I've been here in Nicaragua for 13 months now and I recently received some bad good uh... interesting and potentially life changing news.
I moved back to Managua from Rio Blanco at the end of February to take a position teaching English in the English Language Institute (ELI)at the American Nicaraguan School (ANS). The director at the time I was hired was super awesome, super nice and was from Bluefields and spoke English, Creole and Spanish. Unfortunately, he was very ill and was unable to continue as the director, so they brought in someone else. We will call him Mr. Lame. So, Mr. Lame took over as the director and told me what an awesome job I was doing and let me know that the students really like me and my coworkers enjoy working with me and blah blah blah. Then, 5 days before the term ended, I received an email from Mr. Lame stating that, unless I could prove I am either a resident or in the process of getting my residency, I would no longer be working.
First thought through my head was, fu-uck. Second thought: I have all my documentation down here, all I need is to go to Migracion and get some translations and authentications, hit the US Embassy and that should be good. So, I spent the next few days spending all my money and going all over town to get things taken care of.
This is where I went and what happened.
1)Migracion. The main office over near Ciudad Jardin. You can renew your tourist visa and apply for exit visas in the Migracion office in the mall, but you have to go to the main office for most other stuff. I paid C$3 (about $0.15) for the paperwork I needed to fill out, then talked to a lady who gave me a long list of all the things I would need for an application. The list was very long. But, it turns out that a friend of my Papa Nicaraguense works at Migracion, so I talked to him and I saw my Papa Nicaraguense at the Migracion office. It all seemed very promising.
2) Metro Centro (aka: The Mall). I went to Metro Centro because it is right by my house and I needed 2 passport sized photos and copies of my birth certificate and every page of my passport that has a stamp in it. The place I went to had a deal and I got 8 passport photos and 10 copies for C$64 (~$3).
3) US Embassy. I went to the US Embassy to get 3 documents authenticated. My birth certificate, my police report and my university diploma. I heard that they would tell me where to go and what to do next. They did not. I had actually never been in such a large compound of unhelpful people before. I felt like I had left the Embassy with less money and less information than I had going in. They charged me $70 to not even authenticate my documents ($30 for the first and $20 for each additional). They wrote me a note, essentially, with the US seal on it, stating that I swear these documents are true. Why couldn't I just go somewhere and not pay money to swear these things are true? But I digress. $70 lighter, I caught the bus to UCA (Universidad Centro America) and went to visit a friend and sit in her air conditioned office and see what she knew about having documents translated. She works in the Centro Superior de Idiomas at UCA and, as it turns out, I had come to the right place.
4) UCA-Centro Superior de Idiomas. After sitting in the a/c and drinking a Coke Light with one of the loveliest Texans in Nicaragua (I get why Miss Texas always makes it to the finals in the Miss America pageants) I brought my 3 documents over to an office three doors down for translation. $45 ($15 each) for the translations. And, luckily, since I am at UCA fairly often to visit my friend, they told me I could pay later, but I needed to bring a receipt from the Caja (cashier) proving I had paid when I came to get the documents.
5) Centro de Salud. On the form from Migracion, it says you need a health certificate from your doctor in your country of origin. I am not in my country of origin and do not have the money to be flying to Seattle to go see my doctor. So, I called Migracion and they told me I could go to whichever Centro de Salud is nearest my house. So, I cabbed it over there and everyone stared at me. (Centros de Salud are free. They are public health facilities. And, as always, I forget that I don't look as Nicaraguan as the people I see.) I went to an information desk and told them what I needed. They directed me to a curtained office on the left. I went in, told the ladies what I needed, they gave me a chewable tablet and a tetanus shot and sent me to another office where I was given a certificate of health. Who knew that a tetanus shot and a chewable tablet were all you needed to be healthy?
The next step, which I was planning to do last Friday, is taking the translated documents to the Ministerio de Exterior to have them Authenticated by the Nicaraguan government. I was so close. I was only lacking 2 things. And both were things I needed from work.
So, Thursday afternoon I went to work a little early to talk to Mr. Lame and ask him if they could help me out. One of the things I needed was a contract stating that, if I got residency, I would have a job. He told me they could not help me. I asked why he didn't tell me that a week ago. And he suggested I get married and I kind of went off on him. In my defense, he isn't a joking kind of guy and was serious in his suggestion. So, I basically told him where he could go and what he could do when he got there.
