We had a bit of a lazy day on January 10th as we were catching up from our travels, dealing with the heat, and my back was acting up in a bad way. Enter going to the pharmacy – which was located at La Unión. La Unión, ironically, is owned (33 1/3%) by Walmart. Walmart and unions? Forget it.
Anyway, purchasing drugs at the pharmacy was an interesting experience. For the muscle relaxants I got over the counter, I would have probably paid $50 (I might be over inflating the cost), they cost us $3! Not only that but they were made in Colombia! Okay, I realize I’m bringing stereotypes into my blog. Anyway, the Mio-Citalgan rocked and really helped my back.
We took the kids to the Parque Japones-Nicaraguense where we played soccer and basketball with the kids. While we were at the mall the day before, Tim and I also got scooters for the kids so Ary and Anly brought one of them to use.
24 Hours in Matagalpa & Selva Negra
The next day we headed to Matagalpa which is three hours, by bus, to the North of Managua. My Aunt, Stephen, Tim, Ary and Anly joined us while Bermania and Bernarda stayed home.
Firstly, this was my first experience with the bus terminal in Managua, and I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. If anything, it was the most uncomfortable part about the trip. Face it, those of us from Canada stood out like sore thumbs. The other thing I wasn’t sure about was the pick pocketing that I had read about. In short, if you’re traveling, just be aware of your surroundings and you’ll be fine.
You buy your ticket from a wicket and from you take your place on the bus – seats are numbered.
When you’re on the bus, waiting for the bus to leave the bus station, a lot of people will come on trying to sell drinks, fruit, and other foods. So don’t be surprised at this. You’ll also find that at spots long the way, the bus will stop and people will come on, selling the same things.
Once we arrived, we got a taxi to The Monkey which was a restaurant we decided to eat at before heading to Selva Negra. After we stopped at the Cathedral in Matagalpa – beautiful and not an ostentatious. Ary seemed interested in the statue of San Miguel so I got a picture of him with it.
The taxi ride up to Selva Negra – translates as “Black Forest” which was settled by Germans, was fun with the taxi driver explaining things to us about the area. Five in the back with Mary, Stepehen, Tim, Anly and Ary; and lucky me in the front.
I enjoyed teasing Anly by taking pictures of her in the car, and her hiding her face saying, “Tio!”.
Selva Negra made me feel like I wasn’t in Nicaragua but up north in cottage country here in Ontario. Firstly, you never see brick buildings in places like Central America and the cottage we stayed in was brick. Also the temperature was about 18C – everyone was complaining how cold it was, and I was out in my short shirt and shorts. LOL! Prefect temperature for me!
The food at Selva Negra was great! The coffee was very good, especially given we were on a coffee plantation.
Tim and I were up quite late drinking rum and, later, me reading the Steve Jobs autobiography and Tim playing with his BlackBerry playbook. I have two side tangents here:
- Firstly, it’s quite ironic that Tim and I were doing our respective things. Growing up, it would have been Tim reading a book and me on the PlayBook. LOL!
- Anly came up to me at one point and asked me if the picture of Steve Jobs on the cover of the book was me. LOL!
The next day we got up, had breakfast, looked at a sloth in the tree, hiked through the cloud forest and coffee beans and then down to pack our bags up and take the taxi back to Matagalpa, and then the bus home. We had more of a coach bus going home, with a movie playing. I actually finished the Steve Jobs biography on the way back to Managua.
We stopped off at an old tank at the entrance of Selva Negra, which was left over from the civil war in the 1980s. At one level a neat thing to see, at another reminder of how much the United States used to and still does love fucking around in Central America and world politics. There, I’ve said it – and definitely something that was on the back of my mind when traveling around.
BTW Scott just looked up the details about Mio-Citgalan and it’s main active ingredient Carisporodol. Looks like it’s considered a Schedule 4 medication on watch lists, meaning the USDA is keeping an eye how addictive the medication is. That said, I did not feel any euphoric feelings and it worked better than Robaxicet, which I will say is actually helping my back these days back home in Canada.