9th Nov 2003.

Managua is Nicaragua's capital and a necessary evil on the bus-haul North. So evil in fact that we were told not to go out in Managua as it was too dangerous.... a second and third opinion suggested it might be OK if we stick to the tourist areas... we were about to find out how small the safe areas were.

The old cathedral in town was beautiful but also abandoned. It was considered unsafe after an earthquake and it now sits there rotting! The cathedral is the middle of downtown and just behind it was an empty lot of locals playing baseball.

After the last earthquake they discovered the whole area was riddled with fault lines... so the city seems a little hollow.

What did come as a surprise was that Jason's mate Glen Barnes had died leading the revolution during Nicaraguas civil war.

To make matters more bizarre Jason brother Lee appears to of been chief of the revolutionary armed forces. Either that or was someone else who shared a passion for the Latin American football mullet!

Jason convinced Claire that the boiling hot 20 minute walk to the lake would be worth it(so we could get all romantic).

The water front was full of people, noise, begging kids and an amusement park.... the volcanos in the background were definitely the highlight here.

We proceeded to where Pope John Paul the (insert favourite number here) had addressed the people of Nicaragua prompting the prime minister to build this enormous circular park with obelisk over the land that was too fault-riddled to build on (must be foreign capital). Whilst here the alarm bells rang for the first time when a security guard spent too long looking at Jason's bag at the entry to where the pope spoke. Once inside we realised everyone there was a working girl in FM boots or a perve, so we decided to leave quickly, to be followed by a rather large menacing perve who looked like he made a living mugging people.

Jason's favourite game is to lead the perve round in circles before turning to point at him till so he knows the game is up. Claire had given up on romance by now and was quite stressed.

Meanwhile in the park we were perve free and sat down to watch Nicaraguas young S Club 7 dancing in the park. Claire was taking her usual subtle photo and got caught. When they realised we were watching them, they started to play-up to us and gave us a show to restore our faith in both the people and the future of Managua.

Faith that was mistakenly placed as an hour later. We had to run out of a park up a 70 degree, 30 foot bank in order to escape the welcoming committee that collect cameras and wallets from tourists stupid enough to visit the monument to the end of the revolution.... we only entered the park as we saw a security guard chase a less classy bloke away as we entered. Little did we know he ran up the bank to say "hey we have silly gringos in the park and they are walking into that dead-end where the monument to the end of the revolution is"... now they just need an economic revolution and a few less junkies, hobo's, perves, hookers and bent security guards.

Our recommendation is to fly over Managua... it is a dangerous hole where hope has evaporated!

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