinking chicha (a fermented corn drink).  Amazing.  Pictures weren’t allowed inside and I always follow the rules, but seeing as the Catholic Church has little to no respect for me and all my gays, I’ll have a bit of disrespect for them.  I took my picture of Jesus and his badass nativity llama.

Also on the walking tour we strolled down La Ronda – a famous street for tourists.  While the street comes alive at night, it was pretty dead at daytime with the notable exception of a chocolate shop called Chez Tiff which is run by a Swiss-Ecuadorian family.  We had a quick chocolate lesson and some “intense” hot chocolate.  Jizz.  To end the tour, we popped into the Museo de la Ciudad.  It didn’t have much English, but it was an interesting history of the city and country nonetheless.

The guide not showing up actually worked out really well.  We got to move at our own pace, stop for chocolate, and we didn’t have to tip.  WIN!

I always mention the food:
But it wasn’t all that notable here.  Similar to the other Latin American countries, typical Ecuadorian food often consisted of chicken or fish or pork with rice, lentils, and a salad.  I had llapingachos – fried root vegetable patties – one night, and a delicious quinoa soup another.  And I had Mexican food – obviously – at a Frida Kahlo inspired taco joint.  For dessert:  pie.  American pie.  Not the movie.  But the actual pie.  At an American grill and pie restaurant.  Lemon cream pie with a scoop of Key Lime Pie ice cream on the side.  Oh yes!

From Ecuador, I was flying to Colombia via Panama City.  It was my third layover in Panama City so I figured I should stop for a few days and see a canal or something. But first, let me take a selfie.

To see more photos of my time in Quito, follow this link:

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tortoise Sex in the Galapagos

The Galapagos was one of those places that wasn’t on my initial itinerary – mainly because of time and money.  But the time opened up and the money… well, it wasn’t great.  Most tourists go on boat tours and it costs thousands of dollars.  I opted for an on-land camping option with significant savings.  Even then, it was pricey.  The reason:  there are lots of fees to help maintain the islands as a National Park and their distance from the mainland means shipping items adds much additional expense.  But it was totally worth it.

The Galapagitos – a diminutive name for the people there – don’t seem to like the mainland so much.  Ecuador takes a lot of the tourist revenue as their own and doesn’t put enough back into the islands.  Ecuador also uses political maneuvering (and sometimes force) to keep the islands in line.  Nevertheless, the islands are still part of Ecuador for historical reasons and because they’d fail economically if they declared independence.  With only around 25,000 inhabitants, there isn’t much of an economy.  And while many tourists come to see the stunning natural beauty and unique wildlife, the revenue stream just isn’t big enough to sustain the whole of the islands.

I joined a tour group in Quito and flew to Baltra – the island with the main airport.  Before arrival, we were treated to the world’s most ridiculous entry video – where Muppet versions of a park ranger and a terrible American tourist discussed the rules of the national park.  It was both hilarious and painful at the same time.  Upon landing, we made our way from Baltra Island to visit three of the four other inhabited islands, taking a speedboat between them.

A few highlights of my time in the Galapagos:

Floreana Island:
With a population of just 122, Floreana is by far the least populated of the four populated islands.  There aren’t really any restaurants – you generally eat where you stay.  We swam and watched sunset at a black sand beach, went snorkelling (but didn’t see much aside from two sea turtles, a sting ray, and a lone penguin on a rock), walked through a small part of the Floreana Highlands, and visited the Asilo de la Paz tortoise reserve where we witnessed two sets of tortoises fucking!  Wooooo!  Another neat tradition is the post box on the pier.  Before there was standard mail service to this remote island, people would leave mail in a box near the pier and those who were leaving or passing by would take the mail and hand deliver it to its destination.  Only tourists continue this tradition today, but I grabbed a postcard with a Tacoma, Washington address on it and may hand deliver it when I’m in Seattle in July.

