Blog Comments

  1. prpcof's Avatar
    IT HAS BEEN ALMOST 2 YEARS NOW!

    2 years in bits and pieces. I did a lot or reading before deciding to try Nicaragua. Learned about the termites at the air port. The taxi drivers the street hustlers and real estate hustlers. Traveled from Leon to SJDS. Thought about the experiences as I went along. Met my first builder in Granada and some people I can call friends. First builder declined to build because he felt I was to picky. That was part true. He had better choices. Liked him, not his cookie cutter houses. Tested a few others and ended up with a Nica builder. I read about the people in general. The poverty set me back a little. Explained why they see us as piggy banks. I had the worst experiences with Gringos (epats) Who had a better idea of what they could hustle from me. Most Nica's only could guess. Bought in a area that is mostly locals. I feel more comfort here. Although the reading and experiences leave me more careful than I want to be.

    I do not see the people that represent the worst of us. I believe by not looking for them. I do not see the Gringo drunks. Know what they look like here in the US. I hope that my home will be secluded enough in a area rich in locals and poor in expats to learn a culture not a place to hide out with other Gringos. It is a small fortress that maybe I can leave once in a while to make friends with the locals and help with the local kids who are homeless all around me. I love these people most who live with so little without a lot of complaint. I cannot relate to all the stories in this blog. Do not want to. I do want a relationship with the everyday people.
  2. MizBrown's Avatar
    Most people in Central America then were the human equivalent of John Deere tractors and combines and Roundup. Still are to a certain extent in countries with almost 50% still in agricultural production.
  3. RGV AG's Avatar
    Interesting and good points MizBrown. I think you are somewhat correct about some of the women not wanting to marry, but my experience in that regard is it is the ones that already have kids that do not want to marry usually. Down here I have run across, a little more than in Mexico, the situation where the girl get pregnant with the first boyfriend/intimate liaison and does want to marry, but either the marriage never happens or the boy/man takes off. Child support here is an odd thing, what many of the men know is that if they do not "recognize" the child then they really have nothing to fear. Hence most do not.

    Women here seem to not trust, with good reason, the men to stay with them or stay faithful, hence they are much more bonded to the child. The problem I see in this country, at least in Managua and its environs, is that the single mothers have to work very long schedules. It is not like the US where there is typically an 8 hour day or 40 hours a week. Here the week is 48 hours and many folks have long commutes due to no personal transportation, that makes for 12-14 hour days, which leaves little if any time for the actual mother to be with kids. Hence they are either raised by a relative, grandmother many times, or they are pooled off to "happenstance guarderias" in the barrios or a group of mothers hires a nanny for their kids. None of those are good situations.

    I would absolutely agree with the over indulgent mother situation you mention, that is big time present here in Latin America towards the males. I am curious about the birth rate in Nicaragua, and while the birth rate may be declining so is infant mortality along with the population longevity increasing. That is precarious cocktail for a struggling society that has not developed a fleet enough industrial base and or economy to completely support it.

    Ironically Thomas Belt's description of the politics and governments of Nicaragua, and Central America for that matter, was as apt then as it is now. In his description of the society back then something always struck me as odd, in that he mentions that marriage was not that important to the Nicaraguans but Baptism was. I never understood that as I had always understood that in the 18th and 19th centuries the marriages, many of them basically arranged, were a way for not only the upper but also the fringe upper and small middle classes to solidify wealth and political fortune for the future.
  4. MizBrown's Avatar
    What I've read is that often the women don't want to marry and that at least in some cases, the guys have jobs that move them around a lot (construction being the biggie) and do send money home.

    The same pattern shows up with any number of people whose lives are precarious. The children are a better investment for care in old age than a man.

    Birth rates in Latin America are going down. Friend of mine asked some Guatemalan women about family planning and the plan is to have two or three children and then get sterilized (more reliable and cheaper in the long run than other solutions).

    I know some perfectly okay guys who were raised by single mothers -- the problem often isn't so much the absent father but the overly indulgent moms (some of my black students in the US and some women here) who will do anything for the boys now to bind them to her for later.

