Overall, I love Nicaragua. It's cheaper and less touristy. The people are super friendly. Not that Costa Ricans are unfriendly, but I found more people engage me in conversation here. Of course most of them have been men anyway! I find that in Costa Rica, I'm very unremarkable as well. There are many people with my colouring, skin and eyes both. I find Nicas are much darker in general, so I'm more exotic here, it seems, especially when they learn I'm Canadian.
There are a number of cooperatives around in both countries. Costa Rica has widespread recycling available, which is unique in developing countries. You don't see that in Nicaragua, but it's great about all the co-ops. I went to the Choco Museo yesterday that represents a local chocolate co-op. Most of their products are exported to Ritter Sport in Germany, which I thought was really cool. I went back today only to buy tasty souvenirs. I wish I would have had a chance to do their day trip to their co-op. I think I'll go back to the museum for lunch since they have a restaurant. I tasted a sample of their cocoa husk tea, which tastes like hot chocolate. So delicious!
It was a very good idea for lunch to head to Choco Museo. I had gazpacho with iced chocolate tea (pictured) and sat by their courtyard. I figure the combo of vitamin C and anti-oxidants should do me some good, though it's not an ideal flavour combo. Their gazpacho was a little grainy and a bit too oily, but it wasn't bad. They served it with fried, salted plantain chips rather than croutons, which I thought was a nice local spin. Afterward, I found a pharmacy to get some antihistamines. The great thing about getting sick here is that I know what the drugs are called. I didn't have to know the name in Bahasa Indonesia or Cantonese.
The only downside is that, despite my room being comfortable enough, there is constant construction going on, so it's noisy. The owners told me they're building 3 more rooms and expect to build a 4th room upstairs in the next couple of years. Maybe next time, I'll have more money to stay somewhere nicer, though these owners are nice people. Just that I'd like a nicer room with more amenities. I'm so spoiled by my fancy hotels I stay at for work!