Trip Start Jul 05, 2010
Trip End Jul 27, 2010

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Tortuga Booluda

Flag of Nicaragua  , León,
Sunday, July 11, 2010

Is there anybody out there who has been to Nicaragua and has NOT had gastrointestinal issues?

Cause I don't think so….Everybody I talk to, whether they’re health care professionals who verge on compulsive when it comes to ingesting only the right things….or simply backpackers or even myself for example….who in all my travels has just about never had an inside-out stomach…even I feel my insides churning, not quite at ease, contemplating whether or not to hang on the meal….and I’ve been really careful this trip. No hard-core street food…only brushing w/ agua pura…all of it….and I always eat street food..but I’ve been warned.  Corey tells me that there’s a type of bacteria here that we, as gringos, are simply not used to and it really causes things to churn and spew.  At the same time, Nicaraguans talk about being totally constipated when they come to the US…..

Don’t want to make anybody uncomfortable by going on about this….but I think it’s interesting.  Conversely, people here are virtually unaffected by allergies…and in the states everybody these days seems to be increasingly allergic or asthmatic.  Health workers believe that here, there are so many other things for the body’s immune system to contend with that there’s little attention left for an allergic reaction.  We, on the other hand, live in such sterile conditions that when anything foreign enters our system, the body can turn its unused attention there and react.  In fact, there is talk about people with severe allergies who purposely ingest parasite worms so that the body can be distracted from reacting to envtl allergens…thereby effectively treating the allergic condition.  Interesting logic….evidence-based…maybe it’s worth a try? 

This is a country where water is always an issue.  Even in this town we’re in now, Leon, a very busy university town, the water goes off and on…you never know.  And in the country, water can shut down for days….as can electricity.  In El Sauce, it shuts down all the time.  In fact, the "hospital" in El Sauce has NO RUNNING WATER.   Just to ease your mind, they’re building a new hospital that is more modern….running water and all.  So what this water shortage means to me is that you could be coming back from a day of sweat and grit, relishing the shower that’s going to save your state of mind…..and guess what?  No water.    You can whine all you want about it…but there’s still no water….and you don’t know when/if it’ll appear again.  Challenging to the Americano… 

Speaking of sweat and grit, today we went volcano boarding.  When I woke up I found myself driven to join the boarders….I’ve wanted to volcano board for a while now and been thwarted in that wish.  So here I am with a complaining stomach….and not enough sleep (the hostel was noisy plus I was on the top bunk and I’m always worried about falling out of it).   No time for hostel pancakes and we’re off….me and a group of twenty year olds.  Now I knew it was going to be a stretch…and it was.   Hiking up this black volcanic cone of an active volcano….the insides snorting and smoking and spitting out sulfur and lots of heat.  And to make the hike only more of a challenge, we have to carry not only our backpack of protective garb but the actual BOARD.  Not specially designed for carrying either….no straps, heavy, and long ends that catch the breeze…I even tried to use that factor to my advantage….but I really couldn’t hang on to the wing-like effect

Well I just trudged along…thank the goddess there was a slightly asthmatic young woman who forgot her inhaler ready to stop and break w me at a moments notice.  But Hector was in a bit of a rush cause he wanted to get back for the World Cup final game….so I had to go above and beyond to help make that happen.  Well, needless to say, I made it to the top….quite an accomplishment.  Ill tell you though, those twenty-somethings don’t really have a lot of sympathy for an older worn out woman.  I mean, they were perfectly nice and respectful and patient, but I don’t really think they understood why it would be truly harder for me…

The view from the top was amazing….the ride down very cool….we all got filthy even though we were wearing lime-green jumpsuits and all sorts of protective gear.  No doubt it was well worth it….and I’m feeling all accomplished and proud.  Even if no one else really thinks there’s a reason to be so proud.  And we all got home to watch the world cup…Spain wins….fireworks in the street.…everybody going crazy.  I’ve put off my shower till after that game….but guess what, there’s no water pressure….surprise….  

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