October 3, 2015: Weekend in Granada

It is our very first weekend in Granada, Nicaragua.  We get to just relax this weekend, we have no demands on our time.  We like that.

We got up this morning and got the kids ready and went to the ChocoMuseo, which is not far away.  It is a small, free chocolate museum that offers an all you can eat breakfast buffet for about twenty one dollars for four people, quite a good deal.

It was very hot while we ate breakfast, Dominica was feeling like she was going to pass out.  Breakfast was nice.  There was a little cacao garden there so you could see chocolate growing next to us while we ate.  It was a fun time.  The cacao husk tea was quite good.

The girls had fun walking around the facility exploring.  We met someone who took them to see the rabbits that live in one of the gardens.  They had a lot of fun.  It is a beautifully converted mansion that used to be a hotel and spa.

This aspect of Granada reminds us of Morocco where the outside of the buildings tend to be non-descript and the insides are amazing.

After breakfast we walked to the corner store and got a few backs of groceries and then walked back to the house.

This afternoon I set out to find a book store that carries Lonely Planet books in English that we had heard about.  That did not take too much to find as I am getting better and better about learning how to navigate the city.  While I was out today I managed to discover where a number of great looking restaurants are and where the big pedestrian way was that we had seen when we took our horse drawn carriage ride earlier in the week.  I picked up the Lonely Planet guide to Nicaragua just so that we could have it in a paper copy.  I also got the Barefoot guide to Central America as we are thinking about hitting Honduras and El Salvador while we are in the area.  And maybe popping into Costa Rica too.

Since I was out and about I took the time to walk down the big boulevard that leads down to the lake.  It really was not a long walk at all.  Very nice.  I made it down and checked out the park down there just a little bit.  Not a ton of people were down there, but a few.  Many more vendors selling water and hot dogs than there were people to buy them.

The waterfront in Granada is a bit odd.  There is this lively bar scene, a huge family park and a few restaurants way down on the water going south of the city.  Then there is downtown.  In between is a bit of an odd wasteland of nothing but a gorgeous long boulevard connecting the two regions.

On the way back from the lake shore I ended up having some guys ask me to buy pastries off of them to support their families.  So I bought a bag of pastries.  There were five guys together selling them.  I had nothing small than five hundred Cordobas and to make sure that they could make the sale, since they did not have any change, the several of them took to bicycles and rode all over to find me change so that they could sell me the pastries.  Five hundred Cordoba is very roughly twenty dollars.

So I ended up hanging out with the guys for a while.  I got to know them a bit.  They asked for forty Cordoba to get some vodka.  So I gave it to them and one of them ran around on a bicycle getting the cheapest vodka you could imagine.  And we all sat out on the boulevard in the middle of town drinking vodka.  All very surreal.

I left the guys and came back through the shanty town south east of where we are staying.  It was an interesting walk back.  One of the surprising things is just how safe it feels being anywhere in Nicaragua.  No matter how poor an area you are in, everyone is very friendly.

I came home and showered, after Dominica and I had some pineapple pastries, and then in the evening we all walked downtown to Reilly’s Irish Pub because we liked the sound of fish and chips.  All of us ended up ordering fish and chips except for Luciana who got mac and cheese (but ended up wanting Liesl’s fish anyway.)

After our dinner we walked down to the “strip” of all of the restaurants and found a gelateria and got ice cream for the family.  It was not the best ice cream but it was decent.  While we were there a little girl, maybe twelve years old, came up to us and asked us for our take out mac and cheese.  I showed her what it was and she took it happily.

This is the first time ever that we have experienced someone actually asking for leftover food like this, and a little girl no less.  This is definitely a degree of poverty around us that we are not used to.  It is very sad.

We had a great time out tonight and are excited to be having a chance to get to actually explore Granada.  What a cool city and much more nightlife than we would have guessed.