Tuesday, March 25, 2008


After been staying home for 3 days, my friend and his girlfriend finally arrived and took me out to this colonial town, about one-hour drive from Managua, called Granada. It was Sunday afternoon; we arrived Parque Central, the center of the city, around 4 pm. It was crowded considering it was the Easter weekend. Sitting at the kiosk on one of the four corners, we ordered ice-cold fruit juices and a Granada specialty, vigoron, made of yucca topped with fried pork skin and slaw. Its appearance reminded me of Papaya Salad (som-tom); however, its taste wasn’t quite like it.

We walked along the road near the plaza taking some pleasant photos and at the same time looking for a place to stay. We were going to celebrate my friend’s birthday here. Therefore we let him pick the place. Been open only 3 months, this lodging is called Asian Latino ran by Nicaraguan guy who grew up in America and has been back to his home country for 3 years. They claimed that it’s an Asian atmosphere that has a touch of Latino. The room price was around $60 plus tax with the room with king-size bed that fits three of us easily.

Satisfied with the room, we drove to Las Isletas, just offshore from Granada, to take the quick look and check the price of the boat for tomorrow morning. There were small stores and restaurants along the main road. Crowded with Nicaraguan, the lakefront was slightly dirty with garbage like plastic bags and bottles. Nevertheless people were happy as they enjoyed their holidays.

We had dinner at our hotel. Thai food, as they claimed, wasn’t a bit close to what we really eat or cook in real life. Oh well! What can we expect? We, mostly, enjoyed our best-selected wine and, I’d have to say, the perfect weather, not too cold or not too hot. After emptied the bottle of Shiraz, he hopped to several restaurant, as the birthday boy wanted, for beers, Pina Coladas and nachos. The night ended with Hookah on the cozy sofa, which was the hotel complimentary.

The next morning we woke up pretty early because I just couldn’t sleep in the air-conditioned room any longer. Cool breeze outside was much better. Continental breakfast the manager told us about was literally mixed fruits, bread and fruit drink. Unfortunately, my friend doesn’t eat fruit. After two girls finished healthy breakfast, we walked to neighbor hotel to get him a croissant and coffee.

We checked ourselves out and drove to Las Isletas, a group of 365 diminutive islands scattered along the edges of the Peninsula de Asese. Formed 10,000 years ago by erupting Volcán Mombacho, the islands are well worth visiting and can be easily reached by motorboat, according to the guidebook. We rented the boat from the restaurant, which cost us about $5 plus tips. The kid who operated the boat gave us some Nicaraguan historical knowledge from time to time. Many houses were built by Americans or filthy rich Nicaraguan. One is being renovated to be a hotel and restaurant. The retirement home would be a good idea!

Late lunch was at the Chinese restaurant in Managua. My friends acclaimed that it was one of the best Chinese restaurants in town. I totally agreed. It was simple, delicious but expensive. We went back home and sat in front of the computer because my friends had to work a little bit. That was when I had a chance to write my blog. Late evening I was riding a motorcycle rode by my friend. We went out for grocery shopping for dinner. Simple Thai food and Rosa wine were a good combination. We were hanging out a little bit more after that and then we spit.

The beginning trip for a third wheel like me couldn’t be more fun even though I am getting use to it. I wish I could speak Spanish just enough for communicating. Thanks to my friend’s girlfriend’s fluent Spanish and her generosity, I was able to understand lots of things and had a fantastic trip to Granada.