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Published: December 29th 2018
To Everyone best wishes for an enjoyable Xmas-New Year's break.
I'm back here in Nicaragua at the start of a 7 week sunny escape, beginning with San Juan del Sur, a traditional surfer and retired expat community. San Juan del Sur has turned out to be a great tropical acclimatizing spot....very friendly and helpful Nicas, hot sun and breezes, shuttling around in 4WDs with surfers and boards to picture perfect surfing bays, ceviche salads and beer at some really nice but under-utilized beach bars, the occasional parrot with howler monkeys in the bush, beach and headland hiking and swimming. But I guess if you're not an avid surfer, a week is probably enough. Onto Ometepe island next week.
Friendly hospitality here has always been a keynote to a Nicaraguan visit, but now with fewer of us tourists, we get downright tampered. Since Nica troubles started this past April, Nicaragua has lost some 1/2 million jobs in a population of around 8 million (on a pop. basis, that's equivalent to Canada losing 2 million jobs). To say nothing of lost lives, flight and repression. We have to put up with Trump, Nicas have to put up with Ortega. Expats have
"everything" for sale. Hotel occupancy is probably around 20% (per SJDS's top surfer Hotel/Shuttler). For the Nica hosts it's tragic, no quick recovery in sight, talk of exit strategies; for the tourists it's very safe, all sorts of under-utilized, upscale options going for a song, and always smiling, friendly Nicas....despite the pain.
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