Monday, February 23, 2009

Places ShallowGal DOES want to go. (1)

When SG says "places she'd like to go" you should interpret that as "SG spends hours studying guide books about these place and conducting hourly searches for bargain airfares."

1) Central America

Particularly Costa Rica. As a matter of fact, as she writes this, SG is trying to decide if she would rather fly Continental and spend an extra hour in the air, but transfer in Houston or fly COPA and change planes in Panama. Fact: SG is way more adventurous when not faced with the possibility of being trapped in a Panamanian airport with the posse.

But lately SG goes back and forth on Nicaragua. People say it's like Costa Rica was 20 years ago. (2) You can get a lobster dinner for $6 and rent a luxury tree house like this for $1000 for the entire week.

SG will admit being a wee bit leary of treehouses with pools

But the safety of Nicaragua is in question. Proponents claim it's the safest country in Central America and order you to Google it. But when SG did, she found this State Deptartment advisory:
Although extensive de-mining operations have been conducted to clear rural areas of northern Nicaragua of landmines left from the civil war in the 1980s, visitors venturing off the main roads in these areas are cautioned that the possibility of encountering landmines still exists. Domestic travel within Nicaragua by land and air, particularly to the Atlantic side can be dangerous. Domestic airlines use small airstrips with minimal safety equipment and little boarding security.
U.S. citizens are cautioned that strong currents and undertows off sections of Nicaragua's Pacific coast have resulted in a number of incidents of drowning. Powerful waves have also resulted in broken bones, and injuries caused by sting rays are not uncommon in popular resort bathing areas. Warning signs are not posted, and lifeguards and rescue equipment are not readily available
Gang violence, drive-by shootings, robbery, assault and stabbings are most frequently encountered in poorer neighborhoods, including the Ticabus area, a major arrival and departure point for tourist buses. However, in recent months it spread to more upscale neighborhoods and near major hotels, including the Zona Hippos. In 2008, a U.S. citizen was critically injured in a gang-motivated drive-by shooting that occurred in the San Judas area. Another U.S. citizen was kidnapped and left for dead in the Villa Fontana area of Managua.

And so on. Sounds pretty bad, right? Compare it to the State Department advisory on Rwanda.

Rwanda is a landlocked developing country in central Africa. Although it continues to recover from the 1994 civil war and genocide in which up to one million people were killed, it is currently safe, clean, and well-organized. Economic activity and tourism are on the rise in Rwanda. Hotels and guesthouses are adequate in Kigali, the capital, and in major towns, but are limited in remote areas.
Did you see Hotel Rwanda? (3) And this is better than Nicaragua? ShallowGal might need to think on this one a little longer.

2) Alaska:

Yes, you remember correctly, SG's entire family went to Alaska last year. That trip we took a cruise thru the southern part of the state and visiting Glacier Bay. Next time SG wants to rent an RV and drive thru the interior to Denali and the Artic Circle.

"Wait," you're saying. "ShallowGal, who doesn't leave the house from November to April because it's too cold, wants to take her vacation driving in a state that rarely gets above 50 degrees? ShallowGal, who complained because the Ritz in South Beach didn't upgrade her to a club level room, wants to spend her vacation driving a 30 foot tin can with PCSguy and three kids?"

Yes. Alaska was just that awesome.

3) Croatia:

True story: A few years back, Noa and I were watching 'Where in the World is Matt Lauer' and he was in Croatia. It was gorgeous. Noa was transfixed. Then a few days later, I told the kids to get ready, we needed to make a quick trip to IKEA for a bookcase. Noa went ballistic, I assumed over the ball pit. We got there and she broke down. Cause she heard IKEA but interpreted it in her 5 year old brain as Croatia.

Admit it, you so did not know where Croatia was exactly.

1) C'mon. You didn't really coming looking for this last Thursday did you? Sucker.
2) Which might not be a good thing, because SG wore a lot of blue mascara in the 80s. Bad look.
3) Was it as bad as they say? Cause it sounded really depressing.


Anonymous said...

I'd go to Rwanda just for the gorillas alone. Nothing is all that safe. A plane could crash into my house & kill me while I type this. Better to be in Rwanda chatting with the gorillas.

Christy said...

Now I'm dying to go to Alaska! Nicaragua, not so much. I went to South America last year for the first time ever and totally loved it. Check out google images of Bombinas, Brazil. It really is that pretty - and dirt cheap too. Croatia -- I'd go there in heartbeat.

Sue @ My Party of 6 said...

We live in DC! How bad could Nicaragua be?

countrymouse said...

oh dear. I reluctantly admit to being unaware that Croatia is on the coast of a beautiful body of water . . .

I need to get out more.

the mama bird diaries said...

I was scared just reading that description of Nicaragua.

bobeesah said...

When I flew (sans babies) to Costa Rica we stopped in Nicaragua for a layover and it was so worth it. The food on the Costa Rican airlines was leaps and bounds better than the "food" on any US flight. Make sure to go to Manuel Antonia-home of the most beautiful, tranquil beaches I've ever seen.

I totally agree with Alaska. I've only been once and I almost stayed. Seriously, I was looking for jobs and where I would live, everything. Then I remembered that I still had to finish school. Poo.

That is too cute about IKEA/Croatia. And you're right. I didn't know where it was. Not exactly.

Stimey said...

You may know that I lived in the interior of Alaska for a year. If you go in the summer, it is not only very warm, but also very bright around the clock.

I also went to Costa Rica on my honeymoon almost ten years ago. It was AWESOME. I highly recommend it. The roads were really bad though. Rumor had it that the roads in Nicaragua were way better because of the way more stringent government.

I have never been to Croatia, but I have been to IKEA. Many times. In fact, I made the son of a good friend cry at IKEA just last week. (It's a long story and I'm not proud of it.)

Beth said...

Wow. Nicaragua is safer than Rwanda. Who knew?

Truthfully, I have a friend who backpacked through Costa Rica and Nicaragua a couple of summers ago. He loved both but wants to buy property in Costa Rica.