The international airport in Managua, capitol city of Nicaragua, has one runway. After we landed, the pilot pulled a U-turn and taxied back to the terminal.

Kirk and I packed light. Only carry-ons; a laptop on which to dump GoPro footage, a Kindle, and an iPhone each. Clothing, too, but it was our electronics, and ourselves we worried about. Even though Nicaragua has statistically grown safer over the last decade, crime is still prevalent. While planning our trip, Kirk read and recounted to me so many stories of armed robberies, petty thefts and police bribery gone wrong that our language started morphing from “if we get robbed” to “when we get robbed.” I thought about what my Tico friend Natalia told me has happened in Costa Rica: people being stabbed for their phones.

Our rental car was a Suzuki Vitara. Shiny, white and much too new. We never had any hope of blending in (neither of us can even speak Spanish), but our license plate might as well have read ‘gringo.’

With some defensive adrenaline now flowing through our veins, we started driving. In the city, the roads were congested with pedi-cabs, horses, dogs, bikes, semi-trucks, cars, flatbeds, ox-carts, auto rickshaws, pigs, chickens, potholes, loose bricks, rocks, hidden speed bumps, school-kids, and people, people, people! everywhere. Kirk navigated through it perfectly. He had good motivation, too: besides the given complications caused by auto accidents, in Nicaragua, no matter who’s at fault, both parties go to jail.

Once out of the city, we breathed a little easier. Most of the crime we read about occurred in Managua or at the beach (to drunk tourists acting without common sense). On the country roads I felt comfortable enough to pull my iPhone from my bag at my feet, put it up to the glass and take some photos. I wished we could’ve pulled over and wandered around, snapping photos aimlessly without a care. This, not being the wisest option, left me with the opportunity to capture scenes of Nicaraguan life from the car window. ☼

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