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ChampagneInHand

Nica 2017

3 posts in this topic

I just got back a couple of weeks ago after spending 4 weeks in Nica. What a wonderful country filled with so many great people and not yet on the Gringo Trail for the most part.

 

While places like Granada, San Juan del Sur and even Ometepe Iskand get visitors from all over, they aren't over run yet with idiotic tourists.

 

While I stayed 3 days in Granada and visited Volcán Masaya I chose to stay in Leon as a base of operations and I was able to get up to Esteli and out to the Pacific beach towns of Las Penitas and Poneloye via the chicken buses which made for great conversation with locals and some travelers alike.

 

If you get to Granada, visit the Mombacho cigar tabacalera as they are open for tours and are very friendly as well as producing some fine cigars. I loved the Liga Maestro selections that are Nica Puros.

 

I did a lot of volunteer work helping locals with plumbing, riding out to the areas where houses are made with basic lumber and corrugated tin, without running water and just free hanging electric wire. I'm quite tall and the Nica people are fairly short. I was able to help paint over laminata which is what they call the corrugated tin using a thick sealant to prepare for the upcoming rainy season.

 

The people are very appreciative of any help and it gives you a chance to give back while enjoying such a beautiful country.

 

Great cigars that rarely make it to foreign shores are available in Esteli and even in Granada but most locals don't smoke cigars. The few I found were guards protecting the various tabacaleras over the weekend and they are always eager to have a conversation as you mix learning the Nicanol dialects as they learn English. I found plenty of ex-Pats, mostly from Canada and one in Poneloye who smoked Casa Magna while preparing smoked meats for the sake of tacos during the evening.

 

Cigars are valued Pudos there and while people know they are made in their country, most are poverty bound and have other places needing funding. I found it odd how many people smoke cigarettes as they are quite inexpensive. There just aren't a lot of places to buy pudos outside some luxury goods shops in the bigger towns but the ex-Pat, Carlos had a humidor and was selling to those who inquired.

 

If you can speak semi-decent Spanish or are willing to try, have an open mind and want an adventure where you can actually learn as well as enjoy serving some needy people, you should add Nicaragua to your bucket list.

 

 

Just be respectful of their culture and do your homework. Every place is so different as it's the biggest country in Central America and every department is very diverse, many using their own indigenous languages over Spanish/Nicanol.

 

I will try to post a few pictures later. I loved it so much that I am heading backwards at the end of May.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Some of the poor campesino housing.
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Almost tragic. The problem is like anywhere in Mexico southward and the Caribbean islands as that they view almost all Westerners as filthy rich.

This lady I bought groceries for, fixed up the sides of her house and was hoping to crowd fund more has emailed me wanting me to pay 2000 córdobas for new wood, too which I don't have. It never ends and you can't help everybody.

I do feel bad but I don't hand out cash as you never know where it's going. I'm not a contractor and bumping Nica workers who need the employment isn't what I do either.

Many panhandling young men who refuse to come and learn from the older men as an unpaid intern even though they get fed and experience and maybe some of their own tools.

Sadly the men are much less industrious as a whole and the single moms are everywhere trying to raise enough funds to get there kids better healthcare and into school.

It's heartbreaking but I'm only one man. I'm not a bank and getting that point across is something that is just isn't in translation.

I do recommend giving to a good charity that helps all regardless of whether they join some flock. There are tons of evangelicals that want the last penny from the poor and sick, promising an opening to heaven's door. I hate seeing this in any impoverished country.

Trying to teach self-empowerment is a tough sell but you do what you can.

Again it's a beautiful country with beautiful people that do need help. You just have to watch yourself and not step on any toes.

Enjoy the place, respect tradition and help where you can without just doling out cash.


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