Up until now we had avoided Managua at all costs. It was just the place where the airport is located, a necessary pass-through on our way to the beach. Friends who had lived in Managua for a couple of years (something I could not even fathom) told us it has nice areas and that they much prefer Managua over Washington DC (where they live now). Other friends who live in beach communities in Nica told stories of going to Managua for a weekend getaway, to eat sushi in the movie theater, go shopping, etc. None of this seemed like anything I wanted any part of, until now. Now I get it.
It started with a precious pup with a limp. We came back from surfing one morning and our big 85lb, 10 month old puppy Lobo was limping. We assumed it was a result of standard roughhousing with his buddy Rocco the Rottweiler and didn’t think anything of it. Seven days later he was still limping and whimpering in pain. We made an appointment with Raymari – the only US style vet that i’ve seen in Nicaragua – and since it’s a 3 hour drive each way to Managua, we got a hotel reservation at Hotel Casa Naranja as well.
Of course on the day of the vet appointment, 9 days after the limp started it mysteriously vanished! Classic case of just needing to make the appointment to have the ailment cured. But, we’d already paid for our hotel room, so we decided to make the trip anyways, get Lobo a check-up and blood test, and do some shopping.
Raymari is right across the street from Price Smart, so we popped in to make a wish list.
Price Smart is Managua’s Costco. We don’t have a club card but our trusty taxi driver does, so we put together a list of items for him to buy us the next time he’s in Managua. Kim was pretty psyched on the foam surfboard and the porch furniture!
I got really excited about this big inflatable raft, thinking it would be really fun to try in the surf during retreats like my friends and I did in Hawaii a few years ago! We added things like feta cheese, mixed nuts, tequila, big boxes of granola bars, huge bags of dog food to our list and got out of there before we wanted every item in sight!
Casa Naranja was recommended by two different friends as a really cool dog-friendly place. It exceeded our expectations with a comfy room, stylish setting, and excellent coffee!
For dinner we took a walk around the block to check out El Tercer Ojo for some fusion cuisine. Bamboo buddha decor, colorful mood lighting, tables in front of couches over-looking the street, and a varied menu with lots of appetizers, had us feeling groovy. We ordered a bowl of olives, eggplant on toast, chicken caesar salad, baby back ribs, sushi, and gin and tonics – all dishes we don’t eat very often (never!) out in the countryside. The food was good (not excellent) but we were totally digging the scene.
In the morning we hit the mall, Metrocentro, and bought the outfits that we’ll wear at our wedding! (We’re getting married in Nica in March!) We hit up La Colonia – the same grocery store we have in Chinandega but a much larger version, then stopped by a Bavarian Deli on the way out of town for awesome German sausages and a few beers to hold us over in between home brewing sessions.
All in all, Managua exceeded our expectations and now our friends who take mini vacations in the big city don’t seem so crazy!