    Nicaraguans in the 19th Century shocked Thomas Belt with how the women were having babies out of wedlock and telling the Anglo women who were shocked that they were prudes. Nothing new for here. Sandino wasn't the only bastard of a rich man and a poor woman here. Both Sandino and Fonseca did get support from their fathers.

    What happens to old men here who've never had contact with their children? The old women make it possible for their daughters to be working while grannie tends the children, so they have some value to their children.
  5. RGV AG's Avatar
    My sane guy friends have avoided these sort of entanglements. One of them said, "I know what she looks like and I know what I look like." Feel sorrier in some ways for the guys than the women. Lot of cases, there's a young lover or husband behind the scenes. One guy wrote of similar women in Thailand that they are Academy-Award class actresses.
    Yes ma'am that makes sense and I believe you are dead on. I spent just over 15 years, from 23 to 38, being a single Spanish speaking gringo male in Maquilas from Matamoros to San Salvador so I can identify with being highly sought after on side of the border and amazingly enough on the other I was lucky to get second dates. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

    Oddly I never got involved with any of the women, and I managed over 600 at one time, that worked for me while we were co-workers and or I was the boss. I always felt it would be really a rotten thing to do and as I was young I had some vanity about me. I did go out with a couple, nothing serious, after they left the companies but it was never going anywhere and I think they knew by then that I was not going to get involved. Ironically, after working with so many women all day, all the time I actually ran the other direction from women, I think it was why I didn't marry until I had a shotgun wedding at 38 with my young bride of 34.

    As I told my wife on her first trip to Nicaragua, I never knew I was so good looking until I came to Nicaragua, LOL. I think she did a double eye roll and laughed for about 20 minutes.

    I really am not too politically correct and I have lots of preconceived notions and biases that follow me around, sometimes like garlic breath or something. One of them is that I am not a fan of the Latin male in general. I grew up around them, I hung out with them, many of them are my close friends, and so on and so forth. Yet I have spent 22 years ambling through the detritus of their care free youths and irresponsible actions. Watching women of all ages slave away on a sewing machine 9 or 10 hours a day while the father(s) of her children are nowhere to be seen has jaded me something fierce. Equally, watching children grow up and go bad after a fatherless life in less than ideal surroundings has galled me no end. I am not so daft that I do not know that the aforementioned situations also occur worldwide, but Lord have mercy it is way out of control in Latin America, no matter the country.

    I believe this is exacerbated in Nicaragua due to the social breakdown that followed the 80's. In the last 6 months in a plant here in Nicaragua we have had 17 pregnancies, we were looking at this for cost reasons the other day, and not one of them was married nor living with a father. Maybe some of the women are part of the problem, but the odds of it being all the women in 17 cases just don't fly. Out of wedlock birth is the single biggest problem that Latin America faces in my opinion.

    Oh, and MizBrown I agree with your views on the old Tea Partiers and Quaker philanders. I have spent 20 years debating and being abused by 20 something year old latin women, some of them so charming and beautiful that they stopped watches, and the last thing I want to do as I dive into middle age is having anything to do with any woman that enjoys Reggaeton and can no look text faster than a cheetah with a hotfoot outside of a business relationship. These young women sure are pretty and entertaining but they come with more grief than any old codger can possibly handle.
  6. MizBrown's Avatar
    Um, my observations are that the Nicaraguan male, at least in Jinotega, at least the ones I lived near, is more reliable on average than a 50 something Tea Partier who has fallen in lust with someone he can't talk to, or the Quaker adulterer who starts thinking he ought to return to his wife.

    My sane guy friends have avoided these sort of entanglements. One of them said, "I know what she looks like and I know what I look like." Feel sorrier in some ways for the guys than the women. Lot of cases, there's a young lover or husband behind the scenes. One guy wrote of similar women in Thailand that they are Academy-Award class actresses.
  7. RGV AG's Avatar
    Maybe the more functional expats develop more local friends and social circles rather than developing those makes anyone more functional?
    Haha, I believe you have indirectly called me functional, that is a wonderful compliment, although most that know me would argue otherwise.

