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Posted by in Life, Places, Uncategorized

The Bureaucratic Hell of Picking up a Package from Customs

The Bureaucratic Hell of Picking up a Package from Customs

While Nicaragua is technically a democratic republic, it more resembles a socialist country, so my theory is that government run processes are so huge, bloated, slow, and inefficient here simply because it employs more people and consumes more resources – which in turn generates more employment somewhere. It’s also a little archaic in its practices. I can’t remember the last time I dealt solely with paper, carbon copies, and rubber ink stamps before my encounter with Nicaragua customs. I’ve read a saying somewhere that America kills it’s citizens with taxes, while Nicaragua kills them with lines. I got in my first line around 2:15 and didn’t get out of there with my single package until about 5:30. Caveat: this was the day before Christmas Eve (Christmas Eve Eve?) so I’m sure that had some impact on the overall time, but that doesn’t diminish the significance of how bad the system is. We asked the driver who picked us up from our hotel in Matagalpa if he could swing by...

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Posted by in Food, Life, Uncategorized

A Great Christmas Eve Dinner at Monna Lisa’s Pizza

A Great Christmas Eve Dinner at Monna Lisa’s Pizza

We asked Levi where he wanted to have his Christmas Eve dinner. He said, “Monna Lisa Pizza!” They have a play scape there, so good idea on his part. They also have the friendliest owners and staff in Granada. We’ve had the same waiter every time we’ve gone and he always knows exactly what we want and is a very friendly guy. This trip was no different. But in some ways, it was. At one point Levi found one of the bandannas the staff wear tucked away in the shelf where they store menus and salt & pepper shakers. Instead of someone telling him he couldn’t play with that, they instead brought out an apron and dressed him up as one of the staff and proceeded to play with him and take pictures. Including the owner. Shortly after all the fun we asked for the ┬ácheck. The total was about C$650 tip NOT included. As a thanks for a) their always excellent service, and b) their playfulness with Levi...

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La Posada Rotiseria

La Posada Rotiseria

If you want some fantastico pollo in Matagalpa I highly recommend La Posada Rotiseria. It’s off the beaten path, and a long time local favorite; not a place at all overrun with tourists, of which there are few in Matagalpa anyway. Levi got fried chicken. This fried chicken was REAL fried chicken. It looked like it had been fried in a well-seasoned, 50-year-old kettle with the same grease used to fry the previous day’s worth of fried chicken. It was not fast food KFC by a long shot. Roberta and I both got Pollo de la Plancha which was…well I don’t want to get wordy…it was the best chicken we’ve had in Nicaragua since we got here four months ago. La Posada is a very old “mom and pop” place. Much of it is furnished with plastic lawn furniture. The men’s room utilizes a trough (you guys know what I mean) and a broken toilet that doesn’t flush, but they’ve provided a work around for this. Between the trough...

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Hotel Hopping in Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Hotel Hopping in Matagalpa, Nicaragua

We arrived at Hotel El Castillo in Matagalpa Tuesday evening. The hotel is a quaint structure built up the side of a mountain foothill. The footprint is small, but rises three stories. Up the first flight of outdoor stairs is a roomy patio and the front door of the hotel. Once inside there is another flight of stairs to a lounge and the hotel rooms. Another passage lead to another large part of the building currently being worked on. I presume they are expanding and building rooms. Which is a good idea because our room was very small. We barely tolerated one night there. We requested a room with two beds and it was pretty obvious that they had moved a twin bed into this room which already contained a queen size bed taking most of the space. We had barely any space to move around. And only beds. No chairs. Or table. Not that there would have been any room for such things, anyway. The bathroom was great,...

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Gringo in Matagalpa!

Gringo in Matagalpa!

We arrived in Matagalpa this evening. I changed the blog’s logo to commemorate the event. It’s a beautiful, but long, ride from Granada….about 2.5 hours. I recommend chartering a private driver so you can relax and enjoy the views. Costs about $80 USD if you sniff out a good deal. Matagalpa is north and in the mountains so it’s very cool here compared to Granada. I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt for the first time since we moved to Nicaragua! We got here after dark so I don’t have much to report on the city itself yet but what we saw when we went to out to eat a few blocks away at Restaurante Monkey’s looks great. I took a few (not very good) long exposure shots from our balcony. The view is GREAT from our hotel, but I’ll have to wait for daylight to get better pictures. My bridge camera isn’t really great for long exposure shots, and I don’t have a tripod. I had to set the...

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