Isabela Island:
Formed by six volcanos that merged into one big land mass, Isabela is by far the largest of the Galapagos Islands by land and third largest by population, with only around 2,200 residents.  En route, our boat passed by the small Tortuga Island – just south of Isabela – to check out various bird and iguana nesting sites.  Upon arrival, we hiked up the crater of Volcan Sierra Negra – the largest of the Galapagos volcanos with a caldera that is nearly ten kilometres across and filled with lava rocks.  Elsewhere on the island, I visited two flamingo ponds and took a day trip which involved a boat tour with various wildlife sightings (including penguins and sea lions EVERYWHERE), a short walk on Islote Tintoreras (to see iguanas, a pretty beach, and sharks close-up in a shallow channel along the walkway), and snorkelling.  The snorkelling was definitely a highlight.  I saw so many fish in the entire palette of colours, sea turtles, and a shit ton of sharks (moderately terrifying at first, but they didn’t seem to notice us or care that we were there).  A playful sea lion also came around and swam amongst the group.  Just like on Floreana, our group visited a giant tortoise breeding center to see some more hardcore tortoise on tortoise action.  In town, the only real sight to see was the local church.  I don’t like churches because the Catholic Church is so terrible, but this one had Jesus with a bunch of palm trees, a giant tortoise walking up to the altar, and stained glass windows featuring local species such as the Galapagos penguin and blue-footed booby (hehe!)

Santa Cruz Island:
Santa Cruz is the second largest by area and most populous of the islands with around 12,000 people.  Aside from transiting to and from the airport on neighbouring Baltra Island, we also visited a lava tunnel, a fish market (with sea lions and birds desperately awaiting scraps), a gorgeous beach where we had a full day to swim (or roast, whichever your skin tone allows), and yet another tortoise breeding center – the one at the Charles Darwin Research Station.  In town, lights around the main pier made for great night-time viewing of sting rays and juvenile sharks.

Tourists flock to the Galapagos to see the wildlife – made famous by Charles Darwin’s analysis of the evolution of the local species.  Birds win the award for most species sighted.  We saw blue herons, flamingos, Galapagos mockingbirds, yellow warblers, tropical birds, pelicans, and more.  The frigate bird was one of the most interesting.  The males have a giant red heart-shaped sack under their necks that they inflate like a balloon during mating season.  The Nazca booby and the blue-footed booby are two common species, with the latter being one of the most famous species on the islands.  The blue-footed booby has – as you can guess – blue feet!  This makes it gorgeous and super unique.  The name “booby” also makes it an easy gimmick for shitty souvenir shops.  Everywhere we went, there were t-shirts and coffee mugs that said “I love boobies” with a picture of the blue-footed booby printed next to it.

This is even more immature than me.

My absolute favourite bird – quite obviously – was the Galapagos penguin.  I didn’t get to see any while snorkelling but I saw quite a few above ground chillin’ on the rocks.  I was always taught that penguins only live in the southern hemisphere, but that is a lie.  Fun fact:  Did you know that Isabela Island has the only penguins in the world that live north of the equator?  Penguins live all around the island and the equator runs right through it so all of your teachers in school were sitting on massive thrones of lies.

Some of the most famous inhabitants of the islands are the giant tortoises, of which there are a shit-ton of subspecies – pretty much one for each volcano in the archipelago.  Some look like normal tortoises but others have flat shells (an adaptation for helping them navigate through low-roofed lava tunnels) or pinched shells.  They all had one thing in common:  they were horny.  While not traditionally mating season, changing weather patterns are confusing the giant tortoises into thinking it’s time to get it on.  Oh yes.  Tortoise sex, baby!

We saw crabs.  We saw lava lizards.  We saw land iguanas.  We saw marine iguanas – both on land and swimming in the ocean.  There were plenty of sea turtles that we saw while snorkelling, as well as sting rays and both black tip and white tip sharks.  I only freaked out a little when I saw the dozen or so sharks while snorkelling.  Also super fun was the pod of dolphins swimming alongside our boat going between Isabella and Santa Cruz Islands.