    Actually, what you write makes perfect sense. I think one of the things I have seen over the years, and I was basically reared an expat and had a mother that was and remained a staunch expat her whole life, is that many expats are trying to change their past and their lives by going to a new location. Kinda like a woman in the 60's or 70's would get a new hairstyle to come out of an event or breakup or something. What I have found is that how your life was "back home" is likely how your life will evolve offshore. The process might take a while to develop and the food, customs, and scenery will be different, but at the end of the day the personal aura and feelings will end up about the same.

    I think older divorced/widowed, or just lecherous, males are the exception as they get offshore trying to capture the elusive Brown Breasted Mattress Thrasher that they actually think finds them suave, successful, and attractive. Bunk. It is all about the business and convenience and I don't find anything wrong with it, as it is natural and nature and has been going on since Christ was a corporal. But it is what it is. I always those type of arrangements work out to be mutually beneficial and that the juice, on both sides, is worth the squeeze. There is a lot of that in Nicaragua and in many cases it serves its purpose as the Nicaragua male in large percentage, by the numbers and through all spectrum's of society, is not all that desirable nor reliable when it comes to family stuff.
  8. MizBrown's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by RGV AG
    Nicaragua has also developed a cottage industry in a segment of the population that, for lack of a better word, preys on Gringos with a little cash. Many of the older single males navigate the industry and it is dangerous and not to mention the bad ramifications it has on a small society as a whole.

    Somewhat self imposed I have limited my personal and my families "circle" to mostly locals, as I have found that more wholesome and decent along with less complications. I do have some contact with expats, some of the great folks on here, and others that work in the same industry as I do, but I do not seek gringos for a variety of reasons. Most of the gringos that I know down here, that really like and enjoy Nicaragua, have developed more local friends and social circles, I believe this enables a more functional existence.

    My Granada expat acquaintance said that it's about getting money and/or a light skinned son for the woman. The light skinned son will have better career opportunities and will take better care of Momma in her old age. If both parties understand each other, that's their business. But there are a lot of European medieval stories about the May/December marriages with the old fool not realizing that the hot young wife was finding more appealing pleasures in other arms.

    Maybe the more functional expats develop more local friends and social circles rather than developing those makes anyone more functional?
  9. RGV AG's Avatar
    Mucho pedophiles and bad gringo's in Granada, more than the norm per capita in my opinion. When CR got too expensive and troublesome many of the bottom feeders there migrated to Granada. One thing about Nicaragua is that if you look for trouble you can easily find it and if you are not good at discerning potential trouble from a nonsensical story this is not the place for you. As mentioned there are plenty of local pedophiles and bad characters as well, from what I have seen they local and expatriate bad crowds usually mix and mingle and feed off each other.

    There are lots of really nice and good, not to mention sober, expatriates in both Granada and SJDS, sadly many of the bad ones stick out. It is easy to get away with bad behavior and illicit activities in Nicaragua for a while, but due to it's population size and gossipy nature things usually come out and the consequences are not good. Nicaragua has also developed a cottage industry in a segment of the population that, for lack of a better word, preys on Gringos with a little cash. Many of the older single males navigate the industry and it is dangerous and not to mention the bad ramifications it has on a small society as a whole.

    Somewhat self imposed I have limited my personal and my families "circle" to mostly locals, as I have found that more wholesome and decent along with less complications. I do have some contact with expats, some of the great folks on here, and others that work in the same industry as I do, but I do not seek gringos for a variety of reasons. Most of the gringos that I know down here, that really like and enjoy Nicaragua, have developed more local friends and social circles, I believe this enables a more functional existence.
  10. MizBrown's Avatar
    Thing is the people who are buying now are buying into a world-destination city. And having lived in NYC, I can say that there are some cool things about living in a world-destination city. But I also saw people having the fire sales and leaving town in NYC and I'm sure people have plans go up in smoke in Granada, too.

