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August 06, 2007


I'm glad to see you still have a positive outlook on everything and can evaluate the whole experience...I suspect many people would blame the country's failings as their reason to leave, and not look into their own errors or expectations.

I can't even imagine how much of a culture shock it's been coming back here - pretty jarring, I expect. There are days here when it's starting to get to me and I crave peace and quiet and not seeing anyone for days on end!! LOL

I spent 2 or 3 weeks Nicaragua awhile back. I wonder if it was Granada. Granada felt more like Disneyland than a real place to me. I spent a week in Esteli and a few days in Leon and I liked that much better. I did find that the people weren't as friendly as say, Guatemala or Mexico, but they did warm up to you after a while. I also met some really great people way of the beaten path at a "mom and pop" hostel en Ometepe.

Anyway, I think these places like Antigua, Granada, etc are pretty to look at but really arent working cities.

I could be wrong, my experience is short. Anyway, I'm sorry you are leaving. You put together a great blog.

after having followed your blogging from Hanoi to Granada (always really enjoying your writing), I was noticing an absence of information on Cafe Chavalos over the last months - in great contrast to KOTO-related tales previously. Interesting how two projects which looked so comparable superficially ended up so different in their impact for you...
Still, Nicaragua sounded like a great adventure, and we certainly found out a lot about the place through your posts, so thank you very much for all your writing and good luck with life "back home", whatever that means!

Hi Steve - good to hear from you. You may have had a different experience had you lived in San Juan del Sur rather than Granada. In terms of the expat scene anyway. San Juan has a much more thriving expat circle driven in part by the surfing. It's a real shame that you have left as would have loved to see you and Tiff again. Maybe back in Blighty? I'll continue reading Our Man in Newcastle

Thanks for this thoughtful post.

So sorry that you're gone! I always meant to meet up with you for a beer the next time I was in Granada. I always thought I had more time and I'm sorry to have missed the chance. At the same time, it's obvious you put a lot of thought into the decision and reasons to move on. I wish you the best of luck and thank you for what you brought and contributed here.

Thanks - all.

Minxlj - something tells me the culture shock is yet to hit. There are initial surprises but I am reckoning on some of the reasons why I left, coming back again - at some point. But then again we all have ups and downs.

Jesus - agreed. I visited Leon just before we left and I liked it very much. Esteli I liked but not sure I would want to live there. As much as I hate to admit it - Granada, as far as expats were concerned, seemed pointed towards retirees.

Susanne - yes I was aware that Cafe Chavalos was conspicuous by its absence. My lack of activity also meant not much to write about. Also I hated even more the feeling that if I mentioned CC I was taking credit for - whereas in reality I was doing next to nothing.

Claudia - thank you. Wish we could have met up too. Shame you guys were out of town when we were in it. Thank you thank you thank you. For your kindness. Say hi to the dogs for us.

Thanks Nic - and keep writing your blog. One of the few expat blogs in Nica that are more than just snapshots for family and friends back home. Keep up your great work too.

love the photos. Thx for sharing them!

yo steve,

yeah the lack of meaningful employment can be a killer. but i have to say moving to granada from Hanoi is not exactly an easy task. I can honestly say that in three years in Hanoi I was never bored - not even for a day. there is always some crazy shit going on. Granada on the other hand - while incredibly beautiful - is boring. everything seems to revolve around tourism and environment. I agree with the other poster - leon defitinitely has a different vibe - more young people, lots of students etc. but i suspect you would have run into the same issues eventually.

anyway great to see you maintain such respect for the place and its people - a true gentlemen. I guess we´ll have to get that beer another time - maybe in Bia Hoi A2 or perhaps even some dive on the bigg market.

Thanks for all your lovely posts on Nicaragua, OurMan. I look forward to hearing about your exploits in Newcastle!

"If I can no longer personally recommend Nicaragua as somewhere to live, "

What place CAN you still personally recommend as somewhere to live?

(Based on your own preferences and knowledge--1st hand or not, no matter).


By the way I like the format that you set up for your destination sites. Nice and tidy.

All the best,


I had an amazing time meeting you guys. It's too bad that you had to leave so soon. I enjoyed Nicaragua, but didn't have the chance to travel as much as I had hope. I'm planning on going back there in December to see some old friends and my students. In the mean time, I want to wish you two the best and keep me posted will you?

Take care!

GREAT post! Hopefully, it will make some people realize that moving to Central America, or anywhere for that matter, might not always work out.

Glad to see that you have made the best of a trying situation and can chalk it up to a life/learning experience.

I have been to San Miguel Allende, Antigua in Guatemala, and I was thinking of going to Grenada but I think your post answered my questions....

I have also been to a place called Banos in Ecuador which is the nicest place of all...there is an ex pat scene....and lots to do in this beautiful town....it's the nicest Ive ever been to so far...I've been all over but not everwhere in Mexico, Guatemala, visited Chile, Argentina looking for small colonial towns like San Miguel Allende...which has really changed for the worse...there's too much of an ex pat community for my tastes of retired people in the financial industry....

Anyway check out Banos...

It's a very informative and thoughtful article.

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I’ve been to both Costa Rica (2003) and Nicaragua (2006) and enjoyed them both for different reasons. As a Californian, I felt that Costa Rica was 1950's Cal and Nicaragua 1900's.

In particular, Nicaragua excited my entrepreneurial spirit to develop or manufacture for export.

Due to their eager inexpensive labor and lack of local entrepreneurial vision, they seemed clueless of how to get started harnessing local opportunities to join the economic world.

I had a great introduction to Nicaragua thru my college (Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wn.) friend Nancy, who owns the beautiful B&B Hotel San Francisco in Granada. She introduced my younger
brother, Kerry, and I to many local and expat friends who collectively showed us all over.

Then, we ventured south/west alone and hit all the little towns ending in Playa del Sur. Except for their resurfaced highway 1, the remaining dirt roads tried to swallow-up our Toyota 4x4 at every turn.

Living there would be rough except for travel pioneers who can shop and survive at local markets. (They were building a new Supermarket in Granada when we were there.)

Politically, I don’t support the Sandinistas as you do. While the people need fish...what they really need is to learn how to fish. Which will require capitalist incentives and protections to
encourage both local and foreign entrepreneurial investment incentives.

In conclusion, I think if someone wants a vacation go to Costa Rica.... if you want an adventure go to Nicaragua. Start at the Hotel San Francisco in Granada.

It' good to hear that after all that had happened you still have a positive outlook. That's the spirit!

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