So, I think that now, even if I got my residency, he wouldn't want me working there and I would rather suck Daniel Ortega's dick than work for a total douche. Word on the street is that Mr. Lame was charged with the task of getting rid of all the expensive teachers He offered a gringa friend of mine with a Masters in Education $8 an hour for the same job I, with my BS in Chemistry, was doing for $10 an hour. But really, I have no business teaching English when I came down here to be working on clean drinking water projects, you know? So, I emailed a friend and went off about how completely fucked I am (I have about $500, which is not even enough to buy a plane ticket). This friend is the Lancelot to my Gwenevere. If ever there was a damsel that was in distress as often as I am with a knight always ready to ride to the rescue, she was very lucky as well. This friend is sending me money to buy a plane ticket home. I was only planning on being here for a year and I've been here longer than that so far. And, as soon as the money gets here, I was planning on buying a plane ticket. Then came an alternate option.
Before I get into it, enjoy this picture of a dog on a pig to clear your head a bit.
That was from a community out near Siuna.
Okay, so a few weeks ago I met a local businessman named John Wyss. He informed me that I was the first chemist he has met in Nicaragua and he and some associates had been looking for a chemist for a while. I had a meeting with him last week and we discussed the potential of me working for him, checking antioxidant levels in the chocolate his company makes. (Momotombo Chocolate is super good, just so you know, but they are always out of the type I like.)
Yesterday, John sent me an email asking if I could meet with a friend of his yesterday afternoon. This friend of his is one of the co-founders of a bio-scientific start-up. They sell a lot of biomass to a company in Costa Rica that makes pharmaceuticals. Apparently, there is more money to be made if they actually do the extractions. So, John's friend, Bob, spoke to me about the possibility of setting up a place for extractions at the site that currently sells the biomass, finding lab space that we can use here in Managua, or finding a location and setting up lab space, super cheap and ghetto style.
Bob told me to think about what kind of salary I would want for working on the project and to think about whether or not I am interested. I think I will know more after we check out the facilities. I know the quantity and quality of extract they want, but I'm not familiar with the source material and I haven't done organic extractions since university. I've been working as an environmental inorganic chemist.
And, additionally, this may be the opposite of the kind of work I want to be doing. I want to provide clean drinking water to people, not exploit their natural resources so pharmaceutical companies can make money.
This company is a start up. Since I have the potential to enter at ground level, if it takes off and I negotiate profit sharing into my contract, I could make some money. But I hate money and I want to burn it all.
So, I don't know what I want to do or what I should do. On the one hand, this is could be a great opportunity. I could commit to 90 days and if I don't dig it, I could say "adios" guilt free.
On the other hand, I have so many friends that seem to want me home. One of them, when I sent her an email saying I may be moving to her town and could use help finding a job, had this to say:
"I am so glad to hear! I have been thinking of you everyday!
You want a job? I'm a gonna cover you in jobs. Can't wait, we can sit around and watch old movies and eat brie and get the bread all over the carpet and be totally beautiful. I will wear a push up bra and try to make cleavage to catch the crumbs with, and then we will fly away on our crumby carpet, feeding a flock of white doves with the bread cascading from our bosoms. LOVE YOU!"
How can I not want to come home after a message as full of love and insanity as that?
So, I am going to check out the bio-science group's facilities next week and make a decision, I suppose. What else am I doing with my life, really?
Okay, let's count the incidences of robbery, pickpocketing, kidnapping and attempts related to these crimes since I moved to Nicaragua last year. ( I don't even want to get into the times weird shit has happened to me in the US.)
1) June 2009. 1p. Attempted pickpocketing. I'd been here for all of two weeks and some guy tried to pickpocket me on a crowded city bus. I have huge thighs. There is no way you will get any where near my pockets without me feeling your grubby little hands. I grabbed him around the wrist, looked at him, and said, in English, "You don't want to f-ing do that, dude." And he backed away.
2) October 2009. 8:15a. Kidnapping. (In case you missed it, you can read all about it here.)
3) December 2009. mid-day. Pickpocketing. Jason was flying in for two weeks and we were going traveling. I was on my way in to Managua from the campo to meet him at the airport. I had my wallet in the outer pocket of my bag. I had $80 US in there and my debit card. It was partially my fault for putting my wallet in that pocket. Man that sucked. But Jason was awesome and financed our trip. In exchange for blowjobs and crack rocks. (Or maybe I'm making that last part up. It's actually far more likely that I played tour guide and one day will pay him back by purchasing him a pony once I become famous.)
4) February 2010. Ipod stolen from my birthday party and my room was broken into in Rio Blanco and someone stole my grandmother's ring. The ring was recovered and the perpetrator's ass was kicked.
