Driving Adventures

Driving Adventures

an email from end of August 2005

Driving is one of the lesser mentioned adventures to be had in Nicaragua. While the roads in this country are greatly improving, the drivers are not and the traffic police, at least in Managua, only add to the color of the experience. As we do lots of driving, either exploring the wilds or simply traveling back and forth to Ochomogo, we have been ill-fated to spend time with cops, buses, and the Nicaraguan legal system.

Our latest fiasco let me know just how well we are adapting to this crazy place we live in. It involved a bus again, of course, but only Big Red's right rear quarter panel sustained damage. The inevitable crowd gathered. A female traffic cop showed up, filled out some paperwork, then hung around until she got her bribe (100 cordobas). The bus driver accepted a 500 cordoba bill to forget it all happened and, after an hour, we were able to head home for our trusty stress busters, cold cervezas.

Yes, the bus driver was at fault. Yes, we were hit from behind (again). Yes, there were plenty of witnesses. Bottom line, Roger is white. In the eyes of Nicaraguan law, he's the guilty party because he has the ability to pay. Not a fair system to be sure, but does that exist anywhere?

After numerous stops by traffic cops (about once a month) for 'driving violations' (rough translation - give me money), Roger has turned it into a game. He just shakes his head and says "I don't speak Spanish" until the cop realizes he's not getting any money from this gringo and gives up. Sometimes it takes a few minutes, other times the officer is especially slow or stubborn and Roger ends up waiting half an hour.

We've had three accidents in our time here. The first ended up costing three grand and took a year to resolve, the second cost 50 cordobas and three weeks of Roger's time during an especially busy period, and this last one cost 600 cords and an hour. The most noticeable difference has been our reaction.

The first accident, pictured above, simply drained us emotionally. We were righteous in our indignation and insisted on adequate compensation. By the second mishap, Roger was still a bit righteous but somewhat wary of what he was getting himself into. This last accident got no more than an eye roll and a heavy sigh from us both. After it happened, Roger got out to inspect the damage, Logan went looking for a translator, and I went to the cybercafe to work on my website. Just another day in the paradise that's Nicaragua.

I'm happy to say that we're learning how to cope and find the bright points in these ridiculous incidents. Over beers that night, we marveled over the quality of workmanship of the Masaya metal worker that had installed a new three inch, iron pipe bumper and trailer hitch only last week. The bus may have torn the quarter panel almost off, but it didn't budge that bumper.

The fact that we only lost $35 and an hour of our time for this latest obstacle has us both smiling, or are we grinning like the truly mad? Hmmm...

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Vehicle for Roger

Renovate this vehicle and Roger will have no problems.

I think this thing is located close to your area.


Miskito Alan &#174

Not cool enough,

but Roger says he would consider the gun turret idea *L*


One of these Nicaraguan Jaguar's would be a lot better.

And I think that picture was taken on the edge of Matagalpa. probably about 5 to 6 hours from Ochomongo. and I think you would seriously freak out some people if that was rolling around on the streets, remember last year when the gob was doing military preparedness training in case of Natural diseaster on the streets of Managua.


Puerto Cabezas has had simulated airplane crashes for the last 3 weeks involving a 100 police, military, airport personel, all bomberos, and ambulances.

On the first try, none of the watchies, police, or military could find the key to open the big gate to allow entrance for firetrucks and ambulances. Things were delayed for about 30 minutes until one policeman remembered that he had the key in his pocket.

Miskito Alan &#174


I think that would be the same situation if I were the watchie.

I would probably be sitting across from the airport at a nice little outdoor cafe, with my feet up, drinking something refressing. Looking on at the chaos going on at the airport, wondering what in the heck they are doing climbing the fence. Then I would happen to put my hand in my pocket and feel the key, and then spit my drink out and realize what was going on.

see picture above.....

has anyone been to club biro?

great story!

and great comments. i like the idea of window tint, so as to shield your identity? and put typical nica bumper stickers so to further blend in?


is one of the less desirable adventures to discuss in Nicaragua…

Have you tried getting your windows tinted? It also prevents sunlight from heating up the interior of your vehicle a couple notches. Adding to your cool. It wouldn’t do anyone any justice to have you turning into a hopeless, needy, desperate act.

Only congratulating and participating allowed. Feel/Dig? I just don't have the taste for hating.


Are not exempt from this kind of situations, a few years ago a drunk guy with a beatup car hit me in the front,the whole front panel,radiator,fan,and what not was destroyed,the judge determined the guy was at fault but it was up to me to collect the money from the guy,guess what? the guy was a bread maker,ex-militia (God knows if he had an Ak47 hidden under the bed)and unemployed.Well I decided not to risk it, end up paying the whole bill,just to show you that Nicaraguans are not immune from this kind of situations.When I drive in Nicaragua I use a lot of defensive driving not expecting the guy in front of you,side or behind to do what hes supposed to.