Hello From Granada, Nicaragua! Country numero cinco!
We have traveled less than probably 200 miles from our most recent destination in El Salvador...yet this place couldnt be more different! we´ve gone from being literally the only tourists in a remote town surrounded by coffee farms to being in something like the breckenridge of central america. Amazing town, colonial archicture, european-esk feel, tons of amazing restaurants, entertainment, shopping, bars, clubs, casinos...defintely some advantages of being back in society. there are certainly drawbacks as well...in the remote towns, most people that strike up a conversation just want to talk and get to know you, practice some of the english they have picked up. In the tourist based society everyone is selling something...on our way back from the bar last night I started talking to a guy going the the same direction, he had nothing in his hands to sell me so I thought we were safe...next thing I know, he wants me to buy him cigarettes and a shot of rum! oh well...its all good. For anyone looking to experience central america without having to go through some of hardships and difficulties of traveling, Grenanda is perfect!
Anyway...this is not why Im writing today. We came up with another blog about things we have had to get used to...cause man, there are a lot of them...number one has to be transportation, maybe I was a bit spoiled coming into it because I never have had to rely on public transportation to get around. I would say buses in all the countries we have visited take it to a-whole-nother level! imagine, 130 people packed into a bus built for 70...sitting in a bus terminal with diesel engines running all around you, its 90 degress with 90 percent humidity, if that wasnt enough, now the vendors with voices trained to penetrate your skull climb into the bus pushing everything from batteries and superglue to bags of soda and corn on the cob! its wild...depending on your mood it can entertaining, and if your hungry, its nice to have a snack, but when its your 5th bus of the day, you´re tired and dripping with sweat, well, you get the picture.
Next is the meal tipico, thats breakfast tipico, lunch tipico, dinner tipico...now in places like granada, you can get all the food you want, but in these towns with no real restaurants, you dont get to choose what you want to eat, they make one plate for each meal, all pretty similar, invloving, beans, cheese, rice, plantains, a thick corn tortilla and either a piece of chicken or an egg (depending on meal)...it does make choosing what to have easy, but man it gets old.
Sleeping in a diffent bed every night. the routine is always the same, check in and put down your bag...speaking of my bag, funny thing, we typically only have one bag for the dirty clothes that i (brett) carry, so when all our clothes are clean the weight is distributed relatively evenly between our 2 backpacks, as we wear the clothes the weight begins to shift, by laundry day my bag weighs about 50lbs, while sophias is probably 20lbs! so you put your bag down and unpack because the one thing you need is probably at the bottom. Ive discovered that if the bed too soft, i wake up some serious lower back pain.
showers are a good one, apparently shower heads are a hot commidity here, so half or more of them have been stolen...so now your taking a cold shower out of basically a pipe sticking out of the wall!
speaking of bathrooms, how about not being able to flush the toilet paper...thats a good one to get used to.
finding ways to exercise takes getting used to...you wont believe it, but theres no 24hr fitness here...i went on mens health website and found some great body weight exercises.
Sophia´s List of Things to Get Used to:
I definitely agree with all the things on Brett´s list, but I would like to add a couple of things.
Getting used to having to think of a different way to say things because you don´t know how to say what you would usually say in Spanish.
Not using a curling iron and hair dryer to do my hair.
Not having the delicious yogurt and peanut butter Balance bars to snack on whenever I´m feeling hungry.
Hanging out with Brett 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Brett´s new beard and mustache (and having to perform the upkeep to keep them looking good.)
Getting my haircuts from Brett instead of a professional stylist.
Having all of my possesions fit in a small backpack and needing to unpack and repack this backpack pretty much every day.
Not having hot showers. And having the cold water come from hose-type pipe coming out of the wall. Wearing flip-flops in the shower.
Using Skype to make phone calls instead of my Blackberry. But I have to say that it´s good getting away from the technology and not being so reliant on a cell phone.
Riding around in chicken buses everywhere. Definitely the cheapest, but not always fastest form of transportation. The label ¨chicken bus¨ is for real, there are actually chickens bring transported. I saw two so far. One lady at the front of the bus had two in her bag.
Not EVER doing my makeup! ;)
And then my thoughts wander back to Hermosa Beach, CA and it takes
some getting used to not being apart of the summer volleyball scene, the
wonderful people, sun and rollerblading and the parties on the pier.
In most places that we have visited so far, the two drinks of choice are Rum and Coke or the country´s international beer of choice. To me, it´s remarkable that the beer options are so limited and that one brand can completely dominate an entire country, but that´s how it works. All of the restaurants and shops have signs produced by the beer manufacturer with a picture of the beer and then the name of the establishment to the side. These signs must be gratis because even the worst businesses have them. Brilliant marketing strategy! Sometimes you get lucky and there will be two beers per country, but most of the time they taste the same anyway. I´m just stoked to be in Granada, Nicaragua right now where the wine flows fast and cheap and the mojitos are a plenty.
Speaking of... I think it´s time for some of the wine and mojito action... :)