5) March or April 2010. 2p. Attempted pickpocketing. I was with Gina The Brit and we were walking from Metro Centro to the burrito place. I'd just sent a text message and some sketchy looking kid was standing on the corner. I decided to cross the street. Then he crossed the street. All of a sudden, he came running toward me and put his hand in my pocket. I grabbed his arm, grabbed his shirt and punched him in the face. He did not get anything, but he was trying to pull away from me while I yelled at him in English while ripping his shirt half off before letting go. As he ran down the street, I threw my water bottle at him and yelled, "Hijo de puta. Voy a llamar tu mama." (Son of a bitch, I'm going to call your mother.) I hope his friends made fun of him and his parents kicked his ass for coming home with a torn shirt. I also hope he thinks twice before trying to pickpocket anyone else in BROAD FREAKING DAYLIGHT.
And that brings us up to date. The latest incident happened on Friday night, shortly after 10pm.
Friday night was the grand opening of the new gay discoteca, Lollypop. It was an invitation only, VIP party and I was going as the date of my friend, Rudy. I decided to look the part for the red carpet party (sorry. I don't have any photos. But I was complimented by a drag queen and most of the boys there, so I think I looked the part.)
Before I went to Lollypop, I was planning on making a cameo appearance at a friend's despedida. It was 4 blocks from my house, so I figured I would get my roommate to walk me there.
I was wearing 4 inch heels and my super awesome black and white dress that I had worn to my birthday party. My hair was all fancy and I had my glasses in my tiny black purse so I could put them on later if I decided seeing was necessary. Luis and I were all of one block from our house and my phone rang. It was my ex-boyfriend, Vicente (not Fernandez). So I was talking to him and these three teenagers passed us. (Damn hooligans). They turned around so they were behind us, the girl grabbed my phone out of my hand while I was talking on it, and one of the boys tried to take my purse. He was pulling on it and telling me to give it to him. I said, "No. My glasses are in there." He kept pulling on it (It's nice knowing a bag I bought 4 years ago for $5 is strong enough to withstand potential robbery). My favorite part was the third kid.
These guys had no weapons, but kid #3 was holding a 1.5L plastic bottle of coke over his head like a club. I'm taller than most Nicaraguans anyways, and I was wearing 4 inch heels. So, the boys were about breast level and the girl barely came up to my waist. (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating.) It was ridiculous. What? If I don't give your friend my bag you are going to club me with a plastic coke bottle? Seriously?
Then the police came around the corner, turned on their siren and the kids took off. Those fuckers got away with my phone. They are lucky I was wearing incredibly tall shoes that made it impossible for me to chase after them and kick there asses. It is comforting, though, to know that people also get robbed at night. I was starting to think it was something that only happened in the afternoon.
So, the new plan of action: Always wear my glasses when I am walking somewhere and always wear ass kicking shoes when I think the necessity for some ass kicking may arise.
Well, gang. The results came back from my amoeba/worm test. They were inconclusive. But, I still took all my parasite pills and should be parasite free.
At least, internally speaking.
I discovered recently that I have a different kind of parasite. One that's not so easily removed and could potentially lead to one becoming... well... a little stabby.
His name is Ridiculously Hot Lawyer (RHL) and he lives around the corner from me.
RHL and I met last month at a place called In the House, which is super close to my house. He winked at me and I thought it was completely ridiculous and I laughed. My friend, Juan, told me not to laugh because RHL was trying to be sexy. "No," I said. "He's trying to be funny! Nobody thinks winking is sexy!"
I found out later that Juan was right. But I didn't let that phase me! I have a lot of free time on my hands these days.
So, RHL and I had been dating for about a week when I asked him if I was his girlfriend. (Dating culture in Nicaragua still confuses the heck out of me and, for all I know, having three successful dates with someone could mean that you're married.) He responded, "Just friends, ok?"
I was super mad. I didn't actually want to be his girlfriend because, well, after the third date he started saying things that made me suspect he is not the sharpest tool in the shed. And, so, my darling little self-esteem was slightly damaged by this not so bright fella basically saying I wasn't girlfriend material. And so, since we were just friends, I vowed to be better at being just friends than he was. I would show him.
And I did. The thing is, by half way through the 2nd week, I started thinking less that he's not bright and more that he might actually be retarded. He said some seriously stupid things. And, he speaks English, but I don't think he understands it. Granted, I do talk fast, but whatevs.
I think I now know how Michael Bluth felt in season 3 of Arrested Development when he was dating Charlize Theron's character.
He was so frustratingly stupid sometimes. One night, I was at home with a sore throat. He texted me and asked if he could come over. "I'm not feeling well," I said. "I have a sore throat." He responded, "I'd like to clean your throat with my tongue." "Gross." "Sorry. I didn't mean to be rude." "That wasn't rude. That was disgusting."
