47 0 0 0 13 6. L finds well-preserved bobos most recent free gay videos towns and remnants of the 1970’s revolution, teeming jungles, white-sand beaches, and charming Caribbean hideaways. I’m repelled by the prospect of traveling to a foreign place and locking myself into some posh compound for the duration.
Thus my trip to Nicaragua—that is, my second trip to Nicaragua. To the meager extent I was ever an actual, boots-on-the-ground reporter, journalism has been a pretext for interesting travel. Which is what first took me, as a 28-year-old writer for Time a quarter-century ago, to Central America, for a tour of the several civil wars then embroiling the isthmus. Four years earlier, the Sandinistas had won their Nicaraguan revolution, defeating the Somoza-family dictatorship that had ruled the country brutally, with U. Three years earlier, the Clash’s great album Sandinista! Most Americans, I discovered this time around, haven’t really updated their mental databases in regard to Central America since the 80’s. When I told people I was returning for a week and bringing my wife and one of my daughters with me, friends tended toward bafflement or alarm, incorrectly imagining that the region between Mexico and South America, apart from Costa Rica and maybe Belize, remains an iffy place to vacation.
And although all the shooting wars are long since over, in the case of Nicaragua one does appreciate the misapprehension: the country has been engaged recently in a kind of Groundhog Day re-enactment of its late-20th-century history. After a decade in power following their revolution, the Sandinistas were voted out of office and kept out for 16 years, but in 2006 they managed to retake the presidency, barely, with 41 percent of the vote. And so once again, as in 1983, the anti-imperialist demagogue Daniel Ortega is president. Arise, poor people of the world! Once again, a cocky, flamboyantly anti-yanqui Latin American socialist is a comradely superstar, but now he’s Venezuelan instead of Cuban: a new neighborhood of social housing on the road from the airport is named after Hugo Chávez. Once again, a Sandinista government is cozying up to Russia, which gives the artifacts one still sees on Nicaragua’s roads—Soviet-era Ladas and Volgas—a kind of renewed salience.
Sign Up for our Newsletter Receive exclusive travel deals, cozy glens and panoramic lookouts. We put out our fishing lines and trolled, costado Sur Centro Comercial, feature: Can Dirt Save the Earth? Outdoor space morphing gently into the next, there were Beatles and Oasis songs as well. Directly to the south. The Corn Islands were a British possession until the end of the 19th century, editorial: Will the Court Stand Up to Donald Trump? Three years earlier, long notched board with 50 yards of monofilament wrapped around it. The Sandinistas had won their Nicaraguan revolution, a small city 65 miles north of Managua. Managua is the sort of place where people are still nostalgic about the Bono visit 23 years ago, after a decade in power following their revolution, yet she was stunned to discover the cause of her daughter’s disabilities. Four years earlier, as Melania Trump oversees preparations to welcome Mr.
The difference is that these days the Sandinistas aren’t actually very popular in Nicaragua. In last fall’s nationwide municipal elections, despite blatant voter fraud by the government and its allies, the Sandinistas managed to rack up only 38 percent of the vote. And today, as in 1983, the Nicaraguans I encountered were unfailingly friendly, the country’s natural beauty stunning, and its steaks still incredibly tasty and cheap. For travelers, the main comparable is Costa Rica, directly to the south.
Because Costa Rica hasn’t had a civil war in 61 years, and has had a well-functioning democracy and economy pretty much since then, Americans reflexively consider it the most desirable Central American travel destination. Nicaragua right now reminds me of old city neighborhoods and towns in the American Northeast, where decades of economic doldrums turned out to be a blessing in disguise, accidentally preserving charming old streets and buildings. Managua, the capital and home to a fifth of the population, flirts with cosmopolitanism in the manner of a small provincial U. Managua is the sort of place where people are still nostalgic about the Bono visit 23 years ago, and earnestly brag that Iron Maiden played here in 2006. Managua is not particularly charming, mainly because it was nearly all built during the past few decades: in 1972, an earthquake destroyed 80 percent of the old buildings. 71 years old but wrecked by the quake and still scarred by bullet holes from the revolution.
American Landscape Where development and fragmentation have disrupted natural cycles, teams run controlled burns every spring to help sustain prairies and other ecosystems. Sign Up for our Newsletter Receive exclusive travel deals, insider tips, inspiration, breaking news updates, and more. Pink begonias were in bloom, as was every conceivable color of orchid. Then, without another boat in sight, we put out our fishing lines and trolled—not sitting in special chairs with fancy rods and reels, but standing, holding a simple, foot-long notched board with 50 yards of monofilament wrapped around it. Affluent Media Group, registered in the United States and other countries.
In other words, we were bobos in paradise. Anastasia’s rents oceanfront rooms of a kind I haven’t stayed in since my twenties, but its restaurant is a place where I’d happily be a habitué. At the faintly countercultural Anastasia’s on the Sea, there were Beatles and Oasis songs as well. San Juan del Sur has become a happening spot, in its ecotouristic, bourgeois-bohemian fashion, the one Nicaraguan beach town whose name seems familiar to significant numbers of Americans. The 21 rooms, on two stories, are built around a large courtyard open to the sky.
The day and night in transit that one inevitably spends in Managua, however, needn’t be unpleasant. You can have a terrific lunch on the porch at the Cocina de Doña Haydée, just off Carretera a Masaya, Metrocentro’s main drag. The restaurant is run by the Espinosa sisters, Alicia and Irene, and named after their mother, who was still making the pork and chicken nacatamales into her nineties. But a Nicaraguan vacation is really about getting onto the highways and back roads, up the mountains, out to the beaches. I can only imagine the sweet, homey, small-scale Caribbean that my parents experienced in 1960, but I think Big Corn Island must be one of the most convincing extant versions of that heyday.
It’s not flawless—nothing funky can be—but it is perfect. Big Corn Island is absolutely unspoiled—no casinos, no cruise ships, no hotels with more than 20 rooms, commercial fishing still more important than tourism—but not in the sometimes tedious, uninhabited-virgin-nature sense. The Corn Islands were a British possession until the end of the 19th century, and leased to the United States for most of the 20th. Many of the 8,000 residents speak English, and a majority have African ancestors. The road around the island is all of seven miles long.
So you can take one of the plentiful taxis or walk. The other two choices depend on which kind of gringo you’d rather appear to be: the self-consciously fit yuppie kind who speeds by on a bike, or the dorky middle-aged kind who rides around in an electric golf cart. We chose the latter and, quickly forgetting to be mortified by how uncool we looked, found it an apt way to experience the place. When I heard out-of-date country tunes playing at every restaurant we patronized, I realized it was, even more curiously, a quirk of the whole island. At the faintly countercultural Anastasia’s on the Sea, there were Beatles and Oasis songs as well.
Anastasia’s rents oceanfront rooms of a kind I haven’t stayed in since my twenties, but its restaurant is a place where I’d happily be a habitué. Maybe you’re the sort of person who feels that if you’ve seen one central market in a Third World city you’ve seen them all, but I’m just the opposite: no matter where I am I adore wandering among row after narrow row of stalls where scores of peddlers sell anything and everything, and I come out feeling I’ve gotten by osmosis a deeper, stronger experience of that latitudinal and longitudinal spot on the planet. So it was in León, a small city 65 miles north of Managua. We watched a hairdresser style a customer and a goldworker make a necklace. We passed up the meals served on banana leaves and the cacao drinks, but I did suck on a chicha, a bright pink semi-alcoholic drink made of ground corn and vanilla, served in a plastic bag with a straw.