These photos are from our neighborhood in Granada. Be careful – they may give you the wrong impression about how we are living these days. Despite the very authentic flavor of our neighborhood, I wouldn’t for a second pretend we live like the locals around here. We definitely live like the expats.Our apartment complex was designed and built by our landlord, a nice guy from Texas who moved here 12 years ago. He rents the place out to people who are considering moving to Nicaragua and want to give it a test run for a few months. The building has every amenity a US expat would expect, including a rooftop with hammocks to lounge in, a courtyard with a pool, security guards on duty 24/7 and a nice staff that cleans our apartment while we are out. I’m pretty sure this is not how the locals live.
About four blocks away are two modern grocery stores, each of which carry a variety of imported US products and produce. I refuse to buy the apples that are imported from the states (why would you when the pineapple is so good!), but I have totally indulged in treats like chocolate chip cookie mix and peanut butter. When I’m tucked away in our apartment using the WIFI, it could be easy to forget there is a third world country just outside the gate. But I only need to step out into the streets and see horse drawn carriages, Chicken Busses, and litter (oh, the endless litter) to remember where I am. I can be instantly immersed in the culture of our little neighborhood, and then retreat to my apartment when I’m ready.
It’s a nice existence. At times I feel a little guilty that we aren’t living just like the locals (remember the bunkerlike place in San Juan del Sur? Couldn’t do it.) But John reminded me that we’re still getting far more immersed in the culture than we would if we just came to Nicaragua for a week and stayed at nice hotels. We really are getting a sense for what life is like around here, and enjoying it.
I’m so glad we chose to return to Granada from San Juan del Sur, and a little bummed we’re only here for two more weeks. Nicaragua is a wonderful place. I can completely understand why so many people from the states decide to call it home.