Meeting New Friends All Around Town

Day two
April 2, 2016

New friends and San Juan del Sur

A brand new 4 mo old biter

We awoke to the barking of Molly’s four month old puppy out in the yard.  After a refreshing shower and getting dressed into our tropical clothes, we went out to see what was on for breakfast.  Lots of fruit and bread and hot coffee and tea and it was   delicious.

 The puppy was there to meet us and immediately tested his new little puppy teeth on my hand.  No blood drawn but the matter was taken under advisement and I decided to not let him do it again. He’s cute as hell and rambunctious.
Babette from Curacau

Out of one of the rooms a tall, young, blond, Dutch girl and she joined us.  Her name is Babette and she lives on Curacao, a Dutch island in the Caribbean just north of Venezuela.  She works as a speech therapist and is travelling throughout central America for the next month.  She asked us where we were going and when we told her San Juan Del Sur she asked how we were getting there and we told her we have transportation arranged by our hotel in SJDS and that if she wants to come along she was most welcome.  So for an additional $30 she joined us and we left on our journey south at 9:30. 

Two volcanos in the distance across Lake Nicaragua.

The drive south was amazing.  Our driver, Rayardo, owns his own little Toyota but the air conditioner worked and he was a good driver. He only spoke Spanish though, but it wasn’t a big deal. What a great way to see the countryside and get a feel for the people in Nicaragua.  The surprising thing are the roads and their general condition.  The highway is as good as any good secondary highway in Alberta with virtually no rough spots.  Smooth sailing and great roads all the way.  There’s plenty of traffic and lots of vendors and peculiar 3 wheeled vehicles but the average speed was about 80 Kph so the trip through the country side was great and we stopped along the way to take some pics of the volcanos on the other side of Lake Nicaragua

They sell a lot of these things along the highway.
 It took about two and a half hours to get to Babette’s hostel and then a moment or two to arrive at Rosita’s Hotel in the town.  We plan to meet her again before she leaves for Costa Rica in a few days.
Our hotel in San Juan del Sur.

After our orientation by Rosita herself we were ushered into our room which is fairly large with a couch, TV, air conditioning, fresh water bottle, a shower, refrigerator, a stove and oven, a table and chairs and an amour in which to hang our clothes.  We have bunk beds in the room but the bottom one is a full sized bed.  The showers are cold water only or what we would call tepid water at home.  You don’t need hot showers in this county and they are most refreshing.

 Rosita is Nicaraguan and John is an ex-pat from the states somewhere and they are both delightful people to get to know.  They greet all their guests personally and we got to know some of the others as well during our orientation.  We noticed that the refrigerator wasn’t working and we really needed it in order to keep some of Maggie’s medications cool.  We got hold of Rosita and she had a maintenance person come to our room within a few minutes to fix the problem and away we went.

Our room at Rosita’s.  I make Maggie sleep on the top bunk.

Exploring San Juan Del Sur:

 So it was Noel Coward who wrote “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.”  Well I’m neither a mad dog nor an Englishman, but we still went out in the noonday sun and discovered what hot is all about.  While the temperature was only a mere 34 C the effect with the 98% humidity was 44 C and we felt every single minuscule degree while we went for our walk. We looked for relief in every step of the way and found the shady side of the street was better.  Duh!
So this is how you wire a lamp.
Always wondered.

I’d love to see the drawing
for this.

San Juan Del Sur is a small town of about 8,000 people dedicated to the pleasures of surfers and tourists.  It’s a bit more expensive than other places throughout Nicaragua because of that, but inexpensive compared to anything you might find in Canada, US or Europe.  It’s a colourful town with no two colours dominant unless you count pink or green.  Well there’s lots of blue around too.  The buildings are probably not up to any code that exists in our countries, (spoken like a true safety officer) but that’s ok too.  In fact I can hear comments by some of our famous people back home telling me how they would have to come and fix all the f%&&^%k ups because it’s so bad. Regardless we like it here and construction issues aside, it would be a great place to live I think.

 While talking about construction issues, I met an expat that has lived here for 17 years and he told me that when he and his Canadian partner began building their hotel, he noticed that the electricians hadn’t put any ground wiring in as an economy measure so he brought his friend down from southern California to re-wire the entire hotel to bring it up to American code just so that he could sleep at night.
Tona beer.  OMG it’s good.

 In the afternoon we went for walk into town and got the lay of the land.  The beach is beautiful and is only half a block from our hotel.  It is well populated with horses and dogs and hundreds of people both well tanned and those that were slowly being incinerated to a crisp.  Sunscreen is mandatory in this climate.  We sat in the shade at a bar and watched the Nicaraguans who were watching the football (soccer) game on the big screen TV’s roar at every possible moment whenever a goal was scored for their national team.  It was loud, raucous, but so much fun and the beer was good and we really enjoyed being in the crowd.

 Shopping in SJDS is like every other third world country.  There is a whole bunch of really cheap stuff that costs too much and therefore should be avoided.  There are probably fifty clothing stores throughout the town and surf shops.  We found two pharmacies so we know where to go if we need to.  There are lots of convenience stores on every block and they carry all the necessary things that you might want as well as beer and soft drinks and cold water.  Oh and while I’m on the subject of beer, a six pack of Tona beer is C$150 or about $5.50 USD or roughly $7 CAD.  I can live with that.  Tona beer is excellent and I’ve grown fond of it for some reason.
 The clothing is colourful and light and it’s best to shop around a lot and never buy anything from a street vendor as you can be assured of being ripped off.  It’s also best to pay in Cordobas if you have them as the exchange rate is seldom adhered to and they will short change you nearly always.  Most everything is priced in the local currency and at this time it’s about US$1.00 to C$28.  In most cases they round it out to about 15 to 1, so you are definitely better off to go to one of the ATM’s and there’s lots of them around and get Cordobas in your pocket to pay for things.  By the way all ATM’s are behind closed doors and often there is a security guard standing there to prevent others from going in when you are transacting your business.
The patio and cooking section for guests at Rosita’s.

 After our evening walk we went back to the patio and met some other travellers around the table and had a great discussion on politics and how irritated everyone seems to be in the US these days.  Nobody felt that you know who will ever get in and all agreed it would be a disaster if he did.

 After we came back into the cool of the room Maggie settled down and I started this blog and then the power went out.  Holy crap did it ever get hot fast in this room.  Finally after about an hour of putting up with the heat we decided to go for a walk and discovered that just about everyone has an emergency generator and the Gelato place was doing a thriving business as were the other places that sold cold drinks around town.  We bought some Canada Dry Ginger Ale and some Lay’s chips and went back to our place again as the power came back on.
 So that was our second day and we will see you all tomorrow.
Tom & Maggie
 Because our hotel is so central it’s easy to escape back to the beautiful air conditioning from time to time and when we went back that afternoon we dropped off in a nap and enjoyed it.


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