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Estoy en Nicaragua!

Written on: Friday May 8th, 2009

A journal entry from: Guatemala, mi amor.

First there was the evangelical preaching into the wee hours of the night in El Salvador, and now there is 'midnight construction' in Honduras. It started at 10 o'clock at night and they're using flashlights. The owners of this establishment do not stay here, it's only guests/divers and so for a bunch of men to put up a ladder to climb up to a balcony attached to a 'hotel compound' at 10 o'clock at night, it's a little unnerving. The one and only balcony was right beside my window as well, which made me the lottery winner for that night! It started with a little sawing and a little chatting, but then came the smell of diesel fuel, and the lighting of the fire. Construction in Honduras is really different compared to Canada. Particularly when fire is used on a completely wood building on stilts that hovers above the only water source for the hotel (limiting access to it in case of an emergency) and to top it all off, there is compressed air EVERYWHERE. It's a dive centre, so of course they have compressed air. Luckily, the men had water and managed to keep the fire contained. I think the purpose of the fire was to make the wood more malleable, or they just thought it was cool. I actually went out at 10:30 to ask how much longer, and the men standing on the ground yelling instructions to the worker told me it's only one and a half hours more. Tops. I guess in comparison to El Salvador's 2am service, this should have been a cakewalk. It would have been too if I hadn't been the most sick that I had been in a really long time. I really could have used a good rest. I was also alone in the dorm room as Brie and Andrea left the day before to go back to Guatemala. I really miss them and was so glad we came to Honduras together! It was a fun and wacky little journey we took. Brie is a total sweetheart and a good friend and Andrea is a complete trip! Haha That girl knows EVERYTHING. She'll deny it, but she really does. They were both a complete blast.

Now it's Nicaragua time. I just discovered that the course is going to be far more expensive than I originally anticipated. It's far more expensive than in Antigua, which is rather surprising considering that Antigua is one of the more pricey locations in Central America. I may end up going back to Canada much earlier than planned, from anywhere between 2 weeks to a month early, which is fine but I'm really going to miss Central America and all it's crazy little quirks. Going from the island to Nicaragua has been wild. I spent the rest of my time on the island hanging out in the hammocks on the dock of the dive centre and just watching time slowly pass by. I was basically waiting until the 30 until I was to go from the island to La Ceiba. I caught the morning ferry and just spent the day wandering around La Ceiba. I basically walked around the entire town by foot. It was a great town. I really enjoyed my time there, but found that it was incredibly commercialized. When I was looking for breakfast, the only places I could find that sold food were fast food restaurants. Baskin Robbins, Wendy's, Pizza Hut, Burger King? They had it all, but they didn't have much for local food or local restaurants. Not in the centre of town anyway. The town also shut down during noon, so when I walked to the big mall first thing in the morning and tried going to art galleries in the early afternoon, I was pretty much finished with being a tourist and actually sat in my hostel and watched tv until Rob arrived 3 hours later. We went out for dinner at this Expatriates restaurant and on the way, we passed by a university/school parade where students were all marching with candles. It was wicked to see and made me love that city more.

The next morning, Rob and I got up early to get a bus ticket to Tegucigalpa. Everything we had done was last minute. We got a last minute bus ticket (but had no worries) and made our hotel reservations en route. We stayed at the bus company's hotel and as it turns out, all bus stations are in a very shady area of town. Rob and I saw a Pizza Hut down the street from where we were and asked if we could walk down to it. The desk clerk told us that it was a very bad idea as it was dangerous. We ended up opting to go to the 'white person's mecca' also known as a shopping mall and got food in the food court. It was good that we went because I had no money, and we had no food. It was an expensive mall with stores that cannot even be found in Saskatchewan. Afterward, Rob hailed a cab and in telling the driver where we wanted to go in Spanish, he repeated over and over again that he didn't understand English. A woman who spoke English stepped up and said exactly what Rob just said and all was good. The woman asked if she could get a ride and we thought, 'sure, why not' so we went the opposite direction to drop her off at home. Our Fast and the Furious driver then drove us to our hotel at 160km/h and all was well. The next morning we woke up early with the hope that we would be able to get tickets for the bus to Nicaragua. The map said that the bus would drive through Esteli, the city where our program was going to take place, but it did not. So Rob and I decided to just travel through to Managua, and show up to Esteli a day later than we had planned. There was a huge student group on the bus – children of around 10-13 years old. We were concerned, but luckily they were at the front of the bus, and we were at the back. We met an American couple that thought it would be cute to take a bus through the country-side and I don't think they enjoyed the ride as much. I loved it because it was beautiful to see the country as well the seats were comfortable, it was secure and there were movies! I only watched one of the movies (there were three), but it was still such a luxury to have that option. The instant we arrived in Managua, we called a hostel to get a place to stay and luckily they had space for us. After Rob and I walked to another mall to get food (too much fast food!! I can't handle it much longer!) we went back to our hostel where I ran into 2 of the girls in our class!! It was such amazing luck that we saw them. They were staying in an affiliate hostel but were hanging out in ours. Two others from our class were staying in the other hostel as well so Rob, the four girls and I went out for drinks. We were all tired so it was a quiet night. Luckily for us, the six of us can travel to Esteli together which was nice and comforting!

Overall, it has been a really great couple of weeks. As usual, I love Central America and am already sad that I have to leave in 2 months! I've said it before, but time is really flying by. Spanish classes have started and I already know my new family. Overall though, I do really miss Guatemala. So far, the countryside has been my favourite and I managed to feel at home there. I definitely look forward to getting to know Esteli and getting my footing. Driving through Honduras, the country overall looks like it is a 'middle class' type country, particularly in contrast with Nicaragua. The poverty has been far more apparent here through observing the lack of infrastructure and from looking at the home structures. There is more evidence of international aid, particularly by World Vision (they had poster boards along the way advertising who had sponsored each town?). Even speaking with people here, they sound proud that there is a real presence of NGOs (whether they are local or international I don't know for certain, but I'd bet they were international).

Right now Im just taking spanish classes which have been interesting to say the least. My spanish has improved so much and Im really pleased with where Im at right now. I have a lot more to learn, but I have about 7 more weeks to speak and practice as much as I possibly can!! This weekend were already planning an outing where were going to Len for the weekend. Im actually really excited to go to the Museums and look at artwork. Ill try to post pictures on Facebook when I have time.

Take care all and until next time!!