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Sunday, November 20, 2016

When a place on a map becomes a place in your heart

We have been very busy the last couple of weeks, since returning from the Corn Islands. The Nicaraguan elections took place and for us, in Granada, it felt more like a Thanksgiving afternoon than what the US embassy was reporting could happen. In fact, none of the post election strife they mentioned was possible ever happened. In a twist of irony, though, back in the states it has been quite chaotic. It could not have been any more peaceful and uneventful than being in Nicaragua, which gets me to ponder about the misinformation being spun about this, and other innocent countries. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, the only way to really gain perspective about a country is to go there. But how do you do it when the noise coming out of a place is so negative? Go there! As oddly simplistic as it sounds, going there is the only true answer. After all, what might be good for readers of a "Retire Abroad" publication might not be good for you. The vise versa is also true, so the only way to overcome your hurdle is to see it with your own eyes.
   In addition, to the election, we were catching up with this blog in other ways, not seen by the reader. For example, we have been responding to inquiries and emails about our impressions regarding Nicaragua, especially for young families. Much of this probably stems from our October numbers, as this blog received just shy of 100,000 hits, for the month. These were pre-election numbers and we have since seen even more interest since the election. A reoccurring theme we keep seeing is leaving the US because of the election. Well, understanding how emotional the situation is, I still don't recommend leaving for a single reason. The most successful expats we've met left for a variety of reasons. Also being financially able to leave is critical, as jobs for expats are slim to none, unless you buy a business. If you are absolutely set on leaving, make a trip to the country or countries first to determine if it is right for you.
   In the midst of all this, I was called into action and drove a non-driving friend to Vivian Pellas hospital for a check-up of a suspected heart issue. The check-ups, exams, blood work, and tests eventually took three days and maybe 6 hours of combined care. The total out of pocket expense was a few bucks shy of $500 which included medication. The physician was personally with the patient for at least 4 hours of the 6 hours, absolutely unheard of back in the states. As for my impressions of Vivian Pellas, it was better than great, a clean facility with happy employees and small lines for attention. Our friend is a candidate for possible heart surgery, which if it happens would be around $10,000 with no hidden fees, deductibles, co-pays etc. Again, I would feel 100% comfortable in their care based on what I saw. The fact that the other Central American countries send their more affluent patients here for care says more than my mere words could ever say.
    Finally, we wouldn't be in Granada if it weren't for it's culture, festivals and parades. This city has a special way of energizing the tired, educating the know-it-alls, and dare I say humble the bold. The city exhibits a momentito slowness about it, punctuated with bursts of energy. As cities go, it is so agreeable with us. Granada is easily nudged into action, kind of like a body when the heart pumps faster while listening to music. The people thumb and press life into the buildings and the whole is much better than any partial sum of the parts. Granada is like a reoccurring first kiss but with horse poo on the streets. It is life, raw and unfiltered. It is poor and rich and neither has anything to do with money. This little town, these oddly clashing colorful buildings, the beggars, all contribute to the tensions and passions of this wonderful world heritage site. All I can say is, it's a wonderful feeling when a place on a map becomes a place in your heart.
           

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The parade was a family affair.

Families in a religious parade, getting ready for Christmas.

A wonderful way to celebrate the morning.

People add so much color to this town.

Xalteva church is where the parade ended. 


Vivian Pellas is expanding to handle international patients.

Large hospital filled with specialized care givers. 

Modern hospital with well trained staff.

The waiting times were minimal.

Paying for services is easy and upfront, no hidden fees.

The staff is eager to speak English but when it gets too complicated they provide translators at no cost to the patient. 








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