Michael Cooke


Michael Cooke

We are Mike and Zoe. Two twenty somethings who decided it would be a good idea to quit our jobs and go and travel the length of Central America. Our past experience of travel is limited to short holidays. Most adventurous of which was a recent trip to Iceland. Safe to say, this is a little out of our comfort zone...

After a slightly underwhelming experience on the Corn Islands, it was time to move on to pastures new. Before this, however, was the small matter of a night in Nicaragua’s capital Managua, another 30 hour bus journey and a stopover in San Salvador, El Salvador’s notoriously rough capital. As we had one night to waste in another grimy inner city before we could set off (due to having missed a bus by a matter of minutes after our German friend asked a taxi to stop for rum en route) we decided to book into a hotel within the bus terminal as the area around didn’t look too inviting. We scraped together enough spare change to afford a meal of rice and an unidentified meat that was mainly fat and gristle, set our alarms for 4am and ... read more

So after a week of Central America we are making our way through our third country, Nicaragua. The country is characterised by its many volcanoes, lakes and beaches, each of which we have briefly sampled in our short stay so far. By far the most beautiful place we have visited in Nicaragua so far is Laguna de Apoyo. Formed in the crater of a volcano and surrounded by volcanos on all sides, the Laguna is in a picturesque spot. As it is heated by the volcano, little pockets of warmth exist throughout the lake, which is 200 meters deep in the centre making it the lowest point in Nicaragua. It is necessary to pay a fee to visit the Laguna, which is accessible only by the resorts which have sprung up around its edge. We chose ... read more

It had only been a day since we left New York (delays weren’t voluntary this time, sadly) but it already felt like we had been on the road a fair while. Our first stop was Panama City. Our first signs within the airport were good but a little disconcerting. We arrived at immigration expecting a barrage of questions and an interrogation worthy of Panama reputation as the stricter of the Central American countries. What actually happened was a reasonably cheery lady didn’t really bother to look at the form and took our photos and fingerprints before waving us through. It struck us that we were pretty much the only ‘gringo’ tourists on our flight or indeed any of the flights at that time. We weren’t quite sure about what that said for Panama tourism industry or ... read more
Little boy
The other carriages of Granada
Street seller

I'd be lying if I said we noticed anything remarkable on our approach to State College. It was 4am, we'd been on the go since 7am; in short, it was dark and we were tired. Alison and Yeti mercifully collected us at 4am and we headed straight to bed! Later that day, after a few hours of precious sleep, the exploring began. First, we hit the local shops and they didn't disappoint. These included a sports wear store selling a variety of guns and several supermarkets severely lacking in alcohol, which is sold almost exclusively at designated stores. Wandering around, we noted the strange names Americans give to their produce (Zucchini, heavy cream or meat free beans anyone?) and the strange flavour combinations. We won't be trying Caramel and Cheese Popcorn anytime soon... As we navigated ... read more
Amish brothers
Joyriding Amish style
Carp carpet

North America » United States » New York » New York » Manhattan June 2nd 2015

After a three hour delay (voluntarily, in exchange for some free flights for our next trip…) we touched down at 8:30pm local time. What we hadn’t considered when agreeing to a later flight was that, by the time we had done all the customs malarkey and the officials had laughed at ‘Notting-ham’ on Zoe’s passport for some unknown reason, it was nearing 10pm. After briefly considering our options for getting downtown, we opted for the relatively cheap subway. This was our first mistake. There are many ways to describe New York’s subway system. Clean, user friendly and well signposted are not among them. Two hours later and we had been shouted at by two officials, seen some interesting characters, been given directions by a friendly, if somewhat shady looking, Mexican man and got on the wrong ... read more
Downtown Manhattans version of a traffic light...
One of the many salesmen
Not an easy task

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