Monday, October 22, 2007

Las cucarachas grandes que corrían en el piso húmedo de la cocina...

I think its time I introduce to you, ladies and gents, the new hero of my life, the man that really is quickly becoming indispensable, whom I may name as my "right hand man" and who very possibly actually be from planet Krypton. His name is Santiago, and he is our 'vigilante' (house guard, door-man, care-taker, pretty-much-all-around-everything). Now I knew that Santiago was pretty cool before, but lately we had an episode that shows just how awesome he is.

The episode, like my recent bathroom lock-down incident, was just another such experience that had to happen eventually. You can't go live in a tropical country and not expect some crazy bugs- that's what I always say. So the other day I met the world's biggest cockroach in my kitchen. I opened the cupboard under our counter and there it was. Now I thought they were supposed scuttle away when light hits them. Not this one; apparently my cockroaches are a bit more apathetic than the usual ones. This guy just wiggled is long antennae at me and stared me down as if to say "there's no way you've got the chumps to step on me." If it had eyelids- which I am pretty sure it did, and let me tell you that there is no eyeliner big enough or good enough for this ugly sucker- it blinked them at me, and I believe it may have even yawned in boredom at the prospect of me as a mortal foe.

So what do I do? First, I yell for Shannon, my roommate. WHY I did this, is well nigh inexplicable. Shannon is terrified of the little bugs, i am the designated spider-killer in this house- what is she going to do?? Maybe it was instinctual to call on her as an experienced bug-fearer, I didn't know how to go about freaking out sufficiently for this situation, nor could I think straight enough to look for another person stronger and better than to to kill the dreaded thing. Shannon being made aware of the situation, I quickly regained my senses and remembered that there was one close by who probably had seen something like this once or twice before in his varied and extensive tropical country living experience: Santiago. So i went outside and explained the situation. There was no smirk, no fear lurking in his face, just a nice smile and he followed me into the kitchen.

I opened the cupboard doors (which I had immediately slammed shut the last time) and there he was- just alternating between blinking and staring down... Santiago asked me if I had some giant cucaracha killing instrument known only to experienced Nicaraguan cucaracha killers. No, no I did not. The situation was getting dire. I ran around and hid in the alcove leading to the bathroom door. Santiago chuckled. With the stealth and style of a ninja, the skill surpassing even Steve Erwin, and the courage out-couraging of any band of brothers I know- Santiago flipped the ghastly beast on his back, incapacitating it immediately and began to kick the cucaracha out the door, like he was a 12-yr old kicking a deflated soccer ball to pass the time.

I think he may have crunched the beast at some point as well- wearing only sandals on his feet. There is no way I can overestimate this man's superhero-ness.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

When in Rome, do as the Nica's do.

Let me tell you all about a magical place called Huembes (pronouced "Wem-bess"... ish). Its a market in the middle of Managua where one can purchase a whole gamut of goods that one never thought possible. There are shoes and clothes and toothbrushes and pirated cds and dvds like any normal street market might have, oh but there is more, so much more. Yesterday I went with my friend Amira to explore the gloriousness of this beautiful hectic place. At one point- somewhere between buying my $7 silk shirt and the hammock rope, I bent down to examine a shelf chock-a-block full of ladies lotions and soaps and what do you think I saw, but almost the entire Victoria's Secret line of perfumes and lotions. How? Why!? why are these items sitting on a shelf in a street market stall in Nicaragua? I don't even care.

Huembes is sort of a microcosm of Nica life for me. Its crazy, full of unexpected, unconventional, undeserved luxuries. It's representative of the earthy goodness that is to be had when I stop cloistering myself.

Sometimes I wonder why things that I would never even consider doing or places I would never go at home, are just natural here. For ejemplo: "Why yes, Amira, I would like a tortilla tostado from that man with the giant rubbermaid container of deep friend tortilla's and frijoles scooped out of an old plastic container that very possibly may have been originally used for car grease. Oh and get him to put that crema on it" (forget that I am lactose intolerant and I really don't understand what possible technology they could have developed to make milk and related products that do not have to be refrigerated for weeks).
Otro Ejemplo: Standing on the side of a highway at 2 am with two other giggling girls waiting for a taxi also sounds like a fine idea to me (No Mom, of course I didn't actually do that!).

I mean this is taking my life to a whole new level friends. Some of you mayhaps have encountered my habit of erring on the side of extra-sanitary precautions. I am as baffled as anyone why- in a country where there is evidently a giant lack of sanitation infrastructure- why my attitude has suddenly become one of "oh well!" Walks home in the mud, barefeet on street stall floors, todo esta bien. And then there is the fact that most people wipe off the top of their cervesa or gaseosa bottles before drinking from them. Nevertheless, I seem to be quite satisfied with the hastier approach. Do I care? Strangely, it would appear not.

Truth be told, folks, this has gone pretty far. I think have decided to even start drinking the water. I don't think this was so much of a decision as a recognition of the fact that I have been drinking the tap water at every restaurant I to which go. Don't worry, I am not doing anything hasty. I have started by just brushing my teeth with our home tap water. I am thinking of moving soon on to swallowing a gulp after rinsing out my mouth and then, only when I am ready, will I go to drinking actual half-glasses.

