We stayed at a very interesting place: a Sandista-built organic coffee/cacao co-operative. How heavenly! History, politics, nature and chocolate in one place! The coffee/cacao operations are still running strong, while us backpackers occupied a side building that used to be used for housing workers. Conditions were less than desirable, but we only paid $8/night for a private "matrimonial" room and the grounds/gardens were quite tranquil.
Going to Nicaragua was a reminder of our times in Guatemala: a formerly war-torn country trying to recover and limit violence, little industrial base, cheap prices and good local food, efficient and cheap chicken buses, and friendly people (even if we were a little more guarded). Nicaragua seems to be more politically active/aware, with everything from huge political banners to "revolucion" still spray painted everywhere.
Nicaragua is the largest of Central American countries. Like almost every other country, it has a sordid relationship with the US. This story is probably more well known as it led to the infamous Iran-Contra Affair, in which Oliver North took the fall for Reagan.In short, we supported anti-Sandista factions in exchange for them supplying Iranian extremists with weapons, which we were legally unable to do. Hmm, I guess Bush did study history. What is less well-known is that my first kiss was with Oliver North's daughter. Never mind that we were in pre-school, it was still big news.
The hike through the cloud forest was fantastic. Dense growth, dwarf trees, gnarly trail...
The view from our "rustic" dwelling place - Finca Magdalena.
Rigid bike on old dirt road, bad brakes, three speeds if you're lucky, balloon tires, jeans and a tank top - what is this, Marin County 1979?
Art on the wall of our open-air ramshackle of a home. Loads of history and character.