I left San Jose the day after getting Cynthia on the plane and spent my birthday on a 10 hour bus ride to Managua, Nicaragua. Managua is the capital of Nicaragua, but not very touristy. I arrived after dark and after talking to people in the bus station, pelegroso (dangerous) was mentioned many times. Deciding that there were plenty of people around and it was only 6:15 pm, I would try to find a place near the bus station since the bus to Honduras would leave there at 5am. At the exit, after I got past the taxi drivers, I was greeted by the local hotel touts who guide you to a hotel for a small propina(tip). I found an acceptable, but not by much, hotel just 100 yds from the station.
I gave myself one day to see what there is to see in Managua city. After being briefed by the hotel owner where and where not to walk, I made my way to the heart of the monument district where the government buildings and of course, the monuments are. The area actually has some nice buildings, monuments, tombs, museums and a cathedral that is closed due to earthquake damage. This area of the city also sits on the shore of a lake, which, like most lakes in Central America, is smelly and quite polluted. The most amazing thing I found was that the city was virtually deserted. Check out his video (9M wmv file)I took of the area at 12 noon on a Friday and think what the center of any city in the US would look like at that time.
On the bus bright and early at 5am, I made the 12 hour trip into the Honduras to main bus station in San Pedro Sula. I hooked up with some other backpackers and we shared a ride to the hotel. San Pedro Sula is Honduras’ business capital and I spent the day touring the markets and the central park area. One of the weirdest sights I’ve seen was in the central park area. Two guys were doing a street performance in clown makeup. Apparently they didn’t move along like the police wanted them to, and the next thing I knew was the crowd was scattering and the cop had one of them in a head lock with his pistol drawn. Isn’t it a cardinal sin to pistol whip a poor defenseless clown? Strange, but it was the first thing I’ve witnessed in Central America even resembling violence. Everybody we’ve dealt with has been extremely friendly and helpful.
I’m off to the Bay Islands, the Caribbean Islands of Honduras. Namely I am going to visit the islands of Utila and Roatan and hope to do some diving.
Check out the pictures from Managua and San Pedro Sula in the picture gallery..