The planning for this journey began in March 2017. I talked with people currently in Nicaragua, read everything I could find online, and read books. All of this to best prepare for my three month journey. The journey is an ongoing process, though. Here is a collection I will continually update regarding things I wish I had known and things I wish I had brought.
First, it is important to remember that anything a person needs can be purchased in Managua.There is a Wal-Mart here. It is my place of last resort because it does not have the best prices. There are a number of large Nicaraguan markets spread out through Managua. Th big ones include Mercado Oreiental, Roberto Huermbres, and Mercado Isreael Lewites. Unless your Spanish is fluent take a good Spanish-English speaker with you. EVERYTHING is in these markets. Shopping has to be patient because there is so much in them and they are crowded. Another useful store is Sensa. It is like a hardware store (think ACE Hardware, small Lowe’s).
Things I am glad I brought because they got me by until I could shop and things I use everyday that I brought with me:
- 1.5 quart pot with lid
- medium sized frying pan
- 4 sets of silverware
- wooden spoon
- my own sharp kitchen knives: one paring and one 10″utility knife
- 1 qt water bottle
- sheets (glad to make the bed and crawl into after the flight here). Double or queen work on a “matrimonial” or “queen sized bed. Matrimonial beds are common.
- bath and hand towels
- kitchen towels
- light weight clothes
- office supplies for work. Most organizations do not have office supplies to share-scissors, pens, pencils
- large light weight purse. Holds my camera and items securely while shopping and site seeing
- light weight (Marmot) backpack. So glad I have this instead of something like a bulky school pack. Take is shopping to carry things. Take it to work to carry my lap top and notebooks
- Re-hydration salts-get them at the pharmacy before you leave. I have found that I drink about 1 galleon of liquid a day because I am hot, sweating and thirsty. This is good and bad. Good because it is good to stay hydrated. However, it can also dilute the natural chemicals in your body, especially the salts and electrolytes. So I add part of a tablet to my liter water and liter tea. This has helped me a lot. Additional re-hydration salts are easily purchased here at any Farmacia.
- camera and back up batteries
- flashlight and back up batteries;-the electricity comes and goes, especially in stormy weather
- light weight blanket-it is nice at night with the air conditioner on and acts like a bedspread
Things I have bought after I arrived:
- shower curtain
- fan-my apartment has air conditioning but it is expensive to run so I try to save it for the evenings if I need it; but a good fan is an investment; do not scrimp on it. Make sure it fits in your living space. Make sure it does not have a timer. You will want it on all night in the bedroom.
- a plastic scoop bowl-a small to medium sized one. This is a must. I use it in the kitchen sink for the soapy water to wash dishes and thing. It is used when doing laundry to scoop the clean water over items to wash and rinse them.
- Plastic 5 drawer bureau/organizer. It fits in my closet. I use it as a dresser for my clothes and things that I don’t hang
- clothes hangers-buy one more set than you think you will need. You will probably end up needing it. Hanging clothes works really well. I haven’t needed an iron, yet.
- bath mat
- desk lamp and energy efficient light bulb
- Nicaragua cell phone; don’t script here either. Nice to have phone and data service throughout the areas you travel. Let the battery run down before charging it or you toast its usefulness. There are two main cell phone choices: Claro and Movistar. Before getting phone check to see what your friends and co-workers have. Calls between people with the same phone services can be less expensive.
- plates, bowls, cups
- glass cook wear for the oven and microwave at work (think pyrex)
- Extra pillow
- *index cards-I would brings 200. They are not easy to find. I cut them in half and use them for flashcards to learn my Spanish vocabulary.
- *markers to use in making the flashcards
- beach towel for the pool and visiting the beautiful lakes and beaches
- 2 more liter bottles-I like ice tea so usually have one ice tea and one water bottle going all the time. I keep one with water in the refrigerator all of the time so I can have cold water.
- *Spanish-English dictionary. Books are expensive here. I found a used one in a bookstore in Granada but wish I had brought it. I use it in my Spanish study. I also use it to get around. Phrase books are not sufficient for living here.
Things I wish I had brought because I can’t find here:
- Spanish-English Bible
- More yarn for knitting