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Posted by in Costa Rica, Life, Places, Uncategorized

Costa Rica: Day 2 – Museo de los Ninos

Costa Rica: Day 2 – Museo de los Ninos

Today we went to the Museo de los Ninos (Children’s Museum) in Costa Rica. This is a damn cool museum for kids and it is HUGE. It is built in the abandoned shell of the former Central Prison originally constructed in 1906. It contains several levels of interactive scientific awesomeness for kids to manhandle, thereby spreading countless amounts of germs around for other kids to coat their respective bodies in. Science! As an adult, the only complaint I have about the museum is that it is too damn big. It’s an unfortunate scientific fact that an adult’s level of “let’s get the hell out of here, already!” will be reached long before a child’s mind has been thoroughly nourished by a four story museum that takes roughly 3 hours to get through. Interestingly, the museum itself works as a demonstration of this fact! But I joke. It really is an incredible museum that does a great job of getting kids involved while actually teaching them something. Among the highlights:...

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Posted by in Costa Rica, Life, Places, Uncategorized

Costa Rica: Day 1

Costa Rica: Day 1

We booked a long weekend in San Jose, Costa Rica to renew our tourist visas. For those not in the loop, you have to leave the country for 72-ish hours every 90 days to renew your tourist visa if you are not a resident. We’re doing that in Costa Rica. We got into the airport after a short 35 minute from Managaua around 8:30 pm. The flight on Copa Airlines was quite nice for being so short. They even gave us all little beef fajita and peppers sandwiches and cookies! On arrival we exchanged some USD for Costa Rica Colon. This was a little baffling. We’re just really getting our heads wrapped around the USD to Nica Cordoba exchange rate. Just when we’re finally able to know without using a calculator what something like C$2,000 means in USD, now we have figure out something new! One good part to this is that Costa Rican money has pictures of animals on it. That’s pretty cool. We grabbed a cab to...

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Preview of the New Pad

Preview of the New Pad

Here’s a few pics of our new pad here in Matagalpa. The place is still under some lingering renovations from the owners, so every morning a couple of dudes show up to work in the and then leave in the afternoon. We’ve inflicted them with many ad hoc requests that they’ve executed with no complaint, such as adding a hot water shower head, painting over a weird Winnie the Pooh picture on the wall, and tolerating Levi as he “watches them work” which really means “totally getting in the way all the time”. The place came unfurnished, so we are, bit by bit, collecting chunks of furniture. We’re hardly done, but figured we’re close enough to snap some pics. Check them out below. I’ve added descriptions too! When the place is more complete I’ll do a snazzy House Hunters International-style video walkthrough. Ooh La La!...

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Our Dog was Held for Ransom in Granada, Nicaragua

Our Dog was Held for Ransom in Granada, Nicaragua

No kidding. Can you believe that shit?! Here’s the story… New Year’s Eve night I went out for drinks with our neighbor. Roberta and Levi were out of town in Matagalpa taking care of some moving logistics. The next day I was leaving with a truck at noon with all of our stuff. We would officially no longer live in Granada. When I returned home shortly after midnight our little dog, Lyle, shot out of the door as soon as soon as I opened it and bolted right toward La Calzada, the primary party strip in Granada. This was New Year’s Eve, as I mentioned, which means La Calzada was a loud, undulating blob of drunk party goers. The moment Lyle entered the crowd, he was out of sight. Lyle had gotten out before, but usually he just sort of trots down the street and is easy to recover. But this night he was so terrified of all the loud fireworks going off he panicked. The problem isn’t only...

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We Moved to Matagalpa

We Moved to Matagalpa

Well, I’m not exactly sure what to do about this blog. When we visited Matagalpa a couple of weeks ago we actually put down a deposit on a rental and this past week moved to Matagalpa. I’m no longer a Gringo in Granada! Obviously I will keep writing for this blog, but my dilemma is that I’m not sure what to call it. “Gringo in Matagalpa” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “Gringo in Granada” although I guess it’s not too bad. But who knows if we’ll stay in Matagalpa. We certainly didn’t expect to leave Granada so soon. Within six months I might be a Gringo in Léon or Esteli, although I doubt it. I think we’ve decided to hunker  down here for a while, especially since Levi will be starting school here and since Matagalpa is such a nice place so far. I’m leaning toward a name that is more general in nature. Something about Nicaragua, not a specific town. Still, “Gringo in Nicaragua”...

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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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