SAN JOSE Costa Rica. What a city. I'd probably put it on a par with some of our new towns. It could rival Livingston, East Kilbride or Cumbernauld for things to see and do within it's city limits.
Outside it's city limits is another matter altogether... Active volcanoes. Hot springs. Rain forest. Beaches. Wildlife. It's not a country to hang around in the towns and cities - it's about getting into the countryside and enjoying nature.
There is something very relaxing about hiking up and down a volcano then sitting in a hot spring at night watching lava flow down the side. Just another day on the backpacker trail...
I appear to have arrived into Nicaragua at my favourite time of year - election time! Campaigning here seems to involve painting murals on walls, marching, driving or cycling through the streets making a racket & using words like CORRUPTO in red capital letters. That doesnae need much translating!
If San Jose was, well, a bit of a dump, Granada in Nicaragua is the polar opposite. It's a beautiful colonial town on the shores of Lake Nicaragua surrounded by mountains and smoking volcanoes. It's scorchio and a primary pastime seems to be sitting in the shade shooting the breeze. I can handle that pace! I recommend fitting in some sport though, pack some beer in a cooler and get out on the lake catching some fish. That's sporty, right?
Managua, the capital is again a fairly functional capital city. Tried hard to find something exciting or interesting in it. But I found it. A statue of someone I recognised. Alexis Arguello. A three-time world champion boxer, a politician, an untimely, unexplained death not long after gaining elected office and a cameo in a Warren Zevon song? That guy's got my interest! Must check if anyones written a book or made a movie about his life - he lived enough for several lives!
Scotland's long overdue having a world class boxer again - taxi drivers in Nicaragua stumped me with the question "why do you not produce good fighters anymore?" Best I could come up with was "well we're good at tennis and cycling now you see. For football and boxing not so good..."
Bus journey out of Nicaragua to Honduras sped past - mainly as it left at 05.00 on Saturday morning - a handy time for leaving Managua's premier nightclub! My poor fellow passengers - I'm sure I must have snored all the way!