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Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite – Granada to Estelí, Nicaragua | We're Not There Yet

We loved Granada from the get-go. It is small and easily navigable, charmingly touristy, but has it’s own distinct character, the architecture is truly unique, and the costs are really reasonable. We liked everything about it… except the bedbugs.

I am no stranger to the annoyances of bug bites, but this was kind of egregious. As we got into bed last night, a healthy sized bedbug went climbing right across the sheets. R went to notify the management and try to get us a new room while I found another, bigger, uglier bedbug hidden under the sheets. We had read reviews online that this hostel had a bedbug problem, but we find that people are often quick to sound the alarm when, in fact, the problem is just mosquitos or spiders. We were also assured by our friend, who had stayed there only a week or so prior without any bug problems. But they were there, no mistaking it, and we had to scramble late-night to move our stuff to another room (a recently treated dorm room that we had all to ourselves). We were a little worried about picking up an infestation, since we, along with the rest of New York City, had a minor one about a year ago. And so, we spent our morning scouting out a new hostel and, despite the fact that this was our first full day in a beautiful city that we are really looking forward to seeing, we couldn’t muster the energy to do much besides lounge around on the hammocks for the rest of the day.

Our first impression of Granada

Let me use our trip to Estelí as a justification for our laziness. The next morning, we packed up the bikes and most of our panniers and took off early this morning to go meet Shaun up in the north, a town almost to the border with Honduras. We just took a couple small bags, then hopped on a morning bus. We were lucky to catch the bus early enough in the route that we actually got seats. The buses are a noticeable improvement over Guatemala (we didn’t have the chance to ride any buses in El Salvador for comparison), but they still pack ‘em in. Five dusty, sweaty, but otherwise painless hours later, we arrived in Estelí just in time for a very big, very loud, very pink (riddle me this?) victory parade.

These were all over the place, yet we didn’t get any photos of our own so I cribbed this one from the Internet. It reads: ‘We can keep changing Nicaragua! Christian, Socialist, Solidarity!’ And… it’s all in pink. It looks like a 5th grade girls’ sleepover party doubled as his campaign advisers. All that’s missing is a unicorn.

Daniel Ortega won the election, which was completely expected and, at least in Granada, not much cause for celebration. But in Estelí, the crowds went wild. A long parade of cars inched down the main street towards the central park honking their horns the whole while. Teenagers rode in backs of trucks, on fronts of trucks, on bicycles, on foot, dressed in the bright pinks and electric blues of the campaign’s colors, making so much noise. It all seemed to be cheerful celebration, but we were still relieved to get off the street and into the very clean, if somewhat sterile hostel, Luna. Shaun showed up later that evening with two friends and we all  made plans to meet up early the next morning for the main event: the Somoto Canyon.

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