When in Rome...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Photographic Evidence

I had attempted to post photos with the last entry to prove that it all was true, but the power went out (riiiiiight) and the internet was slow (surrrrre) but here you go now!

Catholic boys enter the church in Masaya before the procession.

Keith and Graylin watching the Marachi band and their impromptu dance team.

Marshall enjoying a Granada afternoon.

A MiCredito Client displaying sesame seeds that he grows.

If you want more, click on the link to my flickr photography where I have more pictures!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Just Leave Lindsay A-Lohan!

I return to you dear readers after a short hiatus with due concern to those who have applied to me to hurry my return. I apologise for the delay in posting this last week. What my adoring fans (read: my mom and...susan) don't understand is that this is creative genius we are talking about here. Its like burping on command. You can't just expect me to be able to do it! I wish I could, really I do!! You will have to content yourself with the game highlights for the last two weeks:

-Do you know what I actually love about this country? Walking down the street and buying a bunch of bananas for 3Cordobas (ahem, about 16 cents). That's what I love. I had stopped buying them at home because I got on my sustainable living/social conscious consumption kick, but now that they are grown three feet away, eat your chiquita heart out.

- We went to Masaya the other week to see the big festival they have for San Gironomo (the town's patron saint) who likes to take a morning constitutional once a year. It was so packed! And then of course we had to go to the artisans market, where, gosh darn it, this hammock just forced itself upon us (it would have been rude to deny the very nice saleslady, after all, most disagreeable indeed). And when you are in Masaya, Granada is only a few minutes away. What is in Granada you say? The best darn place to eat chocolate cake and drink coffee you ever did see! It was one of those moments where, if there were any lingering homesickness, it was completely overwhelmed by the plush couches on a breezy courtyard-patio, let alone what was in my mouth. Oooooh those couches will get you every time.

- Well back to the grind the next day right? I suppose I should mention work at some point in this blog (seeing as it be the reason I am here, its not all fun and games... but actually, mostly it is). I went out and did some client visits this week. I went up to our Leon office and visited some clients in the surrounding countryside. I will dedicate more to this in a soon-to-follow post, but for now, the day went really well, I was thrilled to get four visits in- before I was overwhelmed by the beast. By mid-day the queasy upset stomach I had woken up to was firmly planted in my gut and was now giving birth to a dinosaur the size of Texas ("Texas on a big map or Texas on a small map?"). Now I was about an hour and a half from Leon, which is approximately 2 hours from my bed. And of course we had to crawl back to Managua (even here, it doesn't matter that the accident is pulled off to the side of the road, completely out of the way of traffic, we STILL all have to slow down to look). So that was um, fun. I have never been so happy to see my bed. I promptly-well, no actually my body was doubled over with pain in a 90degree angle, so nothing was done promptly- let's say as soon as was practicable-I crawled into it and stayed there for a good 17hours. Hot. I have to now take a moment to give a shout-out to my roommate, Shannon, who played Mom and made me chicken noodle soup AND woke me up to give me my four-hour dosage of tylenol to bring my fever down. Mad props, Shanny.

- I managed to drag myself back to work for the rest of the week (although Friday was a mistake), but don't worry, the weekend arrived in time for me to feel all better! For doing such a good job at getting better I took myself out for a treat to Casa del Cafe on Saturday morning for a balanced breakfast of three cups of coffee and a gi-normous slab of carrot cake. And then came home to a big ol' pool party (during which I may or may not have whacked myself in the eye with a wrench while trying to open a bottle. Its a long story and I much prefer to tell the one where I got in a fight "and you should see the other guy!"). For the size of bruise I got, it was relatively painless. I never thought having a tough face would be an important life-skill, but maybe if things don't work out with MEDA I have a boxing career.

-Sunday night, yes, that glorious, magical evening, was spent with Fergie,, taboo, and .... (that other guy). That would be Black Eyed Peas for those who have other musical tastes. I don't think I would have ever bothered to go to this concert in Canada, but people do funny things in foreign countries. Why not? And by gosh, by golly am I thankful I did! There's fact that I have COMPLETELY overlooked Taboo up until now, and thank you Wendy for drawing my attention to this oversight:

Wendy, pensively: Kiki, do you think he's sexy?"

Kiki without a pause: "Not at all."

Wendy: Oh. ok.


Head begins to cock...

Kiki: "wait a minute..."

Wendy:"ok see!! yes!"

But then also, there is the fact that now I will not rest until I too, like Fergie, have a pair of not just skinny jeans, but shimmering, GOLD skinny jeans.

[Caveat: I realise that this is an about-face from previous tune I have sung before. Heck, a year ago I was hating on all the indie emo-kids and the petite beautiful girls who could pull off the skinny jeans shouting "Tapered!! Those are nothing more than tapered jeans!!" but then something changed, there is no natural explanation, because I am all over those like a fat kid on a smartie- and I feel no shame. Next stop, GOLD. There's no stopping me now!!]

Well on that note, you now know how I have been filling my days. I have to gather my REAL thoughts on what this is all about, and I will fill you in soon, but for now, here is some proof that these aren't wild and flagrant lies. Enjoy!