February 22nd 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Downtown Managua

And today on to Managua.  Not an auspicious start to the day tho’.  Yet again, a frustrating amount of walking, even before we could find some breakfast.  In the end we settled for a somewhat unsatisfactory meal in the same comedor we’d used the night before.  And then, to find a bus.  This proved even more of a problem.  Eventually, we were able to find the bus stop, but bus after bus passed by, all full to bursting, + most of them proclaiming they weren’t going to Managua, + in any case they didn’t even stop long enough to give one a chance to pick up one’s bags, let alone ask a question… let alone get an answer.  If a young man who lived + worked in a cake shop on the corner hadn’t taken pity on us, we’d be there now.  He was able to forewarn us of a Managua-bound bus, + then stop it for us.  It was just as crowded as the rest, but somehow or other we struggled aboard, + managed to find a place for our bags where they didn’t knock the bus out of gear every time we went over a bump.  Eventually, in fact, we were able to get a seat, + tho’ we were extremely nervous about our bags, one of which (we hoped) was jammed under the dashboard, + the other (we hoped) on the roof, the rest of the journey was cramped but relatively restful.

Our fears were unjustified too – arriving at the outskirts of Managua, we found both safe + sound.  And then… fun + games, fun +games, tho’ it didn’t seem so at the time.  It was our own fault, really.  From the bus terminal, we asked for a bus to the city centre, + were indeed directed onto a bus.  We then spent over an hour on this bus, travelling round + round, never passing more than suburbs.  Eventually, out of frustration, we transferred to another bus – or glorified pick-up – which did the same with us.  And nobody would tell us where the centre was!  Then we got out + took a taxi – and he didn’t know where the centre was.  Eventually, Val had an inspiration, + got the driver to take us to the Tica bus terminal, + from there we found a gringo hospedaje, where we sat, angry + frustrated.  Stupid us!  Managus doesn’t have a centre.  There was an earthquake 10 years ago, + they haven’t got around to rebuilding yet.  Still, after a couple of beers, a meal, + watching Superman II, we started to calm down a little, + even enjoy the place – it is cheap (when you change money on the black market.)

Trusting that all will be well when you consign your bags to wherever they will fit has increasingly become normal, and as yet has proved reliable.  But it is hardly surprising that we found Managua so confusing, when it was unlike anything we had ever encountered.  My comment about them “not having got around to” re-building is almost certainly unfair, but I don’t know enough about the economic and political organisation of the Sandinista government to make a meaningful comment.

I need to go through a couple of pieces of “housekeeping” regards the site, to let those of you who receive these posts as daily emails what has been happening.  You will have noticed that, in parallel with the daily posts of 40 years ago, I have now begun to add more occasional posts which document the work I am doing with a refugee group housed in the Holiday Inn in Wembley.  There shouldn’t be any confusion as to which is which, but if you want to read the introduction to the Wembley posts, you need to visit the actual website.

In fact, as I messed things up with posting my own comments on the travel diary yesterday, that is also where you need to go to read them.  I have updated that post, and it now shows my own modern commentary, but by then the emails had already gone out, comment-less.  

I hope that’s not too confusing

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