Tuesday, May 8, 2007

My complains + Nicaragua

Hey all. I'm a little (to say the least) discouraged by the comments, or actually, by the lack of them. In fact, it makes me not wanna write anything at all. I was considering this option. Hell yea, I'm complaining. I'm perfectly aware, that it is virtually impossible for most of you to understand what I'm going through here. I guess it is my fault. I write, what i think, is interesting and ¨safe¨ to write. Of course, there is much more to it. Alomg with great things, I'm also experiencing some very exhausting trips on shitty buses on somewhat terrible roads throughout Central America. Often sickening food (it sometimes takes me days to recover); imagine feeling like that on a 4-6 hour bus ride with no stops. When it does in fact stop, nobody tells you when it leaves or check if you are on a bus. One time, i had to run for it through a very crowd market (the terminals, for some reasons are always in the markets), because i was getting some food when the bus left with my backpack. So yea, it gets very difficult; the sleepless nights followed by dirty towns and not very dangerous but very annoying harassment from some of the locals. The search for a hostel or a hotel sometimes becomes a journey in itself, usually a very tiring and unpleasant journey.
It was my choice and I'm happy with it. I'm doing what i want, where I want and whenever I want (according to the circumstances, of course). However, I have decided to proceed. After all, I'm doing this for myself. It is MY journal. The very dirty and juicy details will most likely escape this blog but will stay in my memory (hopefully). I'll save them for later, to tell when I came back, if I come back (just kidding).

Anyways, here is for Nicaragua:
Amazing country, and very cheap too. It requires much more time then I spent there, but I had a different plan. The north, where I did not go, is mostly the cloud forests, beautiful I'm sure. Also, there are Corn Islands in the Caribbean; where there is good diving and sunsets, but since I recently had Utila experience I did not go (it is also quite far). What I did go for is the colonial feel of Nicaragua and also I wanted to get the an idea of the communistic past of the country. The Soviets used to help Nicaragua back in the days along with Cuba, trying to set up a fort-post in Latin America. They have succeeded for some time. The only soviet things left, were some LADAs driving around Nicaragua and couple of graffiti walls from the old days in León (most of them were painted over).

I had a great time there, unlike in Granada. It is a small colonial town with unrestored and unpainted old churches. I usually try to avoid ¨gringo¨ hostel (there is at least one in every touristic town), but this time I walked 6 miles with my backpack from the terminal in a steaming heat. Then suddenly there was a rain. The raining season is not due for another month, talking about global warming. So, I set myself for Via Via Cafe, a small chain of hostels in Central America, I stayed in one in.., shit I don't remember where, but they had good beds (added later: Copan). This one did not, but it was OK. Everybody hang out at this place, even locals. I met a cool guy from NY. His name was John, he was the first black and first New Yorker I have met on my trip. New Yorkers don't travel much, and American blacks especially. By the way, the most traveling state appeared to be Colorado and North Carolina, funny huh? In any case, there where no Americans in Nicaragua. Only fearless Europeans, Canadians, some South Americans and this crazy J. J. He was complaining about backpackers being very cheap, while he was ordering a bottle of white French wine in a backpackers hostel. His family was quite rich, so his education level was high; he was a T-shirt designer, who got tired of his life in New York and set his foot in Costa Rica. Many Americans did. Costa Rica is a dream, but Ill get to this later. (He arrived in Mexico with 2 suite cases, one with his clothes, another with only T-shirts. he ended up giving this suite case to the poor children somewhere in Mexico, so, if you'll see kids with funky designed T-shirts in the poorest parts of Mexico, don't be alarmed, the credit goes to John J).
So, we were drinking Flor de Caña with Coke (Cuba Libre), an incredibly cheap and very smooth rum. The best Ive ever tasted. We were bar hoping in León, where he would always try to be friends with security guards. and they, in return, would touch his mussels and his braided hear. he complained about that too. He said that he was happy someone saw it, because his friends would not believe him. It was really funny. Apparently they did not see blacks here. He was also afraid that, me being sometimes unfriendly with some of the guards, would get him (us) in trouble.¨Drop the NY attitude, man¨ he said to me, he did not know that is not NY attitude, just me, or is it? Well, we had a lot of fun. There was a waitress in Via Via, one of the most beautifully women in Central America, according to John, well, I agree on that. He was trying to hit on her, or at least communicate to. But she did not speak a word of English, or at least pretended like she did not. After couple of drinks he asked me to translate his feelings in Spanish to her. Asked me to translate, hilarious. Well, my Spanish was better than his but not to the point where I cans say: ¨You are the most beautiful woman on earth, your eyes are like to shining stars and I would very mush like to get to know you closer¨, or some cheese like that. I could only say: ¨John is very much crazy about you¨ but she knew it anyways; talking about lost in translation. I left León and don't know how this story ended just yet. Possibly Ill see him in Costa Rica in his beach house, to hear the end of it.