The next time I saw him, I asked him if he would say something like that in Spanish and he said yes. Then he said it in Spanish. I told him never to say that again in any language whatsoever. Then he claimed he was a poet and i just didn't understand his artistry. Or some bullocks along those lines.
And then I told him he had to leave my house. He was seriously getting on my nerves. And it's more than just his desire to clean my tongue with his throat.
Fast forward to about a week later. I hadn't texted him or answered his phone calls. Because, well, we're just friends so I can ignore him as much as I want, right? Then, one Sunday night, he started texting me asking if I was mad at him and whatever. He sent one at the end and said that was the last message he would ever send me.
Why can I never leave well enough alone?
The next day I texted him, told him I'd been out of saldo (a lie) and he asked if I wanted to get together. We hung out and he brought me crackers when I was sick from taking my parasite medication. And that's what you do when people you like are sick, right? Then, all week he was too busy to hang out with me and I was trying to talk to him and tell him that we shouldn't hang out anymore.
It's funny how that works, right? When you want to essentially break up with someone, they seem suddenly unavailable. As if they know what's coming and, if they don't see you, they can avoid it.
I tried again last Friday to talk to him. He said he was working all night and not drinking any more. Then, of course, later that night I ran into him at this bar my friends and I go to and he kissed me on the cheek and said, "I'll see you around." I explained to him the difference between that and I'll see you later, so I decided he was just being a dick.
I didn't want to talk to him anyway because I'd been chatting up this other guy at the bar who is super awesome, not retarded at all, and totally gets my jokes. And he has a job! And a car! He has serious potential to not be lame. (Though my friends think he is gay because we've been on a date since then and he didn't even try to kiss me.) I was actually on my way over to talk to him when RHL intercepted.
Apparently, RHL was watching me talk to hilarious new guy. Come Sunday evening, I was bombarded with text messages.
First he called and asked if he could come over. I said no. Then the texts started. It went from what I thought was a hilarious albeit inappropriate joke to oh my god this mother f-er is insane over the course of about 15 text messages.
1) I love you! 2) Give me a child!
(I thought he was joking and asked him if he was drunk and told him I didn't have any children to give him, but I could potentially kidnap one for him from one of the neighbors).
3) A huge hug for you darling! Kisses for you! Miss your lovely eyes!
(It sounds sweet, right? But he says the same things all the time. It gets kind of old. Or maybe I'm just a huge bitch.)
4) Please, give me a child! I love you! 5) I love you, can't you see it? Give me a child!
(I texted him in Spanish and told him he is insane.)
6) I'm not a madman! I just like you and I want a child with your beautiful eyes! Have you been seeing another guy? 7) Yes or not? At Caramanchel you were talking to another guy. Just b honest.
(I told him it was none of his business and asked if he was drunk.)
9) I'm sober! I like you! But I felt jealous! 10) I like you for sure! Do you like me? Give me a daughter!!!
(I reponded, "Just friends, ok?" quoting a text he'd sent me before, but he didn't get the reference.)
11) Have you found another guy? I won't be your friend! I like you! Please be honest! Do you like me! I do! 12) Are you with another one, yes or not, damnit?
(The answer, for those of you who are curious, is not. But, I turned off my phone and received two more messages the following morning.)
13) Do you have another guy, bitch! I'm starting to hating you fucker, cuz I like you so bad. Breast, eyes, everything!
(Because clearly my breasts and eyes are everything.)
14) Give me my daughter now you bitch! I like you too much.
Clearly, the quickest way to a woman's heart is by calling her names and demanding children. I don't want stupid children. Or his children. If I even suspected I was pregnant with his child I would probably rip out my own uterus and throw it in his face.
I was kind of freaked out Monday. Because he lives around the corner from me and knows where I live and he stops by unannounced sometimes and he went from what I thought was a joke to completely insane in less than 15 texts.
But, now that is is Wednesday and I haven't heard from him again, I think he was drunk and is currently ashamed of himself. Or should be.
And so, I have decided I have no business dating Nicaraguans. Especially not stupid ones. Because all we do is confuse the hell out of each other. And so, I am going to the convent in Dario, Matagalpa, where I will live out my life as a nun, making candles and caring for orphans.
I'm pretty sure I've had parasites since December. What, with living in the campo and drinking tap water which is known to have parasitic treasure in it from time to time (water even the man in charge of the water for the pueblo won't drink). It was bound to happen. And, as with most things, I thought, "If I ignore it, maybe it will go away!"
Unfortunately, two things I know for certain that do not work that way are parasites and DUI charges.
Learning the hard way is the only way to go about it.