The funniest of the animals, however, was the sea lion.  The sea lions were everywhere.  They were on boats.  They were on beaches.  They were swimming with us in the water.  They were shopping at the fish market.  They were chilling on piers.  Bust most of them were sleeping on benches.  Sea lions fucking love benches.  I think half of my sea lion pictures involve sea lions on benches.  Sea lions are the old men of the marine mammal world.

Food on the Galapagos is… not great.  Our included meals were generally chicken or fish with rice, lentils, and salad.  At restaurants, the service was often excruciatingly slow and the food usually fairly expensive.  One restaurant managed to sling together some chicken on a tortilla and call it a quesadilla despite not including any cheese.  I successfully argued with the lady in Spanish and got our money back.  Gold star!  That was a rare place – they actually had chicken.  There was a chicken shortage when I was there and most places took it off the menu.  The only legitimately good restaurant for both food and service was the Galapagos Deli in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island.  It was too legit to quit.

After nearly a week in the Galapagos, it was time to head back to the mainland.  I added on a few extra days in Ecuador to explore the capital city, Quito.  But first, let me take a selfie.

To see more photos of my time in the Galapagos, follow this link:

Sunday, May 1, 2016


The border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua was my only land border crossing in the Americas and it was supposed to be a stressful one.  When I arrived in Monteverde – my last stop in Costa Rica – I was told that it would probably take a few hours but that it would be uneventful.  Three days later, when I told another staff member at the hostel that I’d be heading across the border tomorrow – Good Friday – he looked at me like I had two heads.  He told me that 800,000 Nicaraguans live in Costa Rica and they all love to go home for the Easter long weekend and that I’d be totally fucked.  Like, I wouldn’t get a bus and if I did I’d have to wait all day at the border because most of the border guards don’t work on the holiday weekend and that I should leave ASAP.  So, I cancelled my chill day in Monteverde and left on the afternoon bus to Liberia – the closest city to the border.  I stayed at a shitty hostel and the following day – Good Friday – I woke up as the ass crack of dawn and headed out to get to the bus station by 6am.  While I did have to wait 2 hours for the first bus, my arrival at the border was… totally the opposite of what I was expecting.  There was no one there.  Except the staff.  It seemed fully staffed, actually.  And I didn’t need to wait in any lines.  I basically just walked across.  It was so fucking easy and all of that stress was unwarranted.  I gave a dirty glare to the worker in my hostel in Montverde, but as I was already several hours away, he didn’t see me.  Bah!

Anyway, enough of my gripe.  Nicaragua, like Costa Rica, is full of a surprising number of expats.  I guess those that can’t afford the country’s rich southern neighbour come here to live the easy life.  Nicaragua definitely isn’t as nice as Costa Rica.  The restaurant options aren’t nearly as good, the tap water is not drinkable, and it just doesn’t look as nice in general.  But it’s cheap.  And I like cheap.  It’s also very easy for travellers to navigate and the main tourist spots are surprisingly safe for Central America.

A few highlights of my time in Nicaragua:

San Jorge:
The little town of San Jorge sits on the shore of Lake Nicaragua – the 19th largest lake in the world.  This little town isn’t really a stop for tourists, but it is near the Costa Rica border and it’s the jumping off point for the ferry to Isla de Ometepe.  I arrived on Good Friday to find the beach absolutely packed with locals celebrating the day off.  There was a stage with live music, what seemed like hundreds of food stalls, and lots of men touting large fake horses to take pictures with.  Weird.  The beach offers great views of Isla de Ometepe.

Isla de Ometepe:
Formed from two volcanoes that erupted and joined together to form an island, Ometepe sits in the middle of Lake Nicaragua and is one of the top spots to visit in the country.  Della and Eric – friends of mine from university – arrived the day after I did and we took the ferry to the island together.  I had met up with Della and Eric last year in Bali when they did their gap year.  I planned that week out so it was their turn to return the favour!  They booked us into accommodation in a quiet area of the island – the little village of Merida.  From there, we had the perfect view of three sunsets in a row.  It was a great location!  We did a walk to the San Ramon Waterfall one day – though it was dry season so there wasn’t much water falling.  We also visited the Ojo de Agua – a mineral spring which was a lot more commercialized than we were expecting, but super pleasant nonetheless – and Playa Santo Domingo.