    I think for new expats the ideal cities are the ones with a mix of bilingual locals and some English-speaking but not North American expats (Jinotega has Russians, Germans, Chinese). Granada is going to be about maximizing profits before something else is the next cool city with 500 year old architecture (and more of Europe has that). The rich are fickle, and Mexico has some spare colonial village still to be discovered. Managua doesn't glitter and doesn't look like a convention of wedding cakes, but a $65K house there will probably be sound enough (one guy pointed out a development of those near where he lives on the outskirts, and re-salable reasonably quickly. That $300K house in Granada, not so much.

    Both my brother and a Chinese guy who's in the tropical fish trade asked me why I wasn't in the capital. Except for the 100 plus F days, it's a reasonable question, just more of a car place.

    Granada has the advantage of being about 30 Km from a lot of interesting stuff, but then Managua has the same advantages and the airport.

    I did ten years in rural Virginia. The idea of dealing with a countryside full of the Spanish-speaking equivalents of my grandfather's and uncle's tenants strikes me as a great way to really not enjoy myself. You know that feeling when the kid who you paid to help you put up the pork in the smokehouse stole the meat and sold it to a fence (happened to my grandfather) -- I suspect you've know of the Nicaraguan equivalent to that. Anyone who thinks living in the country will mean less crime than living in town has a poor grasp of statistics.
  11. cookshow's Avatar
    Life in the Campo makes Granada seem almost wholesome.

    Granada is not so bad as many make it out to be, lots of good places to eat, entertainment options, close to MGA, but there are many Gringos and some are not so nice. I know a few gringos that have or do live there that have little contact with other Gringos unless they bump in to them somewhere, most of them I met years ago on NL or on this site and we keep in touch a few times a year, maybe visit if I travel through town.
  12. MizBrown's Avatar
    Well, yah.
  13. cookshow's Avatar
    In fairness to Gringos. Nicaragua has more than a few Pedofiles of it's own.
  14. MizBrown's Avatar
    The other side had one guy come in and make it plain that he wanted a housekeeper with benefits, then started defending the guys who "help the young girls and their families" in exchange for sex. Not all expats are nice and the ones who insist that all expats are nice I tend to be wary of, just as I'm wary of people who insist that the rules don't need to be followed and experience in country doesn't mean as much as pure enthusiasm and being on the manic side.Someone posted a link to a bitter YouTube video to the FB Expats in Nicaragua group -- guy was in Peru and was nuttier than a nutty thing leaving the US to go to Peru to escape the coming police state and economic collapse. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9Dq...ature=youtu.be .He does make the point that all this would be as difficult, minus the language difference, if people moved to tiny villages in England.
  15. bill_bly_ca's Avatar
    They reside in more than Granada...

    Creepy rasta haired fellow who played bongos, living in a in a California plated pick up with camper on the back was negotiating with street kids in 2012 just 10m down the street from our balcony at Joxi in SJDS... Even with all of the dead bodies seen on the Tipitapa /Masaya highway we have seen (4) it was the most disturbing thing we have witnessed so far.. Sent an email to INTERPOL and the FBI with the plate number.. Never know what ever came of it..
  16. vinyljunkie77003's Avatar
    i havent particularly noticed that Granada has a lot of gringo lushes.
    But Granada does have a silly high number of pedophiles. Which is probably the main reason i hate it. I dont know if its bad luck, or what, but the last 4 times ive been there, i seem to sit next to or overhear some pedophile. I went with friends to Kathy's Waffle House, and sat next to this table with this character out of a bad movie. You could tell he was a terrible person, but had money. His sister had came to visit him and spent the whole time looking in the mirror fixing herself, and his business buddy showed up and spent a lot of time stroking his ego with how much he means to the community of granada and they all owe him thanks, etc. Meanwhile this socially inept rich guy had a local nica girl who looked miserable next to him. She also looked about 16 or 17. The guy went on and on about he didnt understand why she was miserable because he pleasured her so well last night, multiple times, in every possible place. The girl, who only responded in spanish, and the guy, who spoke no spanish was frustrated that he didnt understand her and kept telling her that she needed to learn english. For 30 minutes i had to hear all about his sexual exploits. Of which he was quite proud and loudly proclaimed them, i think in hopes that someone from our table would pat him on the back or something. Instead, i had some not nice words to say to him....

