Scorpion in the bedroom.

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

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Where I stayed
Casa Loca

Flag of Nicaragua  , Granada,
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Did the title catch you at all? Fortunately, my danger stories are usually told in 2nd-hand fashion; this one is no different. My housemate Chelsea was just about to fall asleep last night when she felt a tremendous stabbing pain on her big toe. It hurt enough to be concerned about the cause of the sting. She came out into the living room and announced that she had been stung by a baby scorpion. Luckily, it was only a baby and we had some magical scorpion sting ointment. It could have been much worse! As for me, I only came home to a damp sheet, which leads us into the meat of this entry. Am I experiencing culture shock? You be the judge.

Before coming to Central America, I had read about the abundance of street trash. Let me tell you, knowing that street trash exists and seeing it everyday are 2 different stories. I walk through half-paved streets; a random patchwork of asphalt that never gets completed. Where the pavement ends is where the trash usually begins. The gutters are littered with mangos, plastic fresco bags, horse poop, dog poop and sometimes dead animals. Iīve ridden on buses where I see children and adults alike throwing there empty food and beverage containers out the window. I think Iīve mentioned before that Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country in the Western hemisphrere so I donīt really think garbage is the first thing on peopleīs minds down here. But at some point, shouldnīt it be? Culture shock?

Are they all deaf? I think this a lot on my daily walks through the streets. Cars, buses, businesses and sometimes horse carriages all decked out to the 9, with gigantic speakers, battle to get your attention. Volume...if you can still turn the volume knob clockwise, than the volume isnīt loud enough. Take the noise and amplify it with the fact that the streets here are generally only wide enough for one parked car and one vehicle to pass at a time. Then multiply this by the fact that these noise competitions are directly side by side? Culture shock?

Why does everyone want to sell me something? Again, I knew this was going to be a problem. What I didnīt expect to be a problem, culture shock! So, Dr. C had warned me that all the little things that donīt bother travelers during the honeymoon period of traveling starts bothering them at some point. If youīre reading this Michael Cartmill, why do you have to be so damn smart?! Iīve noticed that just walking down the sidewalk sometimes bothers me. For example, in the market area of Granada, the vendors setup their stands on both sides of the street. The gutters are lined with garbage and that pushes pedestrians into the streets with traffic. The first few weeks of this didnīt bother me but now it is Really starting to bother me. I feel like Iīve been walking around amongst a herd of cattle and I can smell the stink emanating from the streets. Iīm sticky and sweaty from the humidity. Everyone wants to sell me cashews, hammocks, t-shirts, street snacks, frescos, paintings, ceramics or simply stick a hand in my face or grab my arm to ask for money. Letīs be frank, this is how things work down here. If you come down here and expect anything less youīre a dummy. I expected all these things but I never expected things to amplify week after week and grow into, you got it...Culture shock!

Have you ever wanted to kill something? No, I mean it this time! There must be 100 roosters within a 1 block radius of any house in Central America and they are set to go every hour of the day. Additionally, the crowing just gets amplified off the sheet metal roofing. I feel like theyīve gotten into my head. The problem is that I canīt even blame it on a single rooster. Does that make me a Rooster Racist? Am I prejudiced against all roosters just because the Central American roosters have given them a bad rap? Will I be on the 11 oīclock news as I snap and unleash my fury on 1000īs of gallos inocentes, culture shock?

So whatīs the solution, I donīt know. Honestly, if it had not been for the fact that Iīve made a lot of friends down here, I think I might have experienced this awhile ago. Additionally, Iīm just coming of a crazy fiebre (fever). And just for the record, these thoughts are all the thoughts that I was thinking while I was on my crazy, fevered bus escapade around Northern Nicaragua. Iīm pretty good now, although I donīt think Iīll ever understand the battle of the loudspeaker, itīs just so ridiculous that itīs funny! One last thought about street food, I love it! Iīm still eating gigantic, fresh made donuts from my friendly Nica grandma figure but I think I made need a break from Gallo Pinto and fried cheese. Itīs just not going down as smoothly as it did the first 28 meals worth. Itīs time for a break!

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