nicaragua

The price of a roll

I went to Super Selectos for some food around 1 pm and saw a case with great bread, not the airy flaky flavorless kind, but hearty bread. I asked how much. 3 cords per roll, great, I bought 3 for 9 cordobas.

I shared them with a friend who decided she would buy some also. Around 3 pm we went back for 3 more. Total price: 10.5 cords. Hmm, quite inflated after only 2 short hours.

The next morning, I went back for more. This time they were 4 cords a piece! Granted, a different person was working each time. I had to argue with each of them to get the original 3 cords price. Or was it the original? What would have been my starting point had I gone at 11 am?

The flaky pricing is typical of Nicaragua and some other Central American countries. Yesterday on the bus I got charged 5 cords more than anyone else. Why? The gringo/tourist price. Either way, I always have to negotiate my way out of a higher price here.

I generally just starting with saying ‘no, that’s too high’ then either give another price or attempt to walk away a few times. That does it, usually. Or I listen to the price the local was just charged then ask for the same or give exact change (this is key or they may not always give you money back). I’m just used to everyone trying to rip you off. It’s a big chicken fight (El Gallo mas Gallo) but once you agree on a price with someone, then you become best of friends and they are the nicest people. I just have to say I expected it from a street vendor or Taxista didn’t expect it out of a grocery store.

So if you want a cheap roll, I suggest going to Super Selectos around 9 am on Monday. ;)

The Value of Life

The Value of Life

A loud crrrrrrraaaaaaaaaacck as we were eating dinner last night in Papaya Lounge in El Tunco. Everyone jumped. What was THAT?

I thought it was a firecracker. Then a few others said it was a gunshot. Panic set in. The cops came running in through the door. They opened the door to fellow Wisconsonite James’ room only to find an El Salvadorean man wet and sandy and wearing only his underwear. A random drunk man who was apparently already being chased, fell through the roof as he was walking above, directly onto James’ bed, which fortunately for James, was empty.

They immediately grabbed him, forced him to the back of the hostel and smacked him in the head with what looked like a broom handle. Unconscious and bleeding down his back, they cuffed him after checking his pulse, and then literally dragged him down the rocky road, with his feet dangling.

Another man attempted to rape a young woman, but was caught, and was beaten nearly to death.

Life is cheap in other countries. We don’t realize how pampered we are in the US. A ‘civil’ society apparently means one that is allowed to sue over hot coffee. Not in Central America. Your life is your own, your liberty is – or may/may not be, your choice. If you mess up, you mess up. There is more freedom here with regards to how you choose to live your life – be it drugs, the way you drive, whatever – it’s up to you. If you don’t value your life and your decisions, nobody else will and you will pay for whatever your crime…. unless your family has enough money to get you out of trouble… but that’s another story.

One Day in Nicaragua

 

Trying to get into a routine in Nicaragua has been more of a challenge than I anticipated. I’ve been a bit lazy for the past couple of weeks, but hey, you gotta forgive yourself sometimes.

Next week being Easter week (a.k.a. the famous Semana Santa), everywhere—at least everywhere in San Juan del Sur—is getting really chaotic. A town of about 20,000 quickly will turn into 200,000 in a few short days. And, predictably, prices are going up for apartments. Instead of finding a room for $65 USD/mo, it’s costing $150-$400. And that’s just for the spaces that are available!

But this morning, I went for a jog on the beach. A little attempt to restore order in life. I was supposed to have a meeting about running a website for a delightful business called Finca las Nubes, but once again there was no call back, or else the meeting had to be moved to another day. Such is the life of an entrepreneur. After living in Spain (where everyone’s much more chill about these kinds of things), I should be used to this. But the guy is American so I was trying to stick to a schedule. No such luck.

As I write this, the power just went out. This happens nearly daily. Luckily, I moved from a cafe/coffee shop to a ‘cyber,’ which has a generator (and air conditioning!). I have to cheat on the air today because all my clothes are soaked in sweat. Fortunately, not only did I come during the busiest and most expensive time of the year but also during the hottest season. Next time I’ll do more homework on when to travel. Le sigh.

But again, back to my jog on the beach. This was at 6:30 am when it was nice and bright. While I was walking home, there was a street vendor squeezing fresh oranges on the street. I couldn’t resist and bought some fresh, amazing orange juice for around .75 cents USD. To-go juices come in a plastic bag tied up with a straw poking out. I love it. There should be more of those available in more countries!

After my orange juice, a local Nicaraguan friend helped me get a private room and bath in a local hospedaje/establishment for $5/night USD. No free Wi-Fi, but at least I’m blending in with the locals and not paying $10/night USD to be with all tourists. I’ve met a lot of great people staying in those places, but I’d rather blend in a bit more.

My Spanish is getting better, but the slang here is doing my head in! I think I learned 5 new slang words for money yesterday. It’s fun to pick up slang. I don’t want to be speaking so formally all the time. However, I’m scared for when I travel back to Spain—they’ll kill me for the way I speak! So I’m trying not to be too informal.

Yesterday I met some kids from Menagua, the capital of Nicaragua and largest city. The rumor is that flocks come from Menagua for Semana Santa and they fight, get drunk, sleep in the streets, rob you, etcetera. But I had seen them vending in the streets earlier and had a laugh and even bought some sunglasses (after gifting mine to a young Nicaraguan girl in Ometepe last weekend). So when they invited me to swim and body surf, I was happy to join.

And glad I accept. I had a great time! Today I passed by the whole group, maybe 5 people, and they all waved to me. They taught me about cusoquitos: the ugliest bug/shelled animal in the world. They come out only when the water is warmer and they dive into the sand. You can see their tiny legs pop up when the wave goes away. Millions of them! Que asco! Gross! They make them in soups—not for me, nor for many others. But somebody has to do it.

I’ll post some pics and tell more stories as I go, just like I always try to do with this blog. Hasta luego!

Have you ever traveled to Nicaragua? What was your experience like?