There’s so much to write about these last 24 hours. But I firmly believe blog posts are better short, so I’ve written many pages already in my private journal.
Flying over Lake Managua was absolutely surreal. The water was so expansive, you couldn’t see land – and this was from a plane. It looked like an ocean with mountains in the distant background and no waves.
The ecology is the most amazing part about Managua so far. The city is huge in mileage, with no real city center (and no street names at all – that’s pretty terrifying). As the biggest city in the biggest country in Central America, it’s home to more than a million people, but I can count the number of buildings with more than three stories on two hands. There are no tall buildings, and every view is primarily trees.
I wish I could show you all – unfortunately, it seems I’ll have a very small number of photos. Managua is the safest capitol city in Central America, but it certainly does not feel that way. Part of this safety comes from the fastest growing industry in Nicaragua: private security. The extremely wealthy hire private guards to walk around their homes 24/7. But walking past men holding very, very large guns doesn’t scream “Safety.”
Because of that, we aren’t to ever carry more than 50 cordobas (the Nicaraguan currency), which equates to about $2.50 USD, and is plenty for lunch. We aren’t to ever pull out any money in public, and we are not to carry a bag if it can be avoided. If we choose to carry a bag, we are told we must be prepared to part with its entire contents.
We also have two program interns this semester who completed the SIT Nicaragua program two years prior, and while they swear their year was extremely unusual, their semester had two robberies, one at gunpoint and one at knifepoint.
Nicaragua is not touristy, Managua even less so. The architecture is uninspiring at best. Because of the safety issues, tall fences topped with barbed wire block many of the views.
This introduction is not to imply in any way that I don’t love Nicaragua so far. I’ve never seen such a green big city in my life. The weather is absolutely amazing, with highs in the 90s every day this week. The people are among the liveliest I’ve met. The food is an adventure. And of course, the culture is expansive and fascinating. But I certainly won’t have the study abroad experience that many of my peers have had. The city’s gems may be hidden, but it’s truly going to be an adventure to grow from.