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New Cruiser: Expeditions

The travels of an all aluminum Land Cruiser and its owners…

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Granada, Nicaragua

Written by Raenelle on Monday, December 1, 2003
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Today we paid our first police bribe. We were stopped at one of the usual police checkpoints along the highway and the policeman started being really picky about seeing our vehicle papers and licence and passports etc. When he found that everything was in order, he suddenly said that Robin had done an illegal pass further back along the highway. The policeman said that we could either pay him 200 Cordobas (about $12 US) or he would confiscate Robin’s licence. Hmm. So, after about 20 minutes of discussion (it was all rather civilized – the policeman was smiling and laughing through it all), Robin paid him 100 Cordobas ($6 US) and we were on our way again. Good job Robin!

We stopped off at the largest sugar mill in Central America which is located on a large chunk of land where they grow the sugar cane. Since it is very hard to plan things in advance in this area of the world, we tend to go where the wind blows us every day, and so we arrived at the sugar mill without an appointment! We were lucky to get a tour from a nice woman, who drove with us around the farm, telling us about how sugar caneSugar Mill is grown and harvested and made into sugar (all in Spanish, of course). We got to see the trucks and the weigh station, where they wash the sugar cane, etc. Unfortunately we weren’t able to see the main sugar-making process inside the mill (which is the most interesting part), but we managed to get into the packaging department. We were given clean white gowns, head nets and masks and went to see the final stage of the process where the sugar comes down big chutes into the bags, which then get sealed and stamped etc, and conveyor-belted out the door to the awaiting trucks. It was all rather interesting, and although there was also a rum factory on site which produces the famous Flor de Cana rum, we opted out of that tour and headed to the Bearded Monkey Hostel in Granada, a few hours away which had been recommended to us.

The hostel was a nice place with alot of character, great food and cheap international phone rates (using internet phone). This was the second time that we have stayed at a hostel-type place on this trip and been around backpackers (the first time was at Semuc Champey in Guatemala), and it is always a little strange for us. We have been so far removed from our own culture on this trip – spending most of our time among local people, staying where they stay, eating where they eat, etc. It is odd for us to be around other north americans speaking english and eating ‘chicken curry’ and ‘creamy chicken sauce with pasta’ that we almost forgot where we were in the world! Nevertheless, we had a great time and although we didn’t spend much time in Granada, it seems like a nice little town to visit.

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