So how was the supermarket?
It was a Palí supermarket, which there are plenty of in Costa Rica but the reason the supermarket was interesting to me is because I think supermarkets are the most interesting place in any country.
A Japanese friend of mine in San Diego had family visiting and the first thing on her list to show them in San Diego was a supermarket. It really is interesting for people who appreciate cultural nuances. I've always preferred that kind of immersion to visiting tourist landmarks and the like.
It's hard to describe but Pizza Hut is pretty much the same the world over, so are airports and hotels. But supermarkets are great places to get insight into a culture. The insight I got was that Costa Rica and Nicaragua differ very slightly. Things are much cheaper here than in Costa Rica, where a lot of things are more expensive than in the U.S but the products are similar and marketed very similarly.
There were other interesting tid-bits but it's hard to explain, for example one really interesting thing for me is to see something like Ritz crackers in much less elegant packaging (and much cheaper pricing, of course). It was also interesting to see which multi-national companies had strong footholds and how "local" they went.
Anyway, it was also interesting to see my girlfriend have to pick between a slightly different assortment of feminine products (same damn stuff, different sub-brands). I kept pointing to the Huggies (this alone was interesting to me, as disposable diapers have made big inroads in Latin America since I first lived in a Latin country) but she didn't think it was as amusing.
I tried to eat Nicaraguan food as well but it's not much different than Costa Rica (biggest difference I noticed so far was using red beans instead of black beans in the Gallo Pinto dish) and is almost as Americanized as Costa Rica (e.g. in Metro Centro there were more American fast food restaurants than local restaurants).
One refreshing thing is that the locals are much less "predatory" on tourists than in Mexico or Costa Rica. I think it's mainly just because there are so much less of them around. Taxis have been remarkably honest with me.
Anywho, this really isn't a very good place to visit. I'm sure if I spent a few months here with locals I'd find it more interesting but I'm not as adventurous as I normally would be since I'm traveling with my girlfriend.
I doubt I'll be back to Nicaragua, not because it's so bad but just because there's so much else to visit and my next close trips will probably be Panama or Colombia (and Mexico again since it was very very interesting) but if I do come back I'd like to see Granada.