Lonely Planet warned us that Managua bus terminal was packed with pickpockets. Apart from a small crowd of touts around the bus station compound, I thought that it didn´t look too bad. So Zara and I went in search of an ATM, as we both had no local currency, and there should be one two blocks away.
When we couldn´t find it, we asked a couple of policemen for directions. Their response was, "Why are you walking?! Take a taxi!!" and also that it was so dangerous by the ATM it´s not worth going. Grrreat!
So we sat in the refuge of the Tica Bus station, me waiting for Astrid, and seeing whether we have accommodation for the night. The three of us ended up staying at the Casa Vanegas, a nice little hostel, and taking more taxi rides in a day then I have done in three years in London.
It was kinda fun zooming around Managua and looking at it through the taxi window, though it didn´t feel like Central America at all. We had dinner at the Food Court of an Americanised shopping mall. We taxied to Gema, Astrid´s friend´s house, in the wealthier district. They even had their own guard and swimming pool. Then we taxied to the bar areas, filled with upper class Nicas, hence also driving up the price of the drinks. We had to drastically squirrel some money away for the return taxi journey.
Poor Zara had to spend a couple of hours fending off a small hoard of locals, who persistently tried to talk to us and get us to dance. Luckily Astrid and I managed to look genuinely confused by their questions, and we watched with interest the way they almost broke into a fight, and they way they slimed up to any (single) girl walking through the bar.
Woke up early to literally walk Astrid to the Tica Bus Station, for her connecting bus to Costa Rica, where she is flying back to England. Then back to sleep, waking up shortly before lunch time. Zara very kindly allowed me to join her friend´s friends for lunch.
They were a couple of expat Americans, who considered themselves more Central Americans through years of residence. One was Micheal, an ex-actor who retained his dramatical actor talk, and entertained us for hours with his in depth knowledge of Nicaraguan politics, US elections, the hotel business (which they are now involved in), parrots (they have a pair of Amazonian parrots) and everything under the sun. His partner Eric cooked up a fantastic aubergene sandwich - coincidently vegetarian friendly! which was so good, and so filling, he even made us a little doggy bag for dinner. Shortly before we left, we met (and later gotten a lift from) another member of their office, a young Nicaraguan architect, who apparently was always on the look out for AutoCAD draughtsmen... hehehe
So spent a wonderful afternoon with some very generous people, tucked away in the safe suburb of Managua. Which suits me fine, as the real Managua seemed too difficult and dangerous to get to know properly.