Saturday, December 1, 2007

Arrived Safely

We arrived safely in Managua, and were quickly picked up by the hotel shuttle for the short trip from the airport to the Best Western Las Mercedes Hotel. Its $96 per night, and the room is very basic and somewhat rundown. But we are only here overnight and then a shuttle service picks us up in the morning to head to Granada. It does have free Internet, but getting used to their keyboard is an adjustement!

I have been reading a book on Nicaragua published by In Focus by Hazel Plunket, and she is very ominous:

"An estimated 75% of the population are now unable to adequately feed or clothe themselves and 60% are out of work. Cuts in spending on health and education, the removal of food susidies and the loss of agricultural credit have combined to worsen the situation of the majority. In an attmept to make ends meet women, men and children have taken to the streets, where they sell any assortment of goods. The compeitition is fierce and the returns miniscule. In desparation, others have turned to crime and prositution, which are invariably more lucrative. Before 1990, Managua was safe to wander in, but it is now becoming increasingly dangerous and attacks on foreigners have become commonplace."

On the other hand, the Lonely Planet describes Nicaragua as the safest country in the Western Hemisphere, second only to Canada. It also says its the second poorest, second only to Haiti. We should be fine: we´re leaving Managua tomorrow (the dangerous capitol), and most of the trip will have a guide-driver-translator with us.

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