Succulent Ceviche in Panama City

In the last seven weeks, I’ve had Ceviche on Managua’s Malecón, in San José’s traditional market, and for two straight days now in Panama City’s Mercado de Mariscos.

From inadvertently Ceviche Hopping along half of Central America’s isthmus, I feel that I’m quickly becoming a Ceviche connoisseur.

Catching the Tail End of Carnaval

It was just before dusk. Upon witnessing a seemingly mile-long line of people, and seeing an infinite ocean of folks beyond this surprisingly organized queue, I opted to walk back to my hotel, the only place I knew of that surely had food to satiate my famished soul.

Most things in Panama City were closed because it was the fourth day of the national holiday Carnaval.

I’d just arrived after an 18-hour bus ride from San Jose, Costa Rica. It would have been 15 had it not been for three hours of wasteful border bureaucracy.

After filling up on a salad and grilled cheese sandwich,  I opted to walk to the water once again. By this time two or three hours had passed, and the line was much shorter.

A Few Days in Costa Rica’s Fruit-Friendly Capital

I’d heard a lot of pessimism about San José:

It’s just an overpriced big city. There’s no reason to go.”

The main reason I drifted to this city was to make some ground through Costa Rica, as San José’s centrally located as the country’s hub.

Where I Stayed in San José

The dorm room bed in the gigantic labyrinth-like hostel set me back $13. That works for more than two nights if you’re getting hammered every evening and you just need to pass out.  It’s also fine if you’re a heavy sleeper.  Otherwise, you may have to listen to drunks, transients and all walks of life coming in and out while you’re trying to get that elusive shut-eye.

On a Mission in San José

I somehow lost my laptop’s mouse. I must not have put it in my bag. Thinking back, the lights were dim, in this, another place that advertises booze to its guests.  Alcohol pushing increases profits.  Let’s milk the tourists as much as possible. It’s simply supply and demand. People want to imbibe.

Other travelers have often commented upon how sleek and efficient my mini laptop mouse was.

Signs of Nicaragua

I like to read signs, especially in new places. Signs can add character to a country, neighborhood, eatery or place.

While strolling around the different places I visit, and when traveling from dwelling to dwelling, I usually have my simple point-steady-click-focus-click camera handy, snapping pictures of graffiti, road signs, food stuff, advertising and whatever else pops out in front of me.

Is Nicaragua Really Dangerous?

On the dark León avenue behind the gigantic cathedral, a taxi man called out to me while driving by: 

Yankee Imperialista.”

This man had a conditioned political view, and couldn’t refrain from generalizing.  Perhaps, in his eyes, I could have been a modern-day William Walker.  That’s a scary thought.  Mr. Walker was a confederate southerner who declared himself president of Nicaragua. He was eventually killed when plotting to dictate and enslave all of Central America.

Also in León, while sitting on my computer in the lounge of La Siesta Perdida, where I stayed, three Nicas struck up a conversation with me.  After finding out where I was from, one grimaced and shook his hand up and down a couple of times.  I instantly called him on his generalization by spewing out:

Flocking to San Juan del Sur

I went out of curiosity, to see the natural splendor of San Juan, my final destination in Nicaragua.

Upon witnessing this natural jewel firsthand, I understood how a resort came about.  Geographical evolution delicately formed a beach-shaped horseshoe, with hills shrouded on either side and behind.

Tamarindo: Then and Now

About eight and a half years ago I had the privilege of taking a 15-day vacation to Costa Rica. Four of the fifteen days were spent in Tamarindo.

Just yesterday, I crossed the border from Nicaragua into Costa Rica. Since Tamarindo is just a few hours from the frontier, I thought I’d pop in for a compare and contrast session: Tamarindo then, and now.

Back in ’02 I remember one little dirt strip that ran parallel to the beach, and some undeveloped hills nestled behind. There were very few accommodations in those hills, including a cozy, very affordable place where I stayed.

Beisbol is the National Pastime of Nicaragua

Upon hopping in a cab that took 10 minutes from San Jorge, where the ferry drops cars and people, to Rivas, the taxi man confirmed that there was indeed a Liga Nicaragüense de Beisbol Profesional (LNBP) game between Frente Sur Rivas and Matagalpa that particular evening.

It would be the north against the south, and the first time a night game was to be played under the lights in Rivas. The man was excited that I wanted to take in his national pastime. He assured me that I’d have no problem getting a ticket at game time.