Walk like a Nica

This is supposed to be the the hottest time of the year in Nicaragua. I have experienced hotter weather in Loreto BCS in June and Loreto is 2,600 miles north of here. But it is still very hot in Granada almost every day. I am getting used to it. I walk like a Nica, loose and cool…not like a gringo – all tight and controlled. Walking in the shade helps too.

So many times I have tried to hammer out a thought on this site and nothing happens. I sit and watch the screen hoping something pops into my head. Sometimes there is too much swirling around, sometimes nothing at all.

I am still waiting for my wife to decide what she is going to do and when she is going to do it.

Happy couple by Peter J Byrne on 500px.com

I promised these school kids I would post their photos so here they are. These were shot in the central park in Masaya. Masaya is known for it’s craft market and the active volcano that has swallowed many a sacrifice as well as the occassional political opponent.

These kids were as polite as they look in the photo. At one point while focusing I heard someone say…one dollar por favor, I looked up in mock anger and they all started laughing.




My new friend

I have been going to a local cafe for my afternoon jolt of caffeine since I got here and met a charming little gal who works there. We had dinner the other night and I got to know her story a little bit better. She has lived all of her 26 years in Granada except for 5 years spent in Guatemala. Now she lives with her mom and a few other family members. She describes her mom, whom she loves dearly, as “like a child”. I have been thinking about that for a couple of days.

If like a child means that she doesn’t save money, has few if any long term goals and never thinks about how to better her life then it all makes sense to me. Her mom grew up under a dictator. She saw him violently overthrown and lived through the ensuing civil war that tore Nicaragua apart and cost them thousands of their children (most of the casualties were just teenagers). She has known nothing but poverty and a better future is a concept that has never occurred to her or millions of other Nicaraguans.

Daniel Ortega just won another election that was an election in name only as he ran unopposed and his wife is Vice President. And no one says a word. It seems to me that millions of Nicaraguans have accepted their fate, accepted that there is very little they can do about it, and just worry about enough rice and beans for tomorrow.

This is foreign to most all Americans. We bitch about our own fair and free elections just because we don’t like the guy who won. Look at what thousands of Americans do on Black Friday at the department stores. We have a vast safety net for those Americans who fall through the cracks. Hunger is the only thing in Nicaragua that approximates a social safety net….when you’re hungry you work.

How would you be under these circumstances? Would you appear to your children as being childlike? I think so. And I credit my young friend for even recognizing the symptoms. I think I am beginning to understand the Nica’s and I understand why my friend said that about her mother and I also understand why her mother is perceived this way. I remember several years ago I was at a party at my sister’s house in the San Diego area. One of her friends told me she hated America. In amazement I told her that I thought we were all lucky to be here. She backed away looking at me as if I was holding a pitchfork and had red horns.

I have been humbled by this beautiful country and wonderful people and I am lucky to be here.

The protests

I made the mistake of writing some of my controversial thoughts on the Trump protests on Facebook and got slammed from people that didn’t really understand my questions or didn’t care about the points that I raised. It was just a.. you are clueless if you don’t get it…kind of approach. Facebook isn’t or shouldn’t be for that kind of material, I realize that now based on the responses and the grandstanding. I will not make that same mistake twice. But this is my blog and I can say what I want. I do encourage responses, civil, well thought out responses that move the conversation forward not grind it to a halt.

The post in question is…

Now it’s the Women’s march on DC with all the mean spiritedness one would expect. Why are the people who swore they would leave the country still here?Where were these gals when Clinton took office? He got a pass on his crude treatment of women because he supported abortion. So my question is…does this all really boil down to abortion? Just so you know where I stand both my wife and I were adopted. I do not know where Trump is going to take this country but based on what he has said…that the liberal pundits called “dark” it sounds OK to me. Where would Hillary have taken this country on her joyride to enriching the little family trust fund? If it was anything like the ride Obama took us on God help all of us.

Not entirely cohesive I admit, but I was annoyed at what I perceived to be absolute blind allegiance to the radical leftism of the people who plan these events as well as some of the networks that cover them. If you are going to protest you must be prepared to be criticized. Calling your critics clueless is not an argument. OK, now what I want to know is if abortion the central theme to the march? I think it is. Convince me that is not. If it is not completely wrapped up in the abortion question then what are the gripes? I write this because I do not know which does not make me clueless, whatever the hell that means. I do not see Trump as an ultra conservative, but maybe you do so explain. And please have something more substantive than the silly pussy grabbing comment.The other thing I have a gripe about and that reinforces my view that abortion is paramount is that the Clintons, as a team, have very little regard for the women that Bill assaulted. Is it because they support abortion? That is my guess. Hypocrisy should be called for what it is.

