Nicaragua-Day one

On the tenth anniversary of our first date my husband and I left for our first trip to his home country of Nicaragua. From the first day we met I had a very large interest in seeing his country but because of our desire to travel to Europe (several times) we had not made it there yet. In 2016 year I was lucky enough to get the entire week of Thanksgiving off of work so that meant my husband would only have to take three days off in order for us both to get the whole week off, so we decided to go for it.

As we normally we do, we took the red eye when we left Los Angeles. In the past when we have traveled to Europe the red eye has left between nine and ten at night which, believe it or not, has sometimes made us feel a bit rushed coming from work. This time our trip to Nicaragua left right before midnight so we actually had plenty of time to come home from work and wind down a little bit before heading to the airport. Since we were traveling on our anniversary we decided to hold off on the official celebration until we returned from our trip but we did have a nice dinner at a diner near our apartment before we called for the taxi to take us to the airport.

Once we were at the airport we were both excited for our trip and tired from the long day that we already had.

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Our trip from Los Angeles to Nicaragua’s capital city of Managua was divided into two fairly equal flights. The first flight took us from Los Angeles to Houston. I wanted very much to be able to sleep on the plane but I was worried that since the flight was only about three hours that I would be able to sleep enough to get any significant rest. To ensure that I was able to get at least a little bit of sleep on our flight I took a Benadryl once we on the plane.  The Benadryl did it work and I slept most to of the flight to Houston. It wasn’t the best quality sleep, like it ever is on a plane, but it was better than getting no sleep at all.

Despite the two hour time change we still got into Houston so early that the airport was mostly a ghost town.

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Both my husband and I had been struggling after the election and felt very uneasy being in a red state like Texas so soon after Hillary Clinton’s loss. I tried to take a little bit of solace in that Houston, at least, voted blue. After we found our gate I was still very tired so I actually slept on the floor of the airport for about another hour and a half as my husband played around on his phone.

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It’s kind of funny that I ended up sleeping on the floor of the Houston airport because I had only ever been through that airport one other time in my life and that was back in 1996. Back then I had an early morning flight out of New Orleans on my way back to Colorado Springs and during the layover I found myself sleeping on the floor of the airport, just like I did this time. What are the odds that twenty years later I found myself in a similar sleeping situation? Life is funny like that.

After my nap on the floor on the Houston airport I got up and got some breakfast at one of the restaurants at the airport. I was amused because I picked a little local place that had no line but the line for the Starbucks that was next to the local place I went to was super long. I will never understand people who would rather wait in the long like just for the sake of going to a chain.

Our light to Managua went by pretty fast and before we knew it we had arrived in Central America. I was excited, nervous and tired.

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As we made our way towards immigration I found myself frustrated about my lack of preparation in terms of brushing upon my Spanish. In the week and a half between the U.S. Presidential election and our trip I was such an emotional wreck that I just didn’t have it in me to continue with my lessons and as I result I felt like all the work I had done in the two months prior to our trip went down the toilet.

As we got our passport stamped we found we had to pay a $10 tourist fee to enter the country. Normally, I carry cash but since we were not in the U.S. I didn’t have any American currency on me. Thankfully my husband did so he paid for my fee. After we passed through immigration and were on our way to baggage claim to pick up our suitcases we could see my husband’s father and siblings waiting for us. I felt very nervous since they were the last members of my husband’s family that I had yet to meet.

After we picked up our bags we exited and meet up with my husband’s family.  Since my Spanish is fairly limited and their English is fairly limited we had to rely on my husband to translate but the introductions went very well.  We headed out to my father-in-law’s car and had to struggle a little bit to it both of our large suitcases into the trunk. It took a bit of creative arranging to fit them in but we managed to pull it off.

As we made our way from the airport to our hotel I tried to observe as much as possible and take it all in.

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On our trips to Europe, as well as my trip to Peru, we have arrived at night so it was completely different to arrive in the middle of the day when the city was alive and very active. There were several things I noticed on that first trip across Managua. The first was how congested the traffic was. Since I have lived in Los Angeles for the last fifteen years I am very familiar with bad traffic but the traffic we encountered while in Nicaragua was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The second thing I noticed was just how poor some of the neighborhoods off of the main street looked, this was something my husband had prepared me for but it was different to actually see it in person. The third was that at one point I saw a man with a horse and carriage. I, of course, have seen people with horses and carriages before but this was different. In this case it was quite clear that his man used his horse and carriage as a means of commerce and transportation. This was certainly very different that the horse and carriages for tourists that we saw on our trip to Spain in the spring of 2015.

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When we arrived as our hotel my husband and I checked in and quickly went up to our room to drop our stuff off before going out to lunch with his family. It was at this point that I realized that my brand new suitcase had a tear in it. This was very upsetting as I had spent nearly $100 on it the week before leaving Los Angeles. The tear was big enough that I knew it wouldn’t make it back to L.A. at the end of our trip which meant that while in Managua I would have to buy another new suitcase. This was upsetting but I think the fact my husband’s father, sister and brother were waiting in the lobby forced me to let it go and not obsess on it.

For lunch we went to a restaurant called La Finca.

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The food was very good. It came with a beef consommé and a nice little salad.

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My husband had a fish dish.

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While I had a beef dish.

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Everything about our lunch was good but my favorite was the fried Nicaraguan cheese.

 

 

 

 

My husband’s sister and brother are actually half siblings and after lunch we dropped them off at their mom’s house before going over to his father’s house. My father-in-law’s house isn’t in a very good area but he the house itself is nice. My favorite thing about his house was the little terrace he had that had a nice view all the way down to Lake Managua.

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My father-in-law also has a little kitten named Caronte who we both fell in love with.

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After having a nice visit at my father-in law’s house he took us back to our hotel.

Thankfully our hotel was close to a mall so I decided to go ahead and buy my new suitcase right away to get it out of the way. After my father-in-law dropped us off at our hotel we went up to our room and I got a bunch of cash to buy my new suitcase. We then took the ten minute walk to the mall. When we got to the mall I found a suitcase I liked but I didn’t have enough cash on me and I hadn’t brought my credit or debit card with me so we had to walk back to the hotel. I decided to just use my debit card and save my cash for later in the trip so after getting my debit card we walked back to the mall and I purchased my new suitcase. This time I picked one with the hard plastic exterior to try to prevent it from getting damaged like the one I had purchased back in Los Angeles had. It was frustrating because between the new suitcase I bought in Los Angeles and the one I purchased in Managua I ended up spending almost $250 on two suitcases over the course of a week but that is the way that life goes sometimes.

When we got back to the hotel we relaxed for a little bit. Before it was time to go to bed we found that we were kind of hungry so we went down to the restaurant at the hotel and split two appetizers, a goat cheese bruschetta and a shrimp and avocado cocktail. After our snack we went back to our room and relaxed and enjoyed the view of Managua at night before going to bed.

It had been a long day but a good one. I was excited to finally be in my husband’s home country and was looking forward to spending more time with his family and seeing more of the sights.

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Here is a description:

Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.

 

 

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