Last weekend I was at the beach with friends, and we got to talking about the little family of parasites I'm hosting in my belly. They insisted if I don't go to the doctor, I will die. I said I would go and thought nothing more about it. Until I saw that episode of Dr. House (I think it may just be called House in the US). Some girl had a tapeworm and IT GOT INTO HER FREAKING BRAIN. I do not want brain worms. I still owe $45,000 on that fine piece of machinery. No need letting little worms burrow tiny little holes in it, you know?
Sadly, I am currently broke as shit. Luckily, I have friends who love me and, more importantly, who have doctors for fathers. So, last Friday, my friend took me to his dad's house. His father, who runs his office out of the house, is very old. In the states, when I go to a doctor, I expect him to be fit and sassy and full of modern wisdom. The words "doctor," "scary," and "hero" are all intertwined in my brain and are inseparable words.
Here, doctor and scary seem to fit together more.
I want a doctor like Dr. House. Or at least like Dr. Cox on Scrubs.
I went to El Doctor's house, sat at the kitchen table, and watched him give himself an insulin shot in his belly. Then my friend walked me back to the office, and El Doctor came back with his walker, moving very slowly, then sat down and asked me why I think I have parasites.
Don't worry, I will not describe my symptoms to you because I am a lady (sometimes) and it is gross. He gave me two prescriptions. One to poop in a cup tinier than my fist and another for some pills to take to kill the parasites and their eggs.
So, my friend and I went to the pharmacy to get my pills and then to the laboratory to pay for the analysis and pick up my cup.
Being a girl, I had never pooped before, let alone in a cup! The whole experience seemed rather intimidating at first. But it was surprisingly simple! Let's just hope I don't have to do it again.
Armed with my cup, I came home to prepare myself for the undertaking of grossness. I think I have a cultural grossed-outedness to feces. People here don't seem to think pooping in a cup is a terribly big deal, nor is it something worth talking about.
So, I went to the bathroom, did my duty, and went to the lab to drop off my sample. I'm supposed to get my results on Tuesday.
Friday night, I decided to take my little guests out for some farewell cocktails. I like to imagine they're like little sea monkeys of my innards. We went to Nejapa on Carreterra sur, then over to El Caramanchel in Bolonia. We drank rum and beer and danced and were merry.
I probably should have either drank less or waited to start taking my parasite medicines. I was so sick all day yesterday, I thought I was going to die. I haven't yet, though. Although I still feel like rubbish.
I have 8 pills to take over the course of three days, two for amoeba and 6 for worms. The doctor won't know which it is until we get the results, but he figured that was no reason not to begin treating me. So, I am currently taking bets.
My money is on worms, Misty thinks it's an amoeba. What do y'all think? All I know for sure is that I can't wait until they are gone.
In my previous post, I said Aristotle and I meant Descartes. It is now fixed. But seriously. This is further proof that:
a) my mom drank when she was pregnant with me. b) I was home schooled. c) my friends that read this are either complete assholes or as big of idiots as I am. d) I potentially have wet brain from drinking my weight in rum. e) I was raised Mormon. f) all of the above.
You may vote in the comments section, if you would like, or come up with your very own possibilities!
(Fun fact: I know for sure at least one of these things is true!)
They say there is a first time for everything (whoever they are) and that is true. Occasionally there is a second time for everything as well. It's interesting to me how a thing I thought I would only ever do once in my life I have now done twice. (Yes, mom, I am talking about smoking crack and having abortions. Wait, make that three times.)
These things seem to only happy when I am unbelievably intoxicated. I remember the first time as though it were several years ago and I was living in Tacoma, Washington. I had my first real job out of university (working in a human toxicology lab which I renamed "Pee Lab 2021." None of my coworkers got the reference) and I hated it. I hated this job. I had studied environmental chemistry. I didn't go to school so I could stumble in half drunk to work and test people's blood alcohol content, you know? And yet, that is what I did. For one year.
One day, I had 24 hours off from work. I had covered the day shift running the GC/MS for my supervisor and was covering the swing shift the following day for another coworker. So, at 3p that first day, I decided I needed to maximize the Fun Potential of my 24 hour period of freedom.
My friend Drew came up from Olympia. He had been reading entirely too much Keruoac and was on a big port/whisky drinking kick. So, he showed up at my house with a bottle of port and a bottle of whisky and we proceeded to drink both bottles. Some other friends of mine called me and came over. There was loudness and drunkenness. And there was a party across town!