    Unfortunately, this was not a one off occurrence in the city, once i went with friends to the swimming pool in Hotel Granada, and there was an old white guy nuzzling up to a girl that made the 17 year old at kathys waffle house look like an old married lady, and bragging to his friend how easy it is to get any girl he wants. Just walk up to a home, ask her parents how much....done deal. To this day i still regret not punching him in the face.

    Unfortunately, i could go on and tell a few more stories exactly like these, from when i hung out in granada.

    im certainly not going to over generalize here and call every expat in granada a pedophile. i know a handful of nice expats there personally. i just somehow have had the bad fortune of ending up right next to the pervs many times in going there.
  17. MizBrown's Avatar
    I guess the question we should be asking is why Granada? For around twenty years or so, various entities have picked one or the other of several Central American countries to be the next Hot Place to retire. A gringa in Honduras pointed out that around a decade and a half ago, Honduras was getting the love -- and Honduras now is not really a safe country particularly.

    My checklist for "Does this move make sense?" :

    1. Can you get the medicines and other things you need to live here when you visit to check the place out? Don't make assumptions here. Verify.
    2. Hobbies -- can you find satisfactory supplies or good substitutes for the things you do? (I can't get Eheim cannister filters here so someone rigged up a wet-dry sort of filter from a food grade plastic bucket and a submersible pump).
    3. Do you need a car and can you afford one? Price gas, insurance and check with laws affecting drivers who have accidents.
    4. Do you need to make money here? Talk to some people who've done it. The classic story is people come during the high season and decide that running a bar or restaurant will be do-able. What's it like in the off season?
    5. Price electricity for what you want to do. If you want a fully air-conditioned colonial mansion in Granada, that's going to be costly. Bring down a tester that will tell you if wiring is grounded and figure out what to do if it isn't.
    6. What can you do for yourself -- home repairs, gardening. I have a great landlord; not all renters are so fortunate. Knowing the trades also allows you to better evaluate work you're hiring done.
    7. Know something about house construction techniques used here and when a mud and cane or adobe house is not a bargain at any price (if the roof leaked for any length of time, don't buy unless you have experience in rebuilding such houses). Most people where I live rebuild with cinderblock and rebar then stucco over and paint the stucco. The real estate sales infrastructure people count on in the US doesn't exist here: no comps, no licensed realtors.
    8. How tolerant are you of learning curves --- there's learning the language. I've never heard a credible story of anyone even young learning Spanish to fluency in less than a skull-pounding year of immersion. Most people will take longer than that. There's one of learning the culture -- and most people already know about the US and have family or friends who've lived there, so they have more informed opinions of the US than most expats have of Nicaragua (other than the people who married Nicaraguan a number of years back).
    9. What's your exit strategy? Not having one seems to me to be unrealistic.
  18. MizBrown's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by RGV AG

    Renting is the best bargain right now in Nicaragua as far as I am concerned, so rent a spell and move around if you must.
    And, worst case scenario, it's better to have paid gringo rent for a year until you get your bearings than have paid a gringo price for a house.
    Updated 07-23-2014 at 09:16 PM by MizBrown
  19. acc724's Avatar
    miz brown..did a good job on granada..personally..i dont like it..there are a lot of drunks there
  20. RGV AG's Avatar
    Miz Brown about nails it. I have been in Nicaragua all total, in two stints and with frequent travel here when not living here, for 7 years and that is a very good description of Granada. From my perspective I believe she might not have touched on that a bunch of the gringo's there are lushes, not all but a decent portion of them. It is almost like a late middle age or geriatric version of wannabe Spring Break 67' with a bunch of cheap beer thrown in. I love retirees and most folks, but not so much drunk gringos usually escaping from something all bitching about how it is done up north.

    As the other respondents mention, it is Nicaragua and not for sissies and I would say even more it is not for sissies that are easily shocked.

    All told this is a nice country with good people for the most part, but as mentioned, learn the nuances, the habits, the expectations, and the culture to a degree. I