Malaria or street-food?

Trip Start May 13, 2010
Trip End Jul 31, 2010

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Where I stayed
Casa Vieja

Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My friend Erick from El Salvador has been teaching me a lot of really bad things to say in Spanish. He wrote a lot of these things in my journal for me. I asked him who I was supposed to use these expressions with because much of what he wrote is slang but he said the Ticos (Costa Ricans) Nicas (Nicaraguans) and the Salvadoreņos would understand. But Iīm sure you guys know what Iīm talking about. Iīm studying to be a teacher, I canīt really pull out nasty slang in general conversation. Nonetheless, itīs kind of funny. The Argentinian girls who live in the house tell me that I need to spend more time talking to them because Iīm beginning to sound like Iīm from El Salvador. They tell me that Iīm going to have a really funny mongrelized accent when I leave C.A. I think they also have funny accents. In fact, no one in the house really speaks textbook Spanish. There is an American girl that speaks Spanish with an Italian accent, a German girl that speaks Spanish with a German accent. Then there are the crazy Nica, Tico, El Salvadoreņo accents and then thereīs my crazy accent. I have no idea what my accent sounds like. Whatever itīs like, Iīm sure it hurts there ears.

Iīve have been in Granada for 12 days and it is getting a little stale. I love my hippy, rasta family but Iīm starting to feel the culture shock of C.A. Mainly what that entails is that I am tired of feeling dirty all the time. Granada is located in the Pacific lowlands of Nicaragua and although I wouldnīt describe it as terribly hot, I would describe it as super "muggy". I am always sweating. Iīd be very surprised if I didnīt sweat while in the shower!

Anyways, Iīve also developed a routine in Granada. I get up and read or watch the Copa Mundial in Spanish. I hand-wash my clothes every morning next to the dirty dishes, yuck! Then after a nice long shower, after which I still feel remarkably unrefreshed, I head down town for some donas (donuts) from my favorite street vendor. Iīm pretty much stuffed after 2 donas. Man these things rock. And they only cost 4 córdobas or $.20usd. Then I pretty much walk around getting molested by street vendors and some of them even know me by sight now. I guess Iīm a bit of an oddity because there are so few Japanese-Chinese-Korean-Thai-Cambodian-Mongolian-Indonesia-Vietnamese guys walking around. Sometimes itīs a game for them to guess where Iīm from. They havenīt guess right yet but how many more guesses do they need?

So on Monday, I was sitting in my usual spot on the Calzada east of the main Plaza in Granada and the Policia Nacional paid us a visit. Police visits are bad in all countries. Well, what they wanted was to hassle my friends about was their right to sell artesanía on the Calzada. Purportedly some phantom ordinance has recently appeared and mandates that all vendors are required to have a permit to sell products in the street. I am 100% sure that this was entirely bogus. Do they realize how many 100īs perhaps 1000īs of people sell stuff on the street everyday without permits. Maiz, my Tico friend wanted to see the ordinance. He said that if they are going to try to push some phony agenda to extort money from street vendors, he wants to see the documentation. The "bad" cop just crossed his arms and gave Maiz an angry look. Maiz asked him what his name was and he refused to give us his name. It looked like Maiz had the Policia on the run but a badge, baton, gun and bogus ordinance won the day. We all decided to convene and meet with the city attorney and she set up a meeting to talk to us the next day. Unfortunately for me, I took the next day as a travel day so I wonīt find out how the meeting went until I return to Granada in a few days.

Anyways, yesterday (Tuesday) was Erickīs last night in Nicaragua so I went out to a bar in León with him to meet some friends. His friends never showed up so I packed it in around 10:45pm. By the time I got home I wasnīt feeling very well. I had body aches and a slight headache. I slept with the fan on because I wanted to avoid anymore mosquito bites but I wonder if Iīm too late. Itīs definitely not serious but I canīt imagine that itīs just a typical cold. Then again, it could be a typical cold or it could be the street food. I donīt know, either way, itīs all good.

I got a map of León today and as it turns out, they have 14 mapped churches and several unmapped ones spread around town. Iīm not a religious person but the architecture is definitely worth the effort to take a closer look at the churches and since they are all over town, I got a really good feel for the city. The energy of this city is very lively. There are a few universities in town so itīs kind of a college town. The architecture is distinctly different from Granada and the people seem a little more laid back. I was looking at the largest Cathedral in C.A. and one of the construction workers just came up to me and just starts talking. We had a 15 minute conversation about his attempt to get a work visa for....Canada! He has friends in Toronto and so heīs going through the long arduous process to legally move to Canada. Heīs also taking English and French classes but he only has time to study during the weekends. Plus, he has to leave his kids in Nicaragua while he puts his life in order so that his kids can come live with him in Canada. It just doesnīt seem fair. Nonetheless, he is very optimistic.

Well tomorrow is another travel day. Luckily itīs only about 3 hours. Iīm heading into the highlands of Nicaragua to get a much needed break from the heat and humidity. Everyone tells me that Matagalpa is "cold" but I think they probably mean 80 degrees instead of 93. I hope you like pictures of churches because there are quite a few!
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