The plane pitched forward, bobbed, bounced, and screeched to a stop. The night air in the jetway was a familiar hot and sticky humid. We arrived in Nicaragua. Because there had been reports of roadside tourist robbing we opted to stay the night in Managua, the capital city. We drank Toña beer in the lounge, which turns out to be a barely passable lager, and in our travel haze toasted to our next adventure.
The morning brought our first taxi negotiation, we had hoped the concierge would do the ever unpleasant task for us. No luck, but our skills proved intact and soon we were headed south to the lakeside town of Granada. Countryside landscapes most often provide the most telling view of a country. In Nicaragua, on this route, it was filled for me anyway, with reminders of travels past; of far reaching lush farmland, rioting vegetation, too skinny livestock, ad hoc corrugated homes, pot hole ridden roads, looming volcanoes, threatening clouds, and bad American retro pop played in a too-cold taxi. Certainly, it was beautiful in the way these places always are, heightened by their foreignness and sensory memory.
It’s hot here, in Granada. It’s a beautiful, old colonial city, the oldest colonial city, in fact in the Americas. It is small, but bustling in the central square where mass commotion mixes with the languidly idle waiting out the mid day heat. Which is exactly what we should have done. Instead, we hit the streets to explore our new surroundings. Twenty minutes in we were bested and retreated for lunch and the sweet relief of a fan on full blast.
So we ate our first meal, which was delicious and cheap, and idled away the rest of the afternoon with plans in place for the next few days.
It was an uneventful first day, which is to say, perfect.