This is Elise. I like Granada a lot but I can't help but wonder if I would like it just as much if we hadn't gone through Mexico, Honduras, Belize and Guatemala first.
I like the people here. They are friendly, open, warm, and clean. Although there is still trash on the streets, the people are constantly sweeping and cleaning the area in front of their houses and businesses. I like the cost of things here. I haven't even taken advantage of the $5 yoga classes yet. I did get a great $28 hour long massage. I am taking one on one Spanish classes for $5 an hour. I like the availability of classes, spa services, and restaurants. There are well stocked supermercados here. There are some fun activities to do within a half hour drive. It is fast and easy to get outside of town and into nature. Not much traffic here and parking is easy. Still a lot of horse carts in town and bicycles. A lot of trees and greenery. Not buggy here.(Mosquitoes come out at night though.)
We turned down a side street when we were walking around the market on Saturday and it was like a different world. A poverty stricken street with an emaciated, sore covered man eating on the sidewalk. A rooster tied up to the wall and left on the sidewalk. This is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and on that street you could see it. The neighborhood we are staying in is more middle class families. People hang out in the street to catch the evening breeze. They have motorcycles or maybe a car. There are a lot of kids here. Mostly the kids and babies look well cared for and fed. There are a few sad cases of glue sniffing children roaming the streets looking for a hand out or something to steal.
There are 3 reasons I enjoyed the three days of Spanish classes I took in Granada. 1. I like learning Spanish 2. I like learning about the country from talking to a native for several hours a day 3. I like to have a personal translator in case I need to have something complicated done (In Antigua Mike took his teacher to the cellphone provider store to get his SIM card put in his phone) There is the surface that you see of a place if you spend a few days or a week in a place. Then there is another perspective you get after about two weeks when the novelty of the location wears off. I feel that we get a good idea of the reality of a place after about two weeks of doing daily errands such as going to the grocery store and getting body work done on the car. To date we have not been to any city we wanted to stay longer than two weeks.
We are on Omepete island now and I sure would like to have a decent supermarket here where I could buy yogurt that isn't spoiled and a bag of cubed ice.