Here are the last street art pictures from Costa Rica.
Missed part 1? Click here:
Street Art in Costa Rica (part 1 of 2)
While I am not in Costa Rica any more I will finally post these street art pictures I took there about a month ago.
The Caribbean coast of Nicaragua doesn’t have any beaches or places where the normal tourists end up, but is very beautiful and interesting in it’s own way. Here you can find amazing rivers and small villages with different indigenous people from Nicaragua, like the Miskito. If you still want to see tropical beaches you only need to go out to the islands outside the coast and you will find your postcard vacation.
Note that when traveling with ferry or steamboat you sometimes need to show your passport, and a copy of it is not always enough.
Long thin rivers like the one going to Rama
Wow I can not believe it’s already been a week here on the island of Ometepe. There are so much outdoor activities to do here and the nature is just amazing. Although there are almost no tourists on Ometepe at the moment (probably due to low season) I have spent a lot of time with the few travelers that I met here, as well as with some locals. So what did I end up doing during this week?
Besides the list above you can rent a motorbike for US $20 per day to explore the island. There are also a natural spring and a water fall to visit, as well as a ton of small charming villages. All in all, Ometepe left me with a really positive impression and I really recommend it as a travel destination for people who likes spending time in the nature.
After Bluefields I take a panga/speed boat to Rama. This journey takes 2 hours and goes on a beautiful river with a few families living scattered out along it. If you plan to take this trip I recommend you to bring a big plastic bag for your luggage (or yourself) because the panga doesn’t have a roof or any other cover, and it rains quite a lot in this area even though I was lucky.
The panga trip feels quick and when arriving to Rama I check into one of the hostels I find while walking the city. As soon as I move into my new room I see a particularly strange part of the interior design that I don’t know what to think about. The room number is written on the toilet paper holder. Not only this, but the toilet paper holder is not placed in the bathroom but in the livingroom/bedroom.
I leave the hostel and go to an outdoor restaurant/BBQ instead, but they only have one table so I sit down with a family already sitting there. This has happened to me before in India, but that time I ordered what I was thinking was two big main dishes and get two small meat balls instead, while my table mates are eating a huge dinner. Back to Rama, I have both dogs and people looking at me while I eat. One guy comes to the table and asks me for a little bit of food, but I give him some money instead. The woman next to me comments, after the guy left, that he will only use it for booze.
After the restaurant I find a pub and sit down in the bar area. Only 5 seconds passes before a drunk guy invites me to his table. They are two friends sitting there, and the guy inviting me likes to impress his friend by showing that he can speak English with me. I want to practice my Spanish as well but every time I speak Spanish the guy tells me to speak English instead. The conversation is poor as the guys English is really limited, and I quickly realize he translates wrong every time to his friend. I tell them that after my beer I need to go, but the guys kind friend order everyone one more beer. We “speak” a little bit more and I realize the guy trying to speak English is “translating” to his friend that I will pay for all their beer during the night. I quickly drink up, tell them how nice it was to meet, pay my own beer and call it a night.
In the end of my stay on Little Corn Island I had a strange pain in my lung that came when I was inhaling. Because there is no hospital on the island I waited to check this to when I arrived to Big Corn Island shortly after. There, after 2 hours waiting for my turn the nurse (through a translator) tells me “Here we only test pee-pee and poo-poo”. There are actually an ultrasound machine on the island, but not at the hospital she tells me. When I trace the place down the people working there inform me that the ultrasound machine is only there one day per month. Anyway, there is a machine in Bluefields where I already have planned to travel to the next day, perfect.
When I arrive to the hospital in Bluefields the reception woman redirects me to the sub director of the hospital. I find him and am lucky enough to find somebody to translate for me again. After a short discussion I get an ultrasound order and the translator/nurse shows me the way.
-“Do you believe in God” she asks me. I wonder where this will go, and curiously answers her question. She tells me that this is a making of God, that I can skip the waiting list until November [2 months later] and do the ultrasound test already today.
In the waiting room there are only me and a dozen of pregnant women, together with a statue of Jesus. Some hours goes by and then it’s my turn.
After the test is finished I get an old lady, who is also visiting the hospital, to translate my test results for me. She just concludes the whole document into one sentence:
“Everything is cool”
Bluefields gave me a really good vibe straight away. Maybe was it also the feeling of being on the road by myself again, an incredible feeling of freedom and uncertainty which I have become addicted to. I was also glad for all the possibilities of being in a big town, in comparison to living on Little Corn Island.
Although I do not see any other foreigners in the city it doesn’t make people stare at me. Actually I have noticed the same in a lot of places in Central America, which is nice as I am quite tall and impossible to blend in into a group of locals. The feeling here is a bit raw, in a positive way, and people seems very real without any social layers telling them how to be or act.
Bluefields have a reputation of being the refueling port for Colombian drug smugglers and this is confirmed when the music on the radio in a restaurant is interrupted by a news announcement. The traffic here are mostly Marijuana and “white lobster”, also known as cocaine. The nickname comes from smuggling boats that dumps their cargo before getting caught by the police. Then local speedboats find these packages, or they get washed up on the shore for some lucky(?) person to find it. Within one day of arriving to the city a guy on the street already tries to sell me something. This is nothing new in the Caribbean, but is usually more concentrated in the areas where the tourists are located.
The place where I am staying is a dirty family owned hotel placed next to what I suspect is a brothel. The cost for a single room is C$120 (less than 4 euro) and included in the price is shower-creme/shampoo and a condom from Vietnam. After dropping my toothbrush on the floor I quickly decide to buy a new toothbrush.
Somewhere between 2 and 5 every morning the neighbor’s rooster wakes me up. I am somewhat used to this from living on Corn Island where, again, my neighbors had several roosters as pets. I try to visit a cock fight one night to get my revenge, but the fight is mystically cancelled. Cock fights are legal in Nicaragua and somewhat common in a selection of the country’s cities. In Bluefields the cock fights can be found s few times per week behind a house in the Fatima neighborhood.
When walking around in Bluefields, even in the middle of the center, you quickly realize how open and welcoming all the apartments are. You might think an apartment is a restaurant until you take a glimpse inside and see the family in front of the television. This feels like a big contradiction as most houses have high security with metal bars or barbed wire but at the same time are so open to visitors.
There are a lot of cars in the city, and with at least 80% of them being taxis you never have to wait more than a minute to find a ride. The cost for a normal taxi ride here is C$12, about 40 Euro cent. In Nicaragua people share taxi but pay individually, which means that the taxi you jump into might not go to your destination first, but why hurry?
A strange fact is that about half of the cars have no number plates. On [Big] Corn Island no number plates are standard but on the mainland the idea is for all cars to have them. Bluefields seems to be in some kind of gray zone for this law and I can not find any local that can explain this phenomena.
The nightlife in the city is really good with a lot of great bars to choose from. Don’t be surprised when everyone clears the dance floor after each song. This is because there are a few seconds pause between the songs and with very varied music people only dance to the songs they like, but most of the songs fills the dance floor again (probably with the same people as before). Don’t expect to meet a lot of other foreigners in the bars or night clubs, although people here tell me that in May the high season starts with a month long party and then there should be more tourists passing by. I was lucky to instead stay in Bluefields on the 30th September when the Feast of Saint Jerome takes part, which is celebrated with fireworks and people dressed out like fat ladies with face masks.
How to summarize a city like this? One day when walking into a pharmacy to ask for a headache pill to cure my small hangover the clerk working there recommended me to drink a small beer instead.
That is Bluefields.
For a small 7 minute documentary about music and culture in
Bluefields, visit this link.
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