The absolute best part of travelling is having the time of your life in what might otherwise be described as hellish situations.
As an example, take a bus, fill it to overflowing with people, crank the music up so loud it's deafening, add in absolutely sweltering heat and what do you get?
For some reason, just sometimes, you get a mood of pure joy. I call it the "if they could see me now" moment.
Suddenly I want everyone, who has ever met me, to be able to see me in these bizarre circumstances. I want them to shake their heads and chuckle along with me.
I feel so out of place it's hilarious and I wonder just how did that bloke who wore a suit for his entire twenties get here? All those colleagues, mostly still in suits, if only they could see me now.
For the record I love Nica buses. Most of all I like their somewhat foreign urgency - they always seem to be pulling out of the bus station as I jump on with seconds to spare. The conductor, all the time, advertising his bus's destination with an urgent "GranadaGranadaGRANADA!" cry.
While it's fair to say that, less than an hour after the film was taken, I was bored, sweaty and my head was throbbing, in that particular moment I was very very happy.
"Managua, Jun 22 (Prensa Latina) Nicaragua´s
energy service will stabilized by the first trimester of next year,
President Daniel Ortega affirmed, and reiterated the country will
resort to thermal plants to face the current power deficit.
According to the president, along with the generators to be
supplied by Cuba, Venezuela, and Taiwan, the country is likely to
receive others by Iran, where he traveled last week.
Cuba and Venezuela already provided 32 generators with
capacity to produce 60 megabytes per hour, and promised to supply a
similar amount early next year.
Power generation deficit in Nicaragua worsened in the last few days, after interruptions in several generating units, resulting in up to ten-hour blackouts.
Ortega denounced the energy crisis is due to lack of
management in the last 16 years of neoliberal governments which
privatized the sector and cut off investments."
Apparently the shot's subject took him back a bit and he was: "...washed in white-light Peace Corps nostalgia".
Ahhhh Nica buses - would it surprise you if I said that so far they have been a comparative delight? Really, maybe it's just compared to my former post in Vietnam, but they're pretty good.
More on that soon.
"The retirees are definitely more Nica – laid back and easy going quick
to stop on the street and chat for long periods. They tend to bristle when the working crowd vents their
frustrations about the inefficiencies of the government and the culture and how
hard it is to make a profit.
and travelers passing through do not want to hear anything negative about their
destination of choice. They have the
time to enjoy the peculiarities of the culture."
The blogger is Kelly, owner of El Gato Negro bookstore in beach town San Juan Del Sur. Coincidentally ourwoman and I are planning to head that way this weekend. I'll have to drop by and share a grumble.
My current Granada-based whinge is this: why the hell has there been virtually no water during weekday daylight hours for weeks and weeks? There seems to be various theories but everyone seems to agree that it's more to do with efficiency than availability.
I've left this one alone for a while to let the dust settle.
However, in order to present something of a true reflection of Nicaragua it seems only right to include it. Certainly, anyone with any expat links to this country is likely to already know the deal.
In short, in the space of a short while, two Americans were murdered in Nicaragua. More details here.
Here also is internet expat chatter about the events in Esteli and Granada.
Here are my thoughts, for what they are worth:
Firstly the killing in Esteli seemed essentially domestic albeit somewhat macabre. As sicking as it was this was only ever a one-off. The second, which was perpetrated by a drug addict looking for cash, was a crime against a white American lady. It appears to be a robbery that went wrong.
In short, these are not "Gringo go home" attacks and apparently not motivated by spite. There is no "anti-Gringo crime wave"
But it has been enough to stir up communities and get people talking and, it appears also open up some divides.
There is no doubting public enemy number one in Nicaragua - it's Union Fenosa
Even coming in late on the issue, as I did, you quickly learn the gripes and feel the wrath.
In short it's a microcosm of third world meets neoliberalism. It goes, as I understand it, something like this. As is their way, the World Bank pressures Nica into privatising their electricity.
Union Fenosa gets the gig. Prices go up, service levels go down. The lights regularly go out.
People start stealing the electricity and there isn't much of a will to deal with the thieves when UF aren't exactly everyone's favourite folks.
If that makes sense, then get you head around the info below, from here:
"In an example of the pressure the Ortega government will face against
its "aspirations of independence” and rejection of neoliberal policies,
the World Bank's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) has
sent a bill for US$55 million to recover the money it recently paid to Union Fenosa, the Spanish company which bought Nicaragua's electricity distribution
grid when the World Bank forced Nicaragua to privatize the state-owned
electric company in the 1990s. Union Fenosa took out an insurance policy with MIGA in 2004 to protect its investment in Nicaragua. Union Fenosa made a claim for US$55 million last year, the amount it claims to have lost over three years."
Good luck trying to figure that one out. Better still just watch the film above. My Spanish is still Manuel-level but my guess is the story line is that Union Fenosa, sick of having their leccy ripped off, turn to Darth Vader to take on the thieves.
Watch to the end because just before the leccy-robbers get their comeuppance the power, in true Union Fenosa style, goes out on Darth's light sabre.
Proof that the Nica machete is more than a match for the Force's light sabre.