I did not have much luck in Granada. Something was off about this city. The city was burned during the period of government of mad American, William Walker. But the city is restored now. The central cathedral is painted bright yellow, the street were relatively clean and flocks of tourists (even Americans) were walking around the town. I walked the town too, for couple of days but did not like the feel of it. However, there were some good news. Finally, after searching practically in every country in Central America, I got myself some good cigars, and plenty of them. Granada is famous for good Nicaraguan cigars. I went to every store and tried every cigar there.I bought 15 cognac (brandy) flavored cigars, from Doña Elba Cigars (they store tobacco leaves in the chest with brandy for several years) then roll them on a spot. It is amazing how they do it. Also, I met a local girl who sold me a box of 25 premium, pure (unflavored) Nicaraguan cigars. I'm reach now; if I were to sell it in US, I'd make quite a profit.
Another good thing in Granada was Laguna de Apoyo. It is a small crater lake, 1.5 hours away from Granada. I did not take my camera but you just have to trust me it was a great view from the top of the mountain, than a nice hike down for 40 min, through the jungles down to the very clean and beautiful lake. The beach was mine. I swam and had cigar with Ernest Hemingway's "After the Storm", there also was movie script by Hotchner. It was almost like watching a movie on a lake. I continued reading in a small local beach bar, with Toña (Nicaraguan beer) and some local treats. That was a good day. I left Granada feeling stressed (there was I fight between me and a book exchange place, i wanted to change my "Old Patagonian Express" to "Pickwicks Papers" but the did not want to do it, and also charged me a crazy price for the Internet.)
So, I went to San Juan del Sur, a surf town. There was nothing to do but I had to soak up some relaxing atmosphere. I even considered surfing lessons but they were expansive and I was off to Costa Rica next day.

P.S. Yea, yea, I know, this post will be responded to. Huh, I even made it easier, there is no need to have a gmail account now.


Joshua Berman said...

glad you enjoyed nicaragua. hope you spend some serious time there. there is a lot to see if you have the freedom of an open ended journey -- down the rio san juan, bosawas.

more here: http://www.gotonicaragua.com/

feliz viaje...

VCoco said...

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

- Derek Walcott

VCoco said...

the point (of the poem), if lost, is: Do it for yourself. Keep doing it for yourself.

your writing is really lovely at points. layered experiences indeed. i po angliski! mazel tov.

Adil said...

Sometimes I just feel lazy to post a comment, but still reading all your posts. Even downloaded all your pictures to my computer and gonna show it to my friends.
Так что давай дружище развлекайся, рассказывай нам во всех подробностях про свои приключения, чтоб у нас слюни текли. Жизнь надо прожить так что было приятно вспомнить и стыдно рассказывать:). Не матери народ, и помни - никто не забыт, ничто не забыто:) А сигару одну привези;)
ЗЫ: Вроде заканчивается моя эпопея с микрофоном, так что надеюсь на следущей неделе я смогу полноценно использовать скайп.

Inna said...

img-5578- bozhe, krasotoscha-to kakaya!
img-5560- ti pianoe chudovische!

maria said...

hey Dan,
been watching your travel and proud of you. I quit D. radio. thought it would be cool if I join you while you travel in South America. How about that? lets meet somewhere - for a week or 10 days. i need visa, so let me know in advance. respond through your hotmail - there is an email from me.
masha shkolnik

artyom909 said...

Hello my liebe black friend, manyanim???!!!

I read your blog (and even understand it :)), and also i gave the link to sveta, sasha, dana, aurelio & bizon - they read it too.

The problem is that my english is not good enough to response (chukcha ne pisatel, chukcha chitatel), and i don't feel comfortable to comment in russian, but believe me - we really like to read it.
Continue to enjoy, connect to skype (i haven't seen you there) and keep writing.

P.S I've got the postcard from Nicaragua - hope this is the beginning of new tradition.

P.P.S The time some guys have the trip of their life in South America, some other guys are working hard, robbing their customers as a bankers. Tell me mazel tov!!!