Drew was drunk and tired and went to my room where he proceeded to pass the f out. I went with Devin and the gang towards another party. There were 6 or 7 of us in the car and I was riding in the back on my friend Bill's lap. (Did I mention how drunk I was?) It seemed to me that it was taking forever to get to the party and somebody said something and I wanted out of the car. They would not stop so I could get out. So I said, "Fuck you guys! I'm getting out anyway!" Or something to that effect and I opened up my door and bailed into the middle of the road. Luckily, there was no oncoming traffic (I was riding behind the driver). They stopped the car and told me to get in. I wasn't having it. Allegedly, I called Devin a short while later, claiming to be lost and crawling through a bush. Was I crawling through a bush? Likely, yes. At least, that is what the twigs I pulled out of my hair the next morning seemed to imply. I had no idea where I was, so I proceeded to hitchhike on hilltop in Tacoma.
A very nice man with ridiculous hair picked me up and bought me a bottle of water. (Apparently, I looked as drunk as I was!) He then asked me where I lived. I asked why he wanted to know and accused him of being a stalker. I had him take me to the Tempest, a bar in Tacoma that was super close to my house. He asked what it was, I told him, and he said, "They are not going to serve you." "Do I seriously look like I need to drink anymore?" I replied. He dropped me off, said he would wait a few minutes so that, when they kicked me out, he could give me a ride home. What he didn't know is that I know the owners and Tacoma's finest bartender, Larry, who worked there at the time.
I walked into the bar and Larry said, "Girl! What are you doing getting out of a brand new BMW?" I didn't even know I had been in one.
Fast forward to present time, last night, to be exact.
I was supposed to have a nice, quiet, adult evening with home-made pizza and intellectual conversation among lovely and amazing friends out in the suburbs.
That is not what happened.
First, I got caught in a rainstorm, sexually harassed by a bunch of fellas at the Texaco and wandered around with Alex while he debuted his sexy new haircut about town. Then I got a phone call from a friend telling me he was coming to town. After that, I went to Juan's house to see him and Antonio. That, my dears, is where it all began.
We shared some beers, the boys were trying to sell me on the idea of going to a party with them on the road toward Montelimar. I was unsure and had just told Ridiculously Hot Lawyer that I don't want to see him anymore. They said things like, "The party will be full of unbelievably sexy heteros. You will love it."
First they made me change my clothes into something "more elegant" then they asked me if I had boots because were going to a farm. Why I needed to look elegant to go to a farm, I still don't know.
We got there, we drank, we socialized, etc. There were not a lot of people there. And all the hot men there were gay. Que lastima, no? We stayed for about three hours, filled up an empty water jug with beer, and decided to make the hour drive back to Managua.
In reality, I think it took about two hours do to all the stopping we had to do to pee on the side of the road. (Juan had the camera, so no photos of me peeing on the side of the road in the mud. Sorry gang!)
We also slowed down a lot so I could holla at random campesinos who were walking down the street. "Heather, Heather! Yell something!" they said. "Like what?" I asked. "How do you say, 'Show me your dick'?"
And that is how my drunk ass wound up yelling, "Enseñame tu turca! Te quiero! Mi amor!" out the window at random strangers. Juan actually stopped at certain points so we could carry on these things for longer periods. At one point, there was a group of men. I said my lines like a well-trained and well mannered young lady should, and the fellas asked me which one should whip it out. I replied, "Quien tiene la mas grande!" None of them made a move, so I told Juan they didn't have any to demonstrate and we drove on. Good times.
Fast forward to El Caramanchel. My piercing twin was there. I love him. And this weird Spanish guy from Madrid who was completely ridiculous. He had curly hair and was out of control. I want him to be my minstrel.
I don't know how I got beers or how I paid for them, but got them I did and proceed to get eve drunker, well, I did that, too. My roommates were there. Juan and the boys left for Q. My roommates and my minstrel wanted to leave, so we decided to look for a cab. I wanted to go to Q, the cabs were telling us crazy prices, we argued about where to go and how, etc. And, ultimately, I said something like, "F this noise. I'm going to Q."
I got in the cab, we were driving, I asked him how much, he said 40 cordoba. I told him he was crazy and that I wouldn't pay more than 20. He touched my leg. I put my hand on the door handle and told him if he touched me again, I would get out of the car. He claimed I could not because the car was moving.
Silly cab driver. You had no idea of what I was capable of. And still am, probably.
So, he decided it would be a good idea to touch me again. I swore at him in Spanish, opened the door, and bailed onto the empty street in the middle of the night. (It was about 3:30am). There were a group of fellas across the street that saw it all happen. They decided to inform me as to how dangerous the neighborhood was. (I was in my old neighborhood.) I stood up, checked myself for injuries, dusted my self off, and proceeded to walk down the street to Q.
I went in, said hi to people, came back outside and just hung out. It was way to hot and I was way too drunk to be in public. Luckily, Juan was fixin' to leave, so I got to ride with him. But, I was super hungry. By this point, it was about 4a. I wanted fried chicken. Wait, no.
