Border Run North
I made a border run yesterday to Honduras, entering and leaving at Las Manos north of Ocotal. We left at 1:30 from Condega. The process was painless, and relatively quick. The longest delay was waiting for a car permit for Honduras to be generated. Cost was $2 out of Nica, $12 back in, about $3.50 to enter Honduras, and $12 for the Honduras car permit. $5 to fumigate the inside of the car against dengue mosquitos on re-entering Nicaragua. I tried to buy some of the fogging insecticide from the two muchachos doing the fogging, but they told me that the insecticide was the property of Nicaragua and they couldn't sell it. Where is corruption when you really need it? I'm getting low on the stuff.
Border was quiet, everyone was friendly. met a guy from Tanzania who is a CR resident, lived in NJ for 20 years, brings trucks back and forth through CA -but not from the US.
Country north of Las Manos is beautiful, worth a trip just for the scenery, and El Paraiso was pretty special too. Again, smiling faces, curiosity,, not many tourists, certainly NOT from Nicaragua. Clean roadsides, Eddy and Jairo immediately noticed the lack of billboards touting the benedictions and prosperity, y Mas Victorias of El Comandante and La Chamuca. I explained that you only see that stuff in Nicaragua and Zimbabwe (maybe Venezuela too, I haven't been there). There was a bit of it in Cuba too, but mostly Che billboards.
I asked Eddy why Honduras was so clean and prosperous, and why next door Nicaragua was dirty and poverty stricken, and he gave me the standard answer: "It's the war. . ." I guess El Comandante is still fighting it, 1985 was a long time ago .. . .could it have something to do with ....attitude and culture ?
Lot of kids in the library in El Paraiso, and a choral group practicing in the cultural center off the park. This town is a half hour north of the border on a very good road, and is worth a visit. No police stops anywhere (except when we returned to Nicaragua, of course, the one south of Somoto stopped us and inspected our papers on our return). Bienvenidos a Nicaragua!
We went on to Danlí, another 20 minutes up the road. Modern, scenic, but the day was getting short by then. We had a good pizza at a place with clean bathrooms w\ paper towels and headed back.
I got another 90 day tourist visa (don't need it, returning to the US next week, and had 60 days left on the existing visa)--and another 30 days for the car (needed that). CR and Honduras give you 90 days on your car, I don't know about Guatemala and El Salvador.
I'll fly out of San Jose, the cheaper flight will easily cover the cost of the gas there, and I have a safe place to leave my car.
So far, so good.