Good Times

and an improving economy will boost every aspect of Nicaraguan tourism, mission, medical, and just the guy who wants to look at volcanoes; AND will eventually encourage more retirees to look at Nicaragua. The Hard Times might be over.

The US presidential election may have been won last night, to Nicaragua's benefit.

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Growing Up in Florida

Before Disney World came along the county I grew up in, Lake County, was known primarily for lakes, orange groves, and snowbirds. We had our share of fulltime retirees, but our population more than doubled in the winter. When I was 12 Disney opened, and we heard about some huge new attraction of some sort that was to be built to the north and west of my hometown, spilling over into next door Sumter County. Sumter was basically Appalachia in the flatlands. My mom is from there and her family are, hate to say it, hillbillies. Not the Beverly Hills kind either. That huge development, The Villages, is now the premiere retirement town in the entire country. It's Disney for seniors, and there is really no reason to ever leave there if one so desired. And it was a huge catalyst in the development of Lake and Sumter counties.

The reason I've brought this up is was reading recently on a Yahoo Honduras expat group that there are a couple of self contained planned cities in early stages in Honduras. They are supposed to literally be exclusive for foreigners with the government's blessing. They'll offer thousands of jobs to locals but seems to be a new kind of apartheid with the locals not being able to afford to live there, except for the blessed few. Will be interesting to see if that concept will work in 3rd World nations. And if it will spread. Honduras is blessed with beautiful beaches and Florida has certainly proved people will stay year-round in the heat and humidity if the infrastructure is there.

Members Only

Country club cities for foreigners and the local rich. With money even hell would be bearable. Now if only I could remember what I did with my Members Only jacket.

Just read that the Honduras

Just read that the Honduras Supreme Court just struck down the law allowing the building of those cities. Said they would be a violation of Honduran sovereignty.

Flag-waving, huh?

Your US politics have been made abundantly clear here. However, I fail to see how Romney as US commander-in-chief will benefit little Nicaragua. Unless you're referring to gringos in Nicaragua. All I see is a black flag with skull & crossed femurs sailing toward Nicaragua, eh KW Pirate?

i was living in hondurus..

way back..and i was complaining to a friend..how screwed up the country was..he looked at me and asked..why i was here..said i get a good bang for my buck..no one really bothers me..life is usually good and laid back..and he said..if the country wasnt as screwed up as it is..do u think u will be living as good as u do..im not worried about more gringos coming here..let them go to c.r.. where they have everything..living here the way it is..is good with me..i dont like to talking nica. politics..its none of my damn biz..as long as they leave me alone im happy..have bought and sold at least 7 properties..had a bar and restaurant..and no problems..enjoy..nica as it is..were guests here..quit worrying about changing things..

Bingo!!

We have a winner!!!! Could not be better said!!!

Ditto

Ditto

All I Said

was a improving (and the potential to boom is there with all the money sitting on the sidelines) economy can't help but benefit Nicaragua. Four more years of stagnation will help no one.

I don't see any Marine invasion. I see increased trade, greater and more varied tourism, growth.

It's not a done deal yet, so there is still hope for the ideologues. I wouldn't bet on the outcome. But I am excited about the possibilities.

Costa Rica makes more money from Intel chips

...than from tourism.

It hasn't been stagnating here for the last six years despite the major recession of its primary trading partner. 30% growth. Maybe the US needs a bit more Christianity and Socialism?

Rebecca Brown

We're Going To

find out shortly.

We aren't creating enough jobs to keep up with population growth, and 23 million people are out of work. At our current rate of job creation it will take 153 months to employ everyone who wants to work, and that's assuming no new entries into the job market for 13 years.

I'm afraid that Abraham Lincoln might have been wrong.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/05/us-usa-economy-jackwelch-idUSB...

Even Obama-friendly outlets are puzzling as to how the employment rate could drop 3 points with a minimal job creation number, at a time when more people typically enter the labor market. Somebody is smoking something, and it's not me.