I needed fried chicken.
Thus, a mission was born.
We drove all over Managua looking for fried chicken. The first On the Run was out. How do you run out of fried chicken? I don't know. But they did. I was very sad. When we finally found it, I was waiting and Juan went off to do something and these two guys came up to me, called me by name, and asked how I was.
I still don't know who they were. Spinoza once said, "I think, therefore I am." Well, I think I am famous, therefore I might be. At least, I know I am in my head. And when the paparazzi are out taking my photo while I pee on the muddy road in the dark and strangers know my name and (almost look like they might possibly want to) ask for my autograph (or at least a handjob), I know it's true.
I got home at about 5am, ate my fried chicken, and went to bed.
It was the the best fried chicken ever, because it was well earned.
That said, I am also hot and am slightly hungover from last night. I have the television on, but the sound is being overpowered by my neighbor who is blaring Vicente Fernandez and singing along at the top of his lungs. I love him. Them. Both Vicente and my invisible singing neighbor.
I wish I could grow a moustache like that. However, even darkening in my moustache with mascara does not yield results as impressive as these.
I have been so busy living up to my title as the most fascinating person in the hemisphere, I don't even know where to start! I suppose I will start by getting this ant off my head! Not cool, ant.
So, last December, Dr. Smith came to visit me for a few weeks. It was super fun. We flew in a tiny plane and took, I believe, 7 different boats together. On the panga from Bluefields to Laguna de Perlas, it rained. So the boat people busted out this giant black tarp so we could cover ourselves - immigrant style - and keep ourselves dry! It was fun! Look at all the fun we're having!
Doesn't that look like fun? Are you jealous? You should be.
We took the tiny plane to San Carlos and, from there, mosied on down the river. We took a boat to Boca de Saballos where Jason and I hung out all day drinking beer and watching the river after walking for nearly an hour through cow pastures in the pouring rain. We took a boat to El Castillo where a young border patrol officer recited poetry to me while holding his AK47. And we took a boat to San Juan de Nicaragua where we ate the BEST FRIED CHICKEN EVER before I fell into a swamp! We made friends everywhere we went, from the old ex-gun runner from Ireland whose reluctance to talk about his past made us think he was likely in the IRA and on the run from the government to the 20 year old drug runner who took us to dinner. It was an interesting and exciting trip. And it was the first time I'd been all the way down the Rio San Juan. I felt like Mark Twain, except I think he went down the river in the opposite direction.
After Jason went back to the USA to have Christmas with his family, I had three days to get some work done and repack my bag in preparation for the arrival of Kt and Denis! During their stay, we climbed mountains and volcanoes. We went to Matagalpa and Selva Negra. Then to Leon to visit Dale, volcano board and have Christmas!! We went volcano boarding on Christmas Eve and I raced Denis down the mountain! I was totally winning and going super fast when I lost control of the board and went rolling half-way down Cerro Negro.
This is Cerro Negro. The active volcano I climbed, slid down, fell down and climbed again to get my board. This is what I looked like after I fell down the volcano. I was quite dirty. Luckily, I listened to what the guide said and I kept my mouth closed. If I hadn't, more than my bra would've been full of volcanic rocks.
After we left Leon, we headed to Ometepe for a few days where we ate Italian food at my friend's restaurant, swam in the lake, and went kayaking down the Rio Istiam. It was beautiful and amazing. Denis broke one of his oars and we all got sunburned! But we saw monkeys and toucans and turtles and all sorts of stuff. I love kayaking. I wish there was a river that went to my work so I could kayak there. It would be amazing!
After Ometepe, we went to Masaya and Laguna de Apoyo. I love Laguna de Apoyo and should probably go there soon, considering I haven't been since I moved back to Managua. We also did the night tour at Volcan Masaya. Unfortunately, it was quite overcast and the Santiago Crater was very smokey, so we did not get to see any lava. But the rain felt nice on our sunburns!
After the gang went home, I spent New Year's Eve in Managua. I went to Tabu and Q with Alex. We drank several bottles of rum and, when the strippers came out at Q, I was far too drunk to get down from sitting on the bar. And that is how I got tea-bagged in the back of the head on New Year's Eve in Managua.
I washed my hair the next day.
After washing my hair, I went back to Rio Blanco and worked. I went to Amelie's despedida (she moved back to France), ate lots of fritanga with Mike, drank with the boys and made a few trips to the campo. I did a lot of sampling in Siuna and met with nearly every governmental and non-governmental organization there while trying to find information on the geology of the zone.
And now, I am being attacked by ants. They bite. I do not like them.