Although I did not follow the primaries or the election in the states I heard enough to form the opinion that Trump is a vulgar blowhard in public. So there is plenty to criticize right there but I have the right to criticize the sometimes overblown protestors as well.

I did watch CNN on the day he was inaugurated and followed it on the internet as well. CNN would have you believe the protests were entirely peaceful and that the protestors had a coherent message. The actual footage found on the internet would tell you otherwise. What do you call this type of reporting?

All in all I have always said that most Americans want the same thing for our country. When the voters want a change in direction they let the politicians know. Hopefully this will never end.

“It is a wise dog that scratches it’s own fleas” Part II

As my wife and I have started to communicate again due to our effort to keep our daughter alive we are learning anew how to work together for a common goal. It’s quite refreshing.

We need to agree on a common goal and the ways to achieve that goal for all of this to work. And in this I have to slow down and gently explain my methods so that Liz and I can approach this dependency problem together. Too often in the past I have tried to push my agenda past Liz assuming that no one could disagree with me. Aside from the fact that an attitude like that alienates almost everyone I also ignored the deepest ties between a mother and child.

I can now look back at the trajectory of our life pitted against my insistence that I and only I knew how to save our daughter. I created this mess and I am sorry for the outcome. But life has a strange way of resurrecting efforts like this and I am grateful for the chance.

My hand is out to Liz to work with me to save a life, a family and a relationship.

Small Talk

Small city, the constant parade of characters…going through town, heading somewhere else. Passing by the Nica’s who serve the coffee, clean the rooms and rent the bikes. Folks smarter than me have been coming here for years from Canada, the US and places to numerous to mention. The art of small talk, which I have been crafting for years in bars to numerous to mention, fuels my day. Going to the cafe to stare out the door and wait for some likely prospect to ask…hey, where you from. Well the trick was turned on me yesterday by a lass who heard me mention Boston. Three hours later she peddled off on her rented bike and I made my way back to my just cleaned room. All in a days work.

I haven’t settled into the new year just yet so I think I’ll just wait until the year settles into me…Nica style. Liz and I have talked, messaged really, about getting together in Sedona in February. As it gets closer the reality of it seems farther and farther away. If only…I don’t even know anymore. But I can always stay here and just live.

When or if February comes and goes uneventfully I plan on seeing parts of Nicaragua that the travelers tell me about…Matagalpa, up in the coffee growing hills, bring a sweater they say, Esteli, where much fighting occurred in the civil war, Ometepe, the beautiful volcanic islands. And maybe an adventure into the uncharted central rainforests…if I only had my jeep.

But it is the small talk that I look forward to every day at the cafe, or in the park. Why are all these people here, where are they from and where are they going.

To whom it may concern

You are one of the most interesting people I have ever met. I think I could have talked with you all night long. I wish you and Mr. I Love Kids the very best. And I hope the next couple of weeks opens up a new world, a new life for both of you. Just slow down…Nica style, open up and imagine a life together…is it there, can you build it, do you want to? You will know shortly my dear.

To my wife…Happy New Year Liz

Happy New Year

Three days until New Years Eve and the fireworks are filling the air. At least is isn’t gunfire.

Canadians seem to flock to Granada for reasons no one has been able to spell out very clearly. Yes, 88 degrees is certainly more pleasant than any winter day in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, but there are lots of warm places that seem to be easier to get to. But I am glad they are here, friendly and easy to talk to…even the ones in Vancouver who rioted when the Bruins beat them for the Cup in 2011.

There was the gal from Ontario who played college hockey and still looked like she could hip check you into next week. There will be no fooling with her in a dark alley after a night of drinking unless you want a mouthful of elbow. Her uncle played for the Red Wings among several other teams and even scored 52 goals in his best year.

Jen, the bartender from Montreal, was 18 when she took off from Montreal to travel alone through Indonesia. Now a seasoned veteran at 28 she is meandering through Central America while keeping her nervous parents up to date with her travels through the internet.

With their backpacks and the ever present bottle of water twenty somethings are all around me with not a safe space filled with dolls, crayons and playdoh in sight. A brave and adventurous lot and I admire them.

There is actually a treehouse hostel somewhere around here that is popular among the backpackers. I would love to see a passel of them try to get up to their rooms after a night on the town.

Meanwhile, I wander about town looking for a good cup of coffee and conversation and after three months have not been disappointed in either.

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