I don't see where your 30% growth in Nicaragua comes from, World Bank has it pegged at 4.7 (which is still very decent). You must use the same math that Obama uses to get his results.

http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=ny_gdp_...

>>>>>>>>> "Costa Rica makes more money from Intel chips than tourism . . ." So, Intel pumps $2 billion into Costa Rica? CR tourism receipts in 2011 were $2,156 million. I've driven by the Intel facility on the way from the airport into San Jose. $2 billion ?

Am I missing something , or is this more "Obama math"?

The upper class has been doing well under the recession

There's a history of gold that someone recommended to me that discussed the UK's period of being on the gold standard --- the British pound was backed by gold and the unemployment rate was rather high. Book's on my Kindle, could discuss it further. Economic situations don't have to work for everyone, just for whoever has power. Having lots of unemployed people creates lower wage demands, so more money for the CEOs if somewhere is still buying.

At least some of the very rich believe that for the lower orders, only the threat of starvation makes for more industrious and grateful workers. If you can get people cheaper, and if they're in irrevocable debt (student loans), the cooler that is for people who own businesses except for the pesky problem of not having customers. Go with low-end items like budget cell phones, and you'll have customers anyway.

People are taking early retirement; people are taking part-time jobs. I think I know of two or three other people besides me in my circles of acquaintances in Philadelphia who took early retirement, one friend of my brother's.

30% over six years, not thirty percent per annum, for Nicaragua. 4.7 x 6 is 28.2, so near thirty, then.

Stats on Costa Rica here: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/corporate-responsibility/intel-in... and other. Can't find the precise stat I remembered from earlier research. Stats on tourism seem to show people from the US as a large minority, not a majority of tourists, and Nicaraguans are second in percentages.

Intel's chip business is value added, higher income jobs. Tourism is classically lower wage semi-skilled jobs for all but a few.

Rebecca Brown

I Apologize For

missing the six years x 4.7 = 30%

If the US could manage that we would start climbing out of our hole. Six percent and we could start paying off the deficit.

No question that Intel (and all the others who have located in CR) add considerable value and provide steady, good paying jobs.. Nicaragua would benefit from that investment, and would seem an obvious location because of the CR-Nicaragua wage disparity. One of the things San Jose does have going for it is the elevation. The temperature is moderate year round. An Intel facility in Managua would have a large A/C burden.

But, it's not ALL about wage differentials. There are a number of other gates to be met before Intel, Pfizer, etc, build plants in Nicaragua. In the meantime, tourism provides an easily exploited and short-term source of revenue. $2 Bil would put a lot of beans into Nicaraguan tummies.

One of the things that so impressed me during my time in San Jose was how the evening "for pay" schools would fill up with young CR'ans of both genders. They were everywhere, and taught any number of subjects. No question, it's a horse and cart thing. I became friendly with a young CR girl who worked part time in my doctor's office. Her English was excellent, but she never quit working on it. Her day was spread across a couple of medical offices, but she made $15 /day (this was five years ago) and lived very comfortably with her parents on that income. There was a difference in attitude that spoke to the better opportunities in CR. My Nicaraguan driver was a real go-getter too, so I think the attitude reflects not the nationality but the available opportunity.

I saw the large numbers of Nicaraguan counted as "tourists" in the CR tourism figures. I think the numbers bear more scrutiny. There ARE a lot of Nicaraguans in CR . Some wealthy Nicaraguans have parked money in CR and built homes. A lot of Nicaraguans work in CR, and go back and forth across the border. The last time I was at MGA I noticed that someone had a direct flight (TACA, maybe? ) from MGA to SJO. All of this traffic is probably counted as "tourist".

From my observations I would say that the US tourist is the predominant and desired CR tourist. The planes flying steadily into Juan Santamaria are packed with Gringos (and Gringo Gold) -and NOT missionary types. A lot of German and French as well.

The thing is that Nicaragua is still almost 50% agricultural

You keep saying things that don't appear to take that into consideration. Out in the campo, folks grow their own beans, plantains, malaga, potatoes, yuca, corn, and maybe have a pig or some chickens or a cow. They're selling their surpluses, not buying beans.

Coffee is just the cash crop for the cell phone, the jeans from the cheap used clothing stores, and the rubber boots.

Tourism in Costa Rica is basically ocean front for the most part, as it is here. Costa Rica, as you point out, has more large cities at higher elevations than Nicaragua has, and is more attractive to people who don't like 80-95 year round temperatures.

The other consideration is that all the indigenous people that Costa Rica didn't have to exploit -- Nicaragua had and still has them. The guys on the little Spanish horses who work cattle are darker skinned than the guys on the big hipico horses.

Comparing deep campo here with the tourist and urban sections of Costa Rica is like comparing Pulaski County, VA, with Virginia Beach. If you wanted Pulaski County to be like Virginia Beach, you'd have to move it to the ocean front. But then you couldn't buy a house there for $15K, either. I like Jinotega because people do seem to have drive and ambition and a number of university branches here.

International mountain tourism here seems all smoke and bubble -- why would people who can drive five hours or less on $4 a gallon gas to reach mountains spend over $600 to fly down here, rent a car for $100 a day, and drive on six dollars a gallon gas for three or four hours to see mountains here that are not higher than the ones back home? You get the same fresh air, cool views, and all that in the Shenandoah National Park or the Catskills, or Sierra Nevadas if you're on the West Coast, or Rockies if you're in the Midwest (bit longer drive, though, but the mountains are higher). The highest mountains are under 6,800 feet -- there are passes in the Rockies higher than that. Most of the mountains are around 5,000 feet, with occasional peaks higher. Mexico has a mountain I saw from the airplane that's 18,000 feet high, with year round snow on the top. Lake Atilan in Guatemala is at around 6,000 feet.

The hope of creating something that looks good and then flipping it to some fool with more money than sense strikes me as not all _that_ likely, but then I don't have stupid money to throw away, so I'm obviously not the market for this product or service. I've seen multi-country stats for international mountain tourism and it's less than 10% most places. Nicaragaua doesn't have a Tikal, Copan, or Machu Pichu, and all the last of the indigenous domestic weaving stopped in the 1940s. Why come here as a tourist?

What Nicaragua has besides beaches is one really big lake with Granada anchoring one end and Omatepe Island relatively close by. Granada seems to be doing its tourist development just fine. The beaches also seem to be coming along just fine. What Colcibolca needs is a new hydrofoil.

The Costa Ricans are having their own financial problems: http://www.ticotimes.net/Business/Could-Costa-Rica-become-another-Greece....

Rebecca Brown

I've Been To Costa Rica

and you have no idea what you are talking about.

I've been from the east coast south of Puerto Viejo a few miles north of Panama, to Guanacaste, and most of the in between. I've spent a lot of time on the west coast beaches. I've been up and down Arenal a half dozen times and soaked in the hot springs at the foot of the volcano. I've spent weeks in San Jose over several trips. I like the country very much and I made a lot of Tico friends. You can cover a lot of ground on your own schedule, stay a lot cleaner, easily carry what you need, and meet a lot more people if you rent a car.

There are tons of Gringo tourists in San Jose. It IS a much more attractive, cleaner and cooler place then Managua, but Managua's lake front could be developed and extended to form a new city center. It won't happen tomorrow, but the potential is there. Managua, the jewel on the lake.

Costa Rica is also predominantly agricultural, with great coffee, a lot of cattle in Guanacaste. The tourism is icing on a well-baked cake. CR does not depend on welfare handouts from other countries, patronage from socialist nutcases who happen to be sitting on a sea of oil, or "gifts" from Iran, Libya, Syria, --as does Nicaragua. You might say that CR is Romney to Nicaragua's Obama. Pay your own way, compared to 3 zincs and a pig (or in the US a free Obama phone).

Plenty of government corruption in CR, true, but a country with one of the worlds highest "real" literacy rates, and an astounding number of students that go on to higher education. Well-educated medical professionals, many of whom do their residency at top name hospitals in the US.

I'm too old to create something "that looks good and then flipping it to some fool with more money than sense" but I've learned that you always invest with an eye to the eventual liquidation of that investment. Nothing lasts forever.

Nicaragua has plenty going for it. It also has a lot of warts, such as very limited English capability, and even more limited tourist infrastructure, but those are both horse and cart issues that will change in a couple of generations.. Nicaragua will eventually attract as many tourists as CR -and they won't be missionaries. The potential is there.

Your perspectives mirror Patrick County: limited, provincial; subject to an untraveled and hard scrabble life. Going up the east coast from Virginia to NYC and Philadelphia does not count as travel. Collect your SSI and let others with more experience worry about questions of investment -especially their own investments.

I guessed right about how little you know

Nicaragua may decide that competing with Ghana, Guatemala, Cuba, Costa Rica and several other places for tourists escaping the northern hemisphere's winters is not as profitable as doing something completely different. It does do better than Cote de Ivorie, which I guess is something.

I also find it truly weird that someone with uninformed bigotries about Harvard Law graduates (President Obama has Columbia University BA) and a Virginia county he also had no real life experience with would decide to move to rural Nicaragua, back off the paved roads, which genuinely is "limited, provincial; subject to an untraveled and hard scrabble life."

If you think a county that makes much of its living from microfilm for libraries, seat belt harness assemblies, mechanical design and micro metric machine tooling is backassward, just wait until you're around people who sign their pay receipts with an x and who've forgotten how read, which describes about half the workers a man I know hires to harvest his coffee.

When some poor Central American travels from El Salvador through Mexico to the US on foot, that travel doesn't seem to count the same as when someone from the US with money rents a car and drives around Central America peering through tinted windows at what he wants to see.

Rebecca Brown

You two should take this

You two should take this conversation off line.

No,no,no,no.no.noooooo

This is great. On one hand we have a person that seems to have made it okay in the US and has traveled around some, at least more than most, and thinks that Nicaragua has potential and is willing to risk his time and money, consider though that he thinks that Obama is taking the US down the crapper but Ortega isn't doing that with Nicaragua. On the other side we have another person that's evident she's done a lot of reading and studying and researching about a whole lot of places which allows her to have strong opinions about how and why things were, are and should be, places like Nicaragua. This person believes that things under Ortega are good but if that was the case what happened to those laborers that are still illiterate and easy prey for those that exploit them and the limitations of our infrastructure at all levels, just to mention a few points that she brings out. Anything, I will say anything just to prove my point and have the last word. So don't censure, pardon the strong word, for this is one of the perks of living in harmony on a Nicaragua Cristiana, Socialista y Solidaria.

Last night was interesting

I don't want to be the gringo who speculates about internal Nicaraguan politics. Ne bog, ne chordta, as my Russian teacher taught me.

I was dealing with KWP here and these local drunks banging on my front door, dog barking and me with my meat cleaver in reach. One of those moments when I thought that anyone trying to sell this country to middle class North Americans as a safe tourist destination is just seriously mad.

This group is often dominated by a couple of computer geeks who tend to be very smart in a narrow way, but missing some other ways of being smart. It's also dominated by North Americans who think if only the Nicaraguan people did it the US or Canadian way, they be as prosperous/bad off despite phenomenal natural resources as in the US and Canada. Nicaragua snuck a victory on the US through patience and more patience, and some cunning.

Computer geeks made some money, sometimes a lot of money before 2002. Geeks invested a lot in imagining that the computer networks they were building would expand infinitely rather than hitting the moment where we were told "Okay, we've got most of the cable we need laid, so you can find other work."

Solving Nicaragua's won't happen by wishfully deciding that it's really Libertarian, or that all the campesinos need for prosperity is to sell their land, invest the money, and start working as hotel maids or, if their English is good, on the front desk. Hotel jobs are servile (been there, done that, and anyone who wants to claim otherwise is selling snake oil). People have gone to war to try to preserve subsistence farming communities. Nobody has gone to war to defend their right to be servants.

If a place makes money doing something that requires unskilled casual labor to harvest it, getting out of that trap isn't finding something else that requires unskilled casual labor that maybe pays a bit better. It's possible that Nicaraguan can have year round tourism but when there's down time, people get laid off -- and if your government doesn't have unemployment relief, then people are going to be able to survive if they have access to land to grow some food during the lay-offs.

Let's look at coffee's problems first:

Either Nicaragua stops growing coffee or tobacco, or you figure out how you're going to harvest it. If you do machine harvesting, you lose rainforest certification, shade-grown, and premium marketing categories. If you do shade-grown, hand-picked (which you rather have to do if the land is steep), you either operate as a small family farm growing no more coffee than you and your family can pick, and you have the other crops on the side, when you're not busy with coffee, and maybe a few rooms for agri-tourists -- or you're a big operation and you hire pickers just for the season and pay them by the picking weights and feed them while they're working for you.

If you own large tracts of land, you will be needing more pickers in season than you'll have jobs for during the rest of the year absent some really diversified operations. The other kicker for Nicaragua is that high winter tourist season and picking season are the same time of the year, so cheap casual unskilled labor may prefer to clean hotel rooms and do porter work than cut coffee. Somoza seems to have solved this problem by forced drafts of coffee pickers.

One solution is to set lots of small holdings, cooperative processing and marketing, and other crops and other activities during the slack season. No one person gets rich from coffee. The problem is that nobody gets rich enough to have capital to invest in say, large or medium scale high tech manufacturing.

The left solution to that is to have the state invest in industrial development, but for that not to be really problematic, you need an honest government and a strong popular democratic tradition, so the State doesn't become the worst boss of all. In some ways, it's better to have industrial development done with cooperatively (worker owned) or capitalistically rather than by the state. I spent three weeks working in a coop as a visitor and for a year at a worker-owned but pretty top down government defense contractor -- the trick to getting that to work is developing social skills that are not all that common at this point. Capitalism need strong unions and regulations to keep it honest.

So, how would you handle the coffee industry's hard dilemmas? Any of the solutions I can think of that have Nicaragua exporting coffee and getting foreign currency into the country have gotchas.

Next problem -- what will people do with their educations if you improve them radically?

One of problems that India faced before out-sourcing became so common was that India had people educated for jobs that weren't there, so people with Indian four year college degrees were taking file clerk jobs (without chance of promotion). I've read somewhere that NIcaragua has more computer operators (not programmers) than its economy can absorb (one of my young friends here is a student at UNN in computer science, and is also learning English so worst case scenario is if he doesn't learn programming, he can work in a call center).

Nicaragua needs industries that can employ people with a wider range of skills and the cart/horse issues show up here. What if the available jobs for certain skills are in other countries -- birding guides get trained here and move to Costa Rica for work was what the owner of El Jaguar told my friend who visited.

Third problem -- diabetes rates in Nicaragua are high.

Agricultural work tends to keep people fit and what they grow tends to be healthy food. Once they're off the farm, they won't be getting the exercise and if they're not well paid, they tend to buy the cheapest food which is likely to be rather full of sugar, fats, and salt. People who have mostly indigenous ancestors appear to be very susceptible to diabetes, so perhaps no point in leaving the land unless your jobs is going to let you buy better food.

What's being tried at Miraflor is micro-tourism, teaching people who have some spare rooms how to speak enough English to deal with North American and British tourist and others who speak English. So, they grow coffee, raise rice, potatoes, beans, cabbage, and broccoli, sell some of it, take in tourists, and study English with the volunteers from Esteli. If they're good agriculturalists and have a good coffee year, they can put in a flush toilet and a heated shower for people who can't imagine staying somewhere without one, so get more tourists. Some of them may even be able to teach Spanish, too.

This solution is possibly worse than being my friend the kid in town who is cultivating English-speaking contacts who taught or who are currently teaching in US universities and borrowing my external DVD drive (he did bring it back)? Also, it's probably worse than the next door neighbors' solution where she works in a bank and he runs the house and finca out of town? All of these, including staying on the farm but diversifying seem better than being a waitress or maid in a hotel, but not everyone has the education to work in a bank or in IT. For our farm folk, it's probably between the small farm and the hotel job. But then, there's Key West Pirate with something like 80 to 100 manzanas who wants to have coffee pickers when he needs them and someone on the front desk who's fluent in Spanish and English If he has enough capital to pay his staff even in the slack seasons, maybe the farm person would be better off working for someone whose capital and investments mean that he doesn't have to make a full living from the land every year.

Nothing will make everyone happy. A woman I met who was Planner at a commune called Twin Oaks said that she had to make decisions that pissed off her friends, and she didn't get paid better or get the big car.

Now, how do you fix these problems?

Me, I worked in the US until I could take early retirement and moved down here and got residency. It's like being a tourist since I don't have to make a living here. There are, I'm sure, gotchas I haven't considered.

Rebecca Brown

Can?

May I converse with you off line?

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

Don't knock it til you've tried it

Oh but you've tried it and it seems that you liked it enough to make you stay, so what's your deal?

I like living here

I liked living in Philadelphia, too, but it wasn't Manhattan as a place to visit. At this point, if someone wanted to visit Nicaragua, I'd send them to Granada.

What I like about Jinotega now wouldn't be obvious to tourists. It wasn't obvious to me when I did a short visit here.

Rebecca Brown

i get friends..

that want to come down to visit..a couple have..and liked what they saw..most i tell go to c.r.or cancun.. it has what u want..here it dosnt..and i hope it stays that way..the tourist can have sjds..and granada..not my kind of places..and rebecca..i enjoy reading most of ure post..some times..u are a little over board..but u do put facts up to back u..let them guys pick on u..they are just jealous of ure happiness

I know Key West is...

He told me so.

Are you trolling? I suspect you are, but if not....

Basically, the key to happiness with anywhere or with people is accepting the place or person for what they are. If you don't like that, leave them be and find some place or some person you can like without having to improving them. They get to change if they want to, not if you want them to.

The worst expat failing is to expect Nicaragua or some subset of Nicaragua to need you and with that need, make you a more important person than you were from where ever you came from. I've been watching heads hit that wall over and over for the last two years.

Second failing is trying to reform Nicaragua. I have a friend, back in the US, who has tried variously to reform a narcissistic ex-junkie, then an alcoholic, and earlier, I don't know what. He thought he could order the alcoholic to stop drinking, get a drivers license, and if she loved him, that would just happen.

Treating Nicaragua as a Socialist drunk is how some of this comes across. "She should stop voting FSLN and get an education and....."

As the man said, we're guests here.

Rebecca Brown

No trolling as you know and you are preaching to the converted

Sarcasm maybe...but,

You, Rebecca, are trying to change Key West as much as he is trying to change you.

Mheh, I don't even think he knows who I am

I'm just part of the available ears and eyeballs.

I'm keep thinking about Naipaul's _Bend in the River_ when people talk about development here. There's a certain comedy in realizing that everyone bought to flip in certain places. Eventually, someone has to make money enough to support the gig, or turn the place into something else.

One advantage of being a fiction writer is that while things don't change in real life, they're extremely malleable in prose. Bubble psychology fascinates me -- I lived through it with IT, with housing (though I made money on my one house), with college education where the product has been degraded even as it's more and more necessary. With our expectations of politicians.

Rebecca Brown

I've been to both Granada and Jinotega

and also to Manhattan and Philadelphia and in all four places I found something to like and someting not to my liking. If I move to Granada or Jinotega after visiting it must be cause there is more to like than dislike and would like to show my friends what are those things that made me want to live there. Or at least say come and see for yourself there might be something that you could find appealing or not, one never knows. I would let them make that choice based on their experience not mine. So out of curiosity, if you don't mind my prying, what is it you like about Jinotega

It works as an urban space.

I almost didn't come back because of how it looked. It suited my needs (Matagalpa or Esteli would have done as well, I suspect, but luck of the draw got me a better connection for an apartment here). I can get everything I need on a day to day basis in walking distance or a short cab ride away. I've got a few friends, both Nicaraguan and expatriate, and I like the climate. I've got neighbors who are very easy to live next to. The mountains are beautiful; the trip to Matagalpa that friends and I do once or twice a month goes through beautiful scenery, but the day to day things that make it worth living in are small things -- the street vendors and neighbors, and friends.

Rebecca Brown

Why are we always comparing Nicaraguan tourism with CR?

We should compare it with CA countries that have been through some similar experiences over the last 30 years.

Guatemala, El Salvador, and maybe Honduras

This is a very quick check through sources I could find with Google:

Guatemala: 2011, 1,822,663 tourists. Revenue: US$1.3 billion.

El Salvador: late 1990s: 1.15 million to 1.27 million tourists. "When comparing January–March 2007 to the same period in 2006, tourism has grown overall 10%, and specifically from North America 38%, Europe 31%, and South America 36%" but I couldn't find figures quickly. Tourist income seems to be around $634 million to $862 million. Small country but with its own Mayan ruins and beaches and higher mountains than here.

Honduras: 896,000 in 2010. US$630 million in revenues in 2010, compared to US$611.1 million for 2009. Honduras obviously gets fewer backpackers.

Nicaragua: 1.05 million tourists, revenue US$374.6 million in 2011. Many many people staying in hostels and roaming around the country on chicken buses, apparently.

This is an interesting comparison chart: http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/indicators/ST.INT.RCPT.CD/compare?countr... Put France in there and everything in Central America is down on the bottom looking more or less alike. Ghana does better than most of northern Central America except for Guatemala (warm place for Europeans in the winter, apparently). Cuba and Costa Rica do about the same, though Cuba does better most years (strong socialism might work in tourism, or perhaps that Cuba was lucky to be narrow with good beaches all around).

The travel figures for 2010 show that many people would risk some danger for better attractions. "We're really safe and tranquilo" works for some things, but isn't like "We have Tikal and villages full of Mayan weavers who won't sell you there best stuff, plus Lake Atilan with Mayan/hippie fusion culture complete with quinoa, and you might see a shooting." Being the safe budget tropical winter resort location strikes me as a rather sad thing to be (probably the safety is why people come and wander around on chicken buses, stay at cheap hotels, and generally spend less money on hotels with better security than they would in Guatemala).

Rebecca Brown

You must be more bored

Than I thought

Actually, I love doing research

The trick is sitting down and writing the books and essays.

Further research casts some doubts as to whether the Great Central American Reef goes down beyond Honduras.

Rebecca Brown

Funny

That was funny. Me, not so bored, I didn't read her!

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

rule of law

in addition to the AC bill, have you ever seen the displays of bootleg DVDs and CDs displayed openly everywhere from bus stations to whole stores full of bootleg stuff right on mainstreet, not to mention that it seems that almost all computer software used in Nic is bootleg? Any business based on intellectual property rights would probably be turned off by the lack of law enforcement here.

"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand

but..

the locals the people on the street..arent seeing 30% on anything..but maybe prices going up..

why..

" But I am excited about the possibilities."..u said u want a farm..great i have 1.. 2..why do i need all that other stuff..like a c.r. lifestyle to make my farm better..for me..nica..is sit back relax and enjoy it..u can come down here with not a whole lot of money..get a small farm and make a living..im not saying get rich..im saying make a living..quit trying or hoping this changes..look at mexico..i think u said u spent some time there..where is life better..relax and enjoy..

"sit back relax and enjoy it.."

You make some very good points :)

None of us are getting any younger . . .smell the roses . .. but I gotta plant them first.

I'm putting everything in pots so I can move them.

You've got enough on your plate trying to figure out how to make your coffee operation profitable.

Rebecca Brown