From Ometepe, we ferried back to the mainland and taxied to Granada – a famous colonial era city that is extremely popular with the tourists.  It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and is full of beautifully restored buildings.  Ok, mostly beautifully restored churches, but there were a few other buildings thrown into the mix too.  We visited the Church, Convent, and Museum of San Francisco where we learned about indigenous games.  We popped into the beautiful Granada Cathedral and climbed the belltower at the Iglesia de la Merced to take in views of the town.  We walked around the Fundacion Casa de Los Tres Mundos where student artists and musicians were at work improving their skills.  The highlight was a day trip which took us to various sites in and around Granada.  We visited a traditional tile-making factory, Fortaleza Coyotepe (a fort high on a hill which was used for political prisoners up until 1979), and the Laguna de Apoyo.  The laguna is a lake occupying the caldera of an extinct volcano.  We went up to a viewpoint on the rim and then drove down to the water’s edge to a swanky (yet still fairly inexpensive) beach club to have lunch, a drink or two, and a nice swim in the clear water.  Gorgeous.

While we were hesitant to double up on well-restored colonial cities, we decided to visit Leon as well.  While Granada has always been the bastion of conservatism in the country, Leon has been the left-wing capital.  Factions from these two cities battled it out for glory but eventually the country chose Managua as its capital – somewhat halfway between the two rival cities.  It was sort of like Sydney-Melbourne rivalry that led to the establishment of Canberra but a LOT more bloody and terrifying.  Like, a LOT a LOT.  Just like Granada, Leon is full of churches.  We visited a handful of them on our walking tour but the best was the Catedral de Leon aka Basilica de la Asuncion.  The roof of this large, white-domed cathedral is open for visitors to walk around barefoot.  We explored the roof and took plenty of photos of the surrounding areas, and had a bit of a photoshoot of ourselves too!

We also visited two museums in Leon.  The Museo  de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Guardian had good collection of contemporary art and occupied two very large, gorgeous colonial style houses.  Far more interesting was the Museum of Legends and Traditions.  This museum had models of important Nicaraguan historical figures and crazy displays and dioramas depicting local folklore.  Most of the folklore seemed to revolve around women getting screwed by men and then getting their revenge.  The most interesting and entertaining one was titled “Grab Your Tit” and basically had a mannequin of a women with one breast hanging out of her clothes.  The caption more or less read as follows:

“She was a woman… it is said she was a very ugly woman… Her father offered a lot of money for someone to get married with her but no-one wanted to. For that reason, she wanders in the different streets… looking for a man, she chooses the one she likes… and forcefully put her nipple in the mouth… telling him GRAB YOUR TIT, GRAB YOUR TIT, leaving them mortified and with asphyxiated.”


There wasn’t really anything too exciting about the food, especially after Costa Rica.  I had some local fried chicken with plantains, rice, beans, and salad on the beach at San Jorge my first day.  Aside from that, the typical food didn’t really differ from Costa Rica all too much.  I had some coconut ice cream, some pretty good gelato at a place called “Kiss Me” in Leon, and various international cuisines such as Asian-style stir-fry, a Sri Lankan-Polish-Nicaraguan style take on butter chicken masala, and – of course – Mexican food!  We also had pupusas with a nice big glass of tamarind juice for dinner on our last night in Managua.  Pupusas are thick corn tortillas with filling and are more El Salvadorian than Nicaraguan but it felt authentic anyway.  It was also in the front yard of someone’s home so that felt pretty authentic.  Finally, the local beer – Toña – is also worth a mention as it was very enjoyable!

We didn’t do anything in the capital – Managua – as there isn’t much for tourists to do there, but I did have one night there before my early morning flight and I must mention that my little guesthouse (Hostal Monte Cristi) was excellent.  I wish I actually had stayed another night or two and given Managua a chance!

Now, despite being from Miami, I had never been to South America.  So, time to check my sixth continent off the list.  But first, let me take a selfie.

To see more photos of my time in Nicaragua, follow this link: