Happy New Year, I've just come back from a fabulous vacation on the Corn Islands in Nicaragua. I'm much tanner, not much poorer, and my Spanish has gone from atrocious to merely really bad. It wasn't an easy trip, with many flights, layovers, and cancellations, but totally worthwhile. This wasn't a terribly active trip, but still many stories to be told.
The original plan was to leave New York on Friday, 12/21 and stay in Miami one night before flying to the capital city of Managua and then to Big Corn on Saturday. American Airlines had other plans for us, however, as both flights were delayed so long due to lack of planes that we missed the flight to Big Corn and had to stay in Managua one night. I am grateful to the very helpful Bell Captain at the Sheraton Miami Mart, who figured out how to call tiny La Costena airlines (which American had never heard of) and communicate in Spanish to book us on the first flight out on Sunday morning.
At the Miami airport, I started to think that if the TSA wants to do something really useful, they will make it illegal to hover by the gate before your number is called. When they announced boarding for the flight to Managua, it was like the running of the bulls in Pamplona. We were graciously upgraded on both AA flights, in fact on one flight, they upgraded us after we had already taken our seats in Coach. When they gave us the "come up here to first class" gesture, I really felt that Santa had come early. At any rate, the flight was easy and short from Miami and the Managua airport is very cute and nice.
Since we had to get up at 4am the next day for our Big Corn flight, we opted to stay at the Best Western, as it is literally across the street from the airport. Unlike an American Best Western, the hotel is set up in many separate hacienda buildings, sort of like summer camp! They were also holding a rather swinging bank Christmas party that went late into the night, including midnight fireworks, which made me wake up thinking that there was gunfire outside my room. Still, it was quite pleasant and definitely a good choice for an early flight. We did take a cab ($12 USD) downtown to the Zona Rosa area, which is packed with massive discos and restaurants. Managua is a frustrating city to navigate, especially as a New Yorker, as there are no addresses or easy neighborhood designations, plus you have to negotiate cab fares when you get it (no meters). Nonetheless, we ended up a bar called Piratas, a pirate-themed bar with turtles swimming in a little pond and American music playing. We drank the first of many
Toñas (the national beer) there and contemplated the meaning of techno pop videos.
Next stop, Big Corn Island, here's a preview: