I had heard from other travellers who had been all over Central America, that Managua was the only place they didn't like and where they didn't feel save, so I didn't take my iPod or Camera, just the Lonely Planet and a little bit of money. I only spend five hours in daylight in the city but walked everywhere and didn't feel threatened at any time, it was the same as in all the other big cities.
Anyway I then walked to the old center. This area has been completely destroyed by a major earthquake in 1972 and most of it has not been rebuild yet, because more earthquakes may happen any time. Instead the people moved away into the suburbs and the city is now a collection of different small centers rather than one big one. Because it is so spread out, it is the greenest capital I've ever been in, there are so many trees and other green spaces everywhere, not parks but just empty fields with trash on them. It's a weird feeling, just opposite the National Assembly complex is a huge slum area where people live in small plastic huts.
The Plaza de la Revolucion in the old center is actually quite nice, on one site is the ruin of the old cathedral and on the other the National Palace of Culture, which has been rebuilt. There are hardly any people in this area, even down at the Malecon at the big lake it feels really dead. Everywhere the red and black colours and poster of the FSLN (the Sandinista National Liberation Front) can be seen. The party is currently in power again and the leader of the revolution Daniel Ortega is once again president of the country. Back in school the Nicaraguan revolution was a big deal for my left-leaning teachers and we learned a lot about the Sandinistas.
I walked on through different neighborhoods back to the University to catch the bus back to Granada.
Managua is certainly not the pretties city in Nicaragua but I think it is the most interesting one.
Back at the hostel I met five American Peace Corps volunteers and we went out for pizza and beers.
On the way back to the centre I look out for some electronic shops. My new iPod USB cable is already broken and my second photo memory card broke as well and is now in a read-only mode. But there don't seem to be any stores selling those things in town. I also loosed my new glasses on the way to Isla de Ometepe, not sure how because it is one of the "important" items in my luggage. Problem is there it is Semana Santa or Easter Week here and no optionist is working for the next 10 days. I still have my prescription sunglasses but at night they are a bit dark. I cross the small river twice, very little water in it but lots of rubbish, people just throw everything out onto the streets. Back on the hostel I do some more work on my site and play with jQuery. For dinner I get two big slices of pizza and watch some fireworks on the main square. It is Saturday night but the hostel in very quiet, I walk over to the Bearded Monkey hostel for a while but that place has too many smokers, I like the Oasis quite a bit more.
So I spent most of my time in the shade in the Vei Vei in Leon and the Oasis in Granada, the two main old colonial cities in the country. Most time I was working on my web sites and learning new things in the Software development world. The short trip to Isla de Ometepe, an island in the huge lake Nicaragua with two big volcanoes was nice but there also it was to hot to hike up the steep slopes. I really liked Nicaragua anyway, it was cheaper than the other countries and less developed as well.
17-Mar-2009: Tegucigalpa to Esteli in Nicaragua (Esteli, Nicaragua)
18-Mar-2009: Esteli to Leon (Leon, Nicaragua)
19-Mar-2009: Working on project Juayua (Leon, Nicaragua)
20-Mar-2009: Working on jQuery and JSON (Leon, Nicaragua)
21-Mar-2009: On the Pacific beaches near Leon (Leon, Nicaragua)
22-Mar-2009: Lazy Sunday in Leon (Leon, Nicaragua)
23-Mar-2009: Leon to Granada via Managua (Granada, Nicaragua)
24-Mar-2009: Hanging out in Granada (Granada, Nicaragua)
24-Mar-2009: Daytrip to the capital Managua (Granada, Nicaragua)
26-Mar-2009: Online day in the hostel (Granada, Nicaragua)
27-Mar-2009: Some sightseeing in Granada (Granada, Nicaragua)
28-Mar-2009: Learning ASP.NET MVC at the hostel (Granada, Nicaragua)
29-Mar-2009: Working with jQuery and Ajax (Granada, Nicaragua)
30-Mar-2009: Cleaning up the effects of a really nasty virus (Granada, Nicaragua)
31-Mar-2009: Granada to Isla de Ometepe (Santa Domingo on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua)
1-Apr-2009: Along Madera volcano and big birthday dinner (Santa Domingo on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua)
2-Apr-2009: Isla de Ometepe back to Granada (Granada, Nicaragua)
3-Apr-2009: Spending more time at the PC and in the pool (Granada, Nicaragua)
4-Apr-2009: A day in Granada (Granada, Nicaragua)
5-Apr-2009: More Ajax work on my travel web site (Granada, Nicaragua)
6-Apr-2009: Yet another day working in Granada (Granada, Nicaragua)
7-Apr-2009: Travelog refactoring and cleanup (Granada, Nicaragua)
8-Apr-2009: Last day in Granada (Granada, Nicaragua)
9-Apr-2009: Summary for Nicaragua (Summary for Nicaragua, Nicaragua)