Nicaragua 2012 – Part 1 – Achievement Unlocked: Central America

On my way!

Needless to say, it was difficult to blog while in Central America.  Yes, I could have written something on my laptop every day however, I wanted to live as unplugged as much as I could, and I’d say I was pretty successful at that given how much I sit in front of a computer at home and work, or with some form of mobile device.

So I figured I’d re-live the trip and write something more cohesive over the next few days about the trip, including pictures.

As you can see to the left, I was ready to go and as I was waiting at Toronto Pearson International Airport, it looked less and less that my holiday was going to start on time.  In fact, my flight leaving for Dallas was two hours late.  Admittedly, I expected TACA to be late, not Air Canada.  Oh well, first world problems.  As I said in this blog entry, TACA were fantastic on many levels which made my trip.  Mucho gracias TACA!


I traveled very lightly this trip, something I have been learning to do as I travel to the USA, and prepared to have two sets of clothes with me in the blue bag, and everything non-essential in the brown bag.  Since we were two hours late leaving Toronto, it meant I had 20 minutes to get to my TACA flight.  I made it, the brown bag didn’t. LOL!

Seating on TACA was great! Most North American airlines have the tray up quite high, and pamphlets, magazines and such down lower.  TACA gives more leg room by pushing everything up.  I like this and more airlines should consider adopting this kind of layout.

El asentar de TACA

What can you do – nothing, just trust the bags will arrive.

Arriving in San Salvador, El Salvador I was a man out of my comfort zone in a country where I had no formal training in speaking the language.  What’s a man to do?  Order a cappuccino con sabor and a Pollo Empanada in Spanish.  I did really well – yeah it’s not *that* difficult but I was proud that I was understood and someone didn’t’ say, “Speak English to me, your Castillano is horrible”, as I have done in French.

And thus started the sponge and desire to learn a new language.  And what a sponge my mind was.  I do wonder how closely linked learning a spoken language and programming language are in the brain.  I’ve got a knack for being able to pick up on certain key components and just running with what I have learned.

Aeropuerto Internacional de El Salvador

That said, I was reminded of the Pet Shop Boys song, Discoteca, from their Billingual album, “I don’t speak the language, I don’t understand a word…” – More than a few times during the trip.

After my walk from one end of the airport to the other, I arrived at Puerta 5 for my 40 minute flight to Managua where I was picked up by my cousin Tim – who has lived in Nicaragua for 15 years; my aunt and nephew who arrived in Nicaragua earlier in the day.

A tourist visa costs US$10 payable to the customs official you first meet.  They do speak English if you need to, but I always recommend knowing a few words of Spanish.

Shocking! Absolutely shocking!

One taxi ride to Hotel Los Piños where we stayed at for the first night, much chatting and then off to my first night of sleep.

Not without a lesson in shocking showers.  See, for those of us who are lucky to have hot and cold clean water running through out our houses in the first world, not every country has the luxury of hot water running throughout a home, nor clean water.  What you see to the right is an electric heater to give you hot water.  Yes, you can see how it’s wired – my aunt gave me specific warnings to be careful in case of a shock.  Needless to say, I got a nice shock down the left arm. 🙂

And that’s my day of travel.

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