We’re in!! After 30 something countries on this journey, it’s still exciting to me every time the border officers let me in. They have the power to deny. And then it’s another new country.. new territory for me to explore! After crossing the border to Nicaragua, Mark and I decided to head straight to Granada.
It’s Walter! He’s showing me that my credit card isn’t working here. Big problem. Well it’s a little problem really. Every border crossing means I need to have the local currency to buy things. Usually I like to wait until I am in a town with an ATM so I can feel better about the exchange rate than using the dodgey people at the border willing to exchange money for us. So until I reach town, I have been lucky that most fuel stations take credit card, even though they don’t like it. Not this one! Time to resort to “El Banco de Mark”. 😉
Which is funny for me really. For weeks I was the bank for Young James. When I told James one day that the Sherri Jo bank was out of funds, Kevin became the bank for James. And I used to tease them so much! Now! It’s come back to haunt me, as I need to use Mark as the bank. We are bikers.. we help each other, always. 😉
So Mark and I make it to Granada after navigating around the madness of Managua. We had a bit of trouble finding a place to stay, but once we were settled, we head out to explore the town and find a much needed meal.
Testing out the new country and the new beer. And our chicken that is served on banana chips! Pretty good really from the grill on the street outside the Chinese restaurant in Nicaragua! 😉 But is was local Nicaraguan dish, not Chinese. If you want Chinese food you order from the kitchen out the back. We wanted Nicaraguan food from the same people on the sidewalk out the front.. ;-)) New country!
As we wandered the streets, guess who we ran into.. speak of the devils!! Young James and Kevin!! I don’t have any photos of meeting up with them. I think we got into more beers and catching up. I do however have a couple photos from the night out of Kevin’s camera.
This is Kevin’s photo. We were trying to work out what the pink stuff was. The lady explained to me you drink it, but I still don’t understand exactly what it is. So Kevin bought some! He carried this little pink bag forever. I asked him every time he’d pull it out of his motorcycle if today was the day to try the pink stuff. He’d look at it and say, “not yet”. He eventually threw it out about 3 countries later. 😉 So it’s still a mystery to me what it is, but it’s very popular in the markets!
This cute little boy is selling baby chicks!
And this woman selling the big chicks..
We wandered into the plaza and fell in love with this little guy..
This man came up to us and said he would love to take us around us show us more. We usually shy away from those guys but we both felt comfortable with this one and agreed it was a good idea. If we learn a little or a lot, it’s still better than walking around and guessing what we are looking at. So he’s hired!
First stop, (took no time to convince me) is a visit to the Cacao Museum… Chocolate!!!!!!
I learn to grind the cacao beans.
There is so much history inside the museum that shows how the Aztecs and Mayans used the cacao beans in their culture. The history trail follows right through to “Mass Consumption” as they describe for the modern times in the United States. Really good museum, well thought out. I walked away with a bag of chocolate tea. (I would have fallen into the mass consumption category and bought heaps of chocolate, but it’s far too hot and will melt instantaneously). Kevin walked away with a new tea mug.. combined with my tea, we’re set!
The guide walks us down the “Calle del Beso”, the kissing street! One thing he commented on with Kevin was that I should be on the inside wall of the sidewalk and the man should always protect the woman by walking on the outside. Kevin is only marginally shorter than I am, but he learned quickly that it feels better if he walks on the sidewalk next to me while I walk on the actual street for him to be taller. I think we both looked at each other and laughed.
Check out the traffic around here.. you can see why the guide was trying to give us the best safety advice! 😉
Now another fun stop, that really perked Kevin’s ears up, a look into making Nicaraguan cigars!
The man shows us how it’s done and then offers to let you make your own.
I don’t smoke, but Kevin made one!
After you pick which leaves you want, you roll it, then it goes into a mold and you need to squish the ____ out of it…
A very proud cigar maker he is.. 😉
We actually need to get a move on.. After all that we have accomplished in one morning, the plan is to ride to the island of Ometepe yet today!
I got back to the hotel and Mark was sure he needed to give his knee a rest today. So Kevin and I pack up for the island. The humidity is crazy, and I dread putting on my hot riding gear. But a quick goodbye to Mark for now and a very sweaty hug. See you again Mark!
Kevin, hurry up!! I need to get out of the street, the horses are coming!
We leave Young James behind as well to enjoy a few days with his best friend from England. And we’re off!