The “Verge Of Civil War” In Nicaragua Isn’t As Dire As It Sounds
According to one man with a killer tan and sore shoulders.
I’m in trouble.
I sold this trip to Stab‘s powers-that-be on the idea that Nicaragua was basically on fire.
“Verge of civil war,” I said. “Barricades and violence and a potential power shift that’ll shock the nation to its core. Send me down, let me write about a surf trip into danger country.”
I had grand ambitions. I’d visit the barricades, interview those on the front lines. A little excitement and peril and maybe some perfect empty surf along the way.
Maybe I’d be able to append nonsense claims of ‘War Reporting’ to my resume. I guess I still can. It’s not like people actually fact check that shit.
But I don’t like lying, and the reality is that, if there’s still strife in the country I haven’t seen any indication.
There are some indications that things aren’t so rosy. The once ubiquitous Ortega portraits are now few and far between. Those that remain are faded and vandalized.
Anti-government graffiti adorns walls in Managua. Hastily scrawled words call the police murderers. Gringos are almost totally absent.
I was the only American on the flight in. Other than its Nico residents, and a couple from California with whom I’m sharing La Barra, Puerto Sandino is empty.
The surf is great, the lineups are empty, and unless things change I won’t be coming home with tales of adventure. Just a killer tan, sore shoulders, and the awesome experience of a two-week trip to a country that’s equipped for mobs of visitors but doesn’t currently have any.
The Nicaraguans along the coast with whom I’ve spoken seem largely unconcerned with the political environment. Those problems are far away.
The only thing it affects is their ability to earn a living.
And that affect can’t be understated. The absence of tourism in a nation that increasingly relies on it for survival is being sorely felt. The driver who picked me up at the airport in Managua explained that he’s struggling to survive. What was once a fairly decent living is now hand-to-mouth.
“Tell people to come,” he told me in half-understood Spanish, then returned to belting out Guns ‘n’ Roses and Bon Jovi for the duration of our drive.
Nicaraguans still love American 80’s/90’s pop/rock. I don’t know if that will ever change.
Four sessions yesterday, three amazing meals from La Barra’s world-class cook, cranking a/c, and ice cold Toña’s.
It’s not adventure, it’s pampered luxury.
I’m loving every second of it.
But that needs to change, and fast. If all I do is eat and surf there’s no way Stab is reimbursing my travel expenses. And I doubt anyone wants to read about how I spent five hours a day in the water and still manage to grow even fatter than I already am.
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