Wending our way up the west cost of Central America, Mexico and the USA, we visited Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Corinto/Leon, Nicaragua, Manzanilla & Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Los Angeles & San Francisco, California.
I was glad we were stopping in Nicaragua, because in 2018 we were not able to do so due to political problems at the time. I found out this time, those problems were caused by the imposition of an arbitrary tax increase by the government. Most people felt it was too high and unfair, and it led to protests and shootings in the streets. It also caused a collapse of their much needed tourism industry.
We visited Leon, the old capital and a lovely colonial city. It was built after the original capital city, now Leon Viego and built by the Spanish in 1524, was buried in ash and stood completely undisturbed until 1967. Leon Viego is known as the “Pompeii of Central America” and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site offering a remarkable glimpse into 16th Century life in one of the earliest Spanish colonial settlements.
The capital was then moved from Leon to Managua and it was a popular, booming destination for tourists until 1972, when an earthquake destroyed the city and it has never really fully recovered. Our guide actually played a song called “Managua, Nicaragua” recorded by Canadian Guy Lombardo back in the 1940s. Check it out if you can. Today they are pinning their hopes on the return of the tourists to this lovely country.
Arriving in San Francisco, one of the special experiences when you arrive via ship, is to sail in under the beautiful Golden Gate bridge. The Horizon lounge on the ship was full, and you couldn’t get a seat anywhere to watch from the panoramic windows at the top of the ship. It was cold outside. It’s been cold since Los Angeles, and the band was bravely playing on deck. Some hardy souls were out there waiting and watching, and watching and watching ……. but the Golden Gate bridge had disappeared!! Soon we could see the Alcatraz and downtown San Francisco, but looking back, still no bridge. It was invisible, obscured by fog!!
This is the end of the first segment of our voyage around the world. It has been memorable, with missed ports, five days of heavy weather & seas, and a virus outbreak and lots of hand washing. So those of us who are going on from here were offered a free tour of San Francisco while they sanitized the whole ship. We had to remove everything from all surfaces in our cabins for them to do this, and then not go back for several hours. Also, I was sad to see my friend Pat from Arizona depart here. But the nicest part of San Francisco was the new passengers who boarded – many of them our old friends from the 2018 Around the World. I can’t tell you how special it is to reacquaint with these old friends.