Monday, August 19, 2013

Slice of life

(Party like a Nica, tip like a gringo!)
I sent an email to a friend the other day that I thought was a pretty good story, so I decided to share it here as well. This actually happened on Friday night, not "last night," but it was written on Saturday, so.
Yeah, so, last night all of the electricity in the entire town went out (although I didn't know that at first and thought it was just my block). I was just kinda gonna wait it out and see if it came back on, but I realized the battery on the computer I was using to play solitaire would only last so long, so maybe a beer was in order.

That's when I found out electricity was out all over because it was DARK walking down those streets. Most places were closed, but there was a small generator here and there providing a wee bit of light. I ended up going into a bar I walked into the other night and the owner, Mandy, even remembered my name (I *love* that). She introduced me to the gang of regulars and we all sat around drinking and playing Family Feud on her phone (not sure how that worked without an internet connection, actually, but whatever). Mandy was trying really hard to keep the refrigerators as cold as possible and was loathe to open it for just one beer, so she'd yell at the whole bar (probably a dozen of us in all) to give her their orders. Cracked me up because every single time there was a guy who didn't want a beer and then one and half minutes later he did and Mandy would curse up a storm. 

After a few hours, all of the lights and fans came whirring back on and everyone cheered. We were all looking forward to being able to go home and sleep in relative comfort with the help of our trusty fans.

I got back to my hostel and had to ring a bell to be let back in. (A couple of the bar patrons had said it sucked for my hosts to have to be woken by a bell late at night and I said if they didn't want me to ring the bell, then they shouldn't have let me leave! Ha.) Just a quick ring, not too disturbing, wait a minute or two, no response. Did that a couple of times and was inching into seven minutes of waiting for the door to be unlocked when I just let the bell rip. Did the trick, but the gal seemed stunned. I guess I would be too if a fire alarm sounding bell yanked me out of sleep and a gringa was there at the door, smiling sheepishly to be let back in.

[What's really funny is that my hosts just gave me a key to the front door. I've been here for four days already and just now got the key. I guess they don't want me to ring the bell after all!]

*     *     *     *     *

As cheap as beer is here (usually less than a dollar; an "expensive" beer is still less than $1.50), you just really don't want to drink it all day long. Lucky for me, I found this awesome smoothie place and have made it part of my daily routine to go there for a smoothie and some Duolingo practice. So far I've tried dragonfruit/strawberry/mint, pineapple/celery/lemon, carrot/orange/mint, and cucumber/ginger/orange. That last one is my favorite and now I don't have to try any other iterations. :-)

*     *     *     *     *

A lot of the kids here have those toys that were popular in the 80s in the U.S. You know the ones with the two ball, rock-like things attached by a string or hard piece of plastic that when you move your hand in such a way they clank together over and over again? Yeah, those. At times the sound is annoying as all get out, but it's also kind of amusing seeing little kids as entertained by a toy that I was entertained with nearly 30 years ago. Aw, the 80s have finally found Nicaragua! 

*     *     *     *     *

As you may have guessed by now, I'm still in Nicaragua. I was going to leave on Sunday and then I was going to leave on Monday. But at some point on Sunday I realized that a Monday departure just wasn't going to happen. I'm not exactly looking forward to the greater expense of Costa Rica and Panama. (For comparison purposes, my daily budget in Nica is $20-50, but I've never come close to $50 and there have been quite a few days that were below $20. The range for Costa Rica and Panama is closer to $35-75/day and it seems like it will be pretty easy to be within that range on a regular basis.) Plus, I haven't exactly figured out my route through C.R. and it looks like transportation could be difficult. Yeah. So. Not exactly in a hurry to leave the ease of San Juan behind. Maybe Tuesday... 


  1. Klackers (clackers?) is what those things were called. Downright dangerous they were. I think most kids gave up on them when their forearms became black and blue from the rock like ball crashing into it.

    1. I haven't heard any crying or seen any bruising, so either the Nica kids are better at it or tougher than the American kids. ;-)