This year’s trip to Nicaragua has come to an end. We flew back yesterday and in leaving, I always feel like a piece of me is missing or staying behind. Anyone who has read my posts regularly may know by now that Nicaragua is an annual trip for my family and I. I’ve been going for over 12 years now and the changes in the country and in my life astound as I reflect back over the time.
The humble Nicaragua I first met over a decade ago has evolved in so many ways. More free trade zones, the possibility of a canal, more eco-tourism, even the municipal landfill of Managua is more organized. I think the biggest surprise of all over the last couple years has been the growth of Granada, a decent sized colonial city about and hour to an hour and a half from the capital, Managua. European type cafes and bakeries now populate the city in great quantities. Hotels are always overflowing and the open air markets bustling with activity. The attention given to the unique or different(chocolate spas, waffle houses, themed restaurants and bars) definitely gives the city a diverse feel in comparison to other cities in Nicaragua. And yet there is still a lot of the Nicaraguan culture preserved so that tourists can get a taste of the handmade goods, food, drink and of course, the Nica sayings.
Despite all of the changes for what I would say is good in the country–especially as it has opened it up to more visitors–the extremes are still well, very extreme. Poverty is beyond any sort I’ve seen in the U.S. and its effects on the people are hard to watch. It’s also crazy to see a house priced at half a million dollars or a hotel room at several hundred per night in a country where someone working extremely hard earns maybe sixty dollars a week (and that is really decent). It’s hard to explain but I feel like these extremes and this country in particular has triggered the greatest changes in me and the way I think. I’m interested to see what the future holds for both of us and where our paths may cross again.
No moral this week, just a bit of change. Happy writing!