We interrupt these travel-related stories to let you know what is happening. (If you can picture the sounds of morris code and whatnot in the background, like on the old news updates, that would really help with the atmosphere of this post).
For the past month or so, I have been hard at work on a project with acidic waters in three communities in the Northern Autonomous Region (RAAN) of Nicaragua in the municipality of Siuna. I have been travelling frequently between Managua and Rio Blanco (about 5 hours by bus) and on Monday I am making a trip out to Siuna (6 hours from Rio Blanco) to go out to the communities, check the pH's of the water and collect samples to bring to the lab in Managua for analysis. It's been a lot of work, but really interesting.
I've been making contacts with the people in charge of water quality from all over Nicaragua and this week alone had meetings with directors and subdirectors of local universities (UNI/CIEMA, UNAN-CIGEO, UNAN-CIRA) as well as local and international organizations (UNICEF, ENACAL, MINSA, MARENA, INAA) and after collecting water samples on Monday, I will be meeting with people from the Alcaldia (mayor's office), MINSA in Siuna and meeting with a team of investigators from URACCAN, the university in Siuna.
It's been a lot of work but I am learning so much.
Wednesday , the 10th, we will head back to Rio Blanco from Siuna and early Thursday morning I will go to Managua so I can buy food and start the preparations for my birthday party on Saturday!
I have also accepted a paid position teaching English as a second language at the English Language Institute of the American Nicaraguan School in Managua Nicaragua. I will be working there 4 evenings a week and will continue my volunteer work with Agua Para La Vida during the day and going to discotecas on the weekends!
I start the new job March 8th and am currently looking for an apartment in Managua.
Jesse and Henry are coming to Nicaragua at the end of February! They will only be here for 5 days and they want to do a lot. I've been travelling so much lately that, the more I think about it, the more I kind of just want to go to the beach and hang out and drink some rum.
In general, things are good. I'm excited to move back to Managua, but I am going to miss the river.
Happy New Year! It's been nearly two months since I posted anything. That could be due to sheer laziness, the fact I had three friends here in December, the lack of electricity in my pueblo, the incredibly slow/barely functioning internet, or some combination of the above! Who knows? And, as it said in the title (before I changed it), who really cares?
Well, maybe those of you who lie vicariously through my adventures.
Okay. So, after going to the campo and all that, Sylvain and I went to Somoto for the carnival. We met up with two more of his friends from France and we went hiking in the Somoto Canyon.
We spent some time at the entrance arguing with a fella. He told us we had to pay the $10 a piece for a guide. There was nothing posted anywhere that said we needed a guide and Martin, one of the French fellas, lived not too far from Somoto and had been there several times. Dude at the entrance said it was a new law that went into effect yesterday and that we would have to pay. I told him if it's a law, I want to see a copy of it. He wouldn't show us. We spent a good 20 minutes arguing with him.
Eventually, he made us write and sign a piece of paper saying that if we die, it's our own damn fault, and we went on our way. We hiked for about half an hour before we ran into some kids that were just hanging out with their feet in the water. They came up to us and told us we had to have a guide. We told him that dude at the front had let us in and showed us a piece of paper. He brought us to another fella who (allegedly) works for MARENA (Ministerio del Ambiente y los Recursos Naturales).
"No pueden pasar sin un guilla!" the guy said. And he pointed to his piece of paper that had the laws in regards to the Somoto Canyon. I think he was hoping that we were illiterate or something, because the law said we cannot go into restricted areas, we cannot pick flowers and we cannot throw garbage on the ground.
None of us are really into that kind of thing anyway.
You may think we're jerks for not wanting to pay, but we are all volunteers and everyone knows the French are cheap bastards. And we only had about 2 hours before we had to get back to Somoto and meet up with Sylvain's (psycho) girlfriend.
None of us brought any water or anything to drink with us, so, when we got out, Veronica and I went straight for the little snack bar and ordered bottles of water and sodas.
(insert pepsi) The taste of a new generation, indeed. My father, I'm sure, is very proud I'm not doing this with Coke.
After that, we went to the Carnival and had beers!
Don't mind them, they're in love.
While we were having beers, I saw the saddest thing in the world.
See that bag? It is full of poached turtle eggs. He was selling them. For people to eat. He was putting them in styrofoam cups. It was very, very sad. What's even sadder is that people bought them. And ate them. Allegedly, turtle eggs improve your virility. And can cure asthma.
That night, we went to the block party in Somoto! It was super fun. I left my camera at the hostel and we went out, listened to music and danced.
The next day, I rode the bus to Matagalpa and back to Rio Blanco with Veronica. I then spent three days in Rio Blanco before leaving again. This time to Managua to meet a friend at the airport! On December 3rd!
Find all about who and what we did in my next post!