Experiencing true Nicaragua

I had left it long enough it was time to report the money that was stolen from my bag in Estali. The receptionists at the grotty hostel in Granada named Backyard (not recommended – dirty and too many party people) were friendly enough and explained to me in slow Spanish where I needed to go. They also told me I would not be able to report it in Granada, I needed to go back to Estali and the police did not speak any English – fabulous! Consequently, I grabbed a taxi preparing for a painful, unsuccessful, futile journey. I wanted to at least try.

The taxi dropped me off right outside. Policemen and women strolled about wearing bright blue shirts and smart black trousers. I had no idea where I was going – I was the only white person around again. I walked in through the open door into an old, grubby stone building with no security. People seemed to be queuing up next to a gap in the wall covered by a wooden slate. Others sat on white plastic chairs or benches. This main room was pretty small and cramped. I stood monetarily with the others in the queue and read a sign about registering vehicles. Not appropriate for me. I tried asking police officers where to go but no one stopped to listen to me. How does one address a Nicaraguan police officer? Apparently saying senorita can be offensive – it refers someone older. Saying amigo (friend) what I have been using for strangers seemed too informal for an officer. I resorted to eye contact and saying pardon. It seemed to do the trick a nice worker pointed me to room I needed and she understood my Spanish – saying I was very clear at speaking – little did she know I had just memorised the appropriate phrase.

I sat down with the officer and told her the situation. She wrote down what happened, the colour of my bag, card stolen, where and when. Some questions she asked I was unsure about at first but with my basic Spanish, some smiles and hand gestures we got everything needed and the form was complete – result. Everything in Nicaragua does seem to be at a slow pace. I followed the officer walk at a snails pace to another room to get a stamp. Here police officers sat around – one painting her nails others talking to each other, while others seemed to be working. It was a great experience going to a local police station. While, the situation was a pain, it actually meant I got to go in this other adventure, get some more free Spanish lessons and see more of the true Nicaragua. Every cloud has a silver lining.

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