First roosters, now cats!

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

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Where I stayed
Casa Loca

Flag of Nicaragua  , Granada,
Friday, July 9, 2010

I have been in Nicaragua for over 3 weeks now and I donīt really feel like a traveler anymore. In fact, I kind of feel like a local. As I walk through certain parts of town people actually say hi to me because they know who I am. Nevertheless, to most, Iīm just another tourist that represents a dollar sign$. Yesterday while I was sitting in parque central. A pretty, Nica girl came to sit down beside me. Itīs kind of funny because this stuff never happens to me, even in the states. I saw the proposition coming all the way from the Caribbean (the other side of Nicaragua). Anyways, she sat down and started chatting and Iīm sure it wasnīt because she was excited to spot her first Chinese-Japanese-Viet "my" knees dude. She was looking for a client. Anyways while she and I were making very small talk, a semi-toothless gringo comes up to me and says, "Beware of this one, sheīs trouble!" He also added "Ten cuidado" which means be careful. Well, since Tricks didnīt understand what he was saying, except for the part in Spanish, she asked him if he was talking smack about her. I sat around for another 30 seconds to eavesdrop on the convo, it was kind of funny. We all knew what this altercation was about, the "gringo" apparently had busted up a potential "love connection" for Tricks. I decided to leave well enough alone. Itīs funny because at first I thought the dude was her pimp but I guess it would be too cliché if her pimp was toothless.

Anyways, Iīve got 3 days left in Granada before I start making my way south to meet up with Nic. Itīs been an interesting stay in Granada. Iīve kind of become the English speaking traveler that bridges the gap between the artesanos and the English speaking tourists. I spend my days trying to talk or to listen to as much Spanish as I can. That usually entails sitting on the sidewalk pretending to sell artesanía to the tourists. Itīs a great opportunity to meet travelers from all over. Yesterday I met a lady from San Francisco. She was born in Nicaragua and she wanted to bring her daughter here to keep her connected to her roots. I also met an civil engineer from Miami thatīs also Nicaraguan. He doesnīt speak much Spanish in Miami surprisingly but heīs got it in his blood so his Spanish is way better than mine but itīs nice to see him struggle sometimes when he speaks, itīs hardly noticeable but he mentions that it takes him a lot of effort to be fluent. So, I guess sometime in the distant future I might have a shot at fluency?! I will keep my fingers crossed! Iīve got to tell you itīs really confusing listening to all the different, crazy accents. Iīm currently living with a Brazilian guy that looks like he is straight out of the Amazon and heīs got a thick Portuguese and indigenous accent so his Spanish kills me. He sometimes sounds like heīs talking through a mouthful of cotton. The Argentinian girls also have this totally not in the textbook way of pronouncing their double LLīs. In Spanish a word like amarillo for instance, the 2 llīs sound like a y as in yellow, by the way, amarillo means yellow. The Argentinians pronouce the LLīs like "sh" as in ship, amarisho. I find myself always having to ask them to repeat what they are saying. In a way, I kind of feel like a failure because I havenīt become fluent. Itīs been a battle between trying to understand what people are saying, learning new vocabulary and trying to string enough words together correctly not to feel dumb. I donīt feel totally bad though. I met a Canadian girl who has lived in El Salvador for 1 and 1/2 years and she thinks that she is finally putting it all together. I guess fluency will come when it comes.

Oh cats! The other night while I was getting ready to sleep, I heard the rustling of a plastic bag on my floor. I picked it up and staring back at me was a giant cockroach. It looked slightly smaller than a Volkwagen beetle. Apparently, this cockroach didnīt like the looks of me because the following morning, I found him in our wash basin floating on his back. So I guess he couldnīt bear to live any longer after he had seen my face. So...on to the cats. We have cats in our neighborhood (barrio) that I often see hanging out on our corrugated steel roofs. Well around the time the Roosters usually wake me up, I heard the loudest, most horrific wailing Iīve ever heard. I thought my ears were going to bleed. I awoke from a dead sleep and I jumped straight to my feet when I heard the noise. It was two cats doing battle and it sounded like death. There must be some kind of Central American animal conspiracy to keep me from getting a good nightīs sleep.

Take care,

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