Nicaragua

Back on the mainland, protests in Managua (Drive Day 81 minus 14 years)

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Managua, photo by Gary Geboy

There’s a CAFTA trade meeting underway in the capitol when we return and hundreds of cops and military soldiers line the streets in full riot gear. At least 1,500 marchers, mostly farmers and students, rally against provisions in the trade deal that will undermine their meager livings. As usual, astounding artistry pierces through the smoke and fury.

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Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

Keeping up appearances (Drive Day 80 minus 14 years)

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0918a ni ci dad haircutDad’s flying back to Managua with us to try and resolve some legal issues so he decides he needs a haircut. On Corn Island, the barber comes to the resort’s nicest bungalow, an island-style house call. Meanwhile I have to say goodbye to mom. She has to stay and guard the property while dad’s away.

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Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

If this were a monopoly game, I’d get the boot (Drive Day 79 minus 14 years)

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Dave Bruce

We play every board game I haven’t played since childhood, including the Monopoly game I got for Christmas on the first Pan-American road trip in 1973. That night my parents let me stay up ‘til midnight and I got a hotel on Boardwalk that made a killing. Now they have a hotel on Corn Island that has never had a paying guest and it’s killing them.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

All’s well if the beer stays cool (Drive Day 78 minus 14 years)

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0916 ni ci beer coolerOn Corn Island we find ourselves going to bed later and sleeping in later – not so much in rhythm of the daylight but in slavery to electricity. When the power’s on you’re in the mood to stay up and socialize. When it cuts out and the heat seethes, it’s better to stare at the sea or sleep.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

Full moon crazy in Corn Island (Drive Day 77 minus 14 years)

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0915 ni ci full moon

The list of reasons sane people wouldn’t build a dive resort on this particular island off the coast of Nicaragua is unending. No medical facilities, no phone service, no reliable electricity, a regularly flooded gut-busting dirt road and even more regularly gut busting canned food would be my top five. Then there’s having to dig your own septic tanks, bales of drug-bust marijuana floating up on rocky beaches, and “insurance” bribes for neighbors to rat on arson threats. But when the full moon rises and casts a shadow over the sparkling sea the shape of a whale I can see why my parents still dream.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

When the roads aren’t dangerous enough, try an old Russian prop plane (Drive Day 76 minus 14 years)

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We’ve found a place to safely park our camper for a side-trip. My parents are living on an island 40 miles off the Caribbean side of Nicaragua. We could travel by river upcountry, then transfer to a few collectivos or horseback to get to Blue Fields and then take a twice-weekly food barge to Corn Island. Or we can buck up, swallow some Dramamine and fly La Costena airlines. When you have to stand on the same scale as your luggage to make sure the flight can get off the ground it’s time for another gut check. Then there’s the duct tape above my seat that doesn’t quite seal off unidentified clear fluid dripping onto my neck. My dad says these planes are left over from the days when Russia was a regular Nicaraguan trading partner. It’s not comforting.

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Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

Where there’s pain there’s power (Drive Day 75 minus 14 years)

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I’m not sure what brings most tourists to Managua. But if you’re lucky enough to be a traveler here, its charms will have enough time to sneak up on you. Take art, for example. From music to ceramics to oils, this place explodes with expression. We meet kids at the national music school who give us an impromptu jazz piano concert.

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It’s as if all those decades of war gave artists ammunition of their own. We are riddled through with awe. I’d become a collector if I weren’t traveling in a tin can. These three pieces come along for the rest of the ride.

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Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.