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Published: March 18th 2015
Entrance to the Plaza de la Revolucion or Revolution Square
During our stay in Granada, we decided to take a short trip to the capital of Nicaragua which is only a short distance away (an hour by bus) from Granada. It was a little disappointing as we didn't get to see much of the city except the huge plazas and monuments. Anyhow, we didn't want to leave the country without seeing something of its capital city!
On the second morning of our stay in Granada we decided to travel to Managua by a commuter bus leaving from a side street near the main square. It was easy to find the bus station and we didn't have to wait long for the bus to leave, athough it was only half full. The fare was only 24 cordobas or one US dollar per passenger, which I thought was quite cheap.
We found out later why the bus left with half the seats empty, because all along the way it picked up additional passengers whether they were waiting at a bus stop or not. The young conductor was always calling out to the people standing in the streets. It sounded like 'Managua, Managua....' Less than 10 miles out of Granada we passed
Entering the Plaza de la Revolucion.
the city of Masaya. We didn't know it at that time, or we would have stopped over there to take in some of its historical sights. We found out only later that Masaya is culturally known as "The cradle of Nicaraguan Folklore."
On entering the suburbs of Managua we noticed modern buildings, some with innovative designs. All the American fast food joints are there, such as MacDonald's, Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Anyway, we reached the bus station in Managua in a little over an hour's time. Much to my dismay, the bus station was situated in the outskirts of the city. A taxi driver approached us as we stepped down from the bus saying, "5 dollars to Managua." That was the only English he spoke though. With my very limited Spanish, I tried to bargain with him and finally settled for 300 cordobas (around $12) to drive us around for a short tour of the city. That was a mistake as he took us only to the Plaza de la Revolucion
and a couple of other places. To be fair, that was the only instance I felt cheated during the whole time we
The National Palace of Culture and Museum.
spent in Nicaragua. The Plaza de la Revolucion
or Revolution Square is indeed a worthwhile place to wander and take in some national culture. We saw the National Palace of Culture and Museum with huge banners of Daniel Ortega the current President of the country. Speaking of, everybody I spoke with in Nicaragua told me that they like their president, even though he is still considered as a dictator by the United States government and its allies. We also saw the historic Antigua Cathedral and La Casa de los Pueblos
or the House of Peoples, both very impressive buildings.
The cab driver also took us to the beach at Lake Managua and pointed out several monuments and statues, one of which was of a 'freedom fighter' of the FSLN or Sandinista National Liberation Front, the political party led by Daniel Ortega which is in power at present. After the very short tour in which we didn't even get to see downtown Managua, he took us back to the bus station. While waiting for the bus to Granada we bought some half cooked (I should say three quarters cooked) pieces of pollo
chicken from a fast food stand and
The historic Antigua church in the Plaza.
ate it at the bus stop, sharing some with a dog who was waiting patiently in front of me.
On the return journey the bus was jam packed as it was a Saturday, and I suppose many people from the small towns and villages wanted to go to Granada to celebrate the Easter holidays. In closing, I would like to mention that in Nicaragua, outside of the tourist areas, very few people speak English. I found myself automatically speaking French, thinking that since French is one of the five main Romance
languages along with Spanish, but to of no avail! So if you're thinking of going to Central or South America, do try to learn at least some basic Spanish, and traveling around in these countries will be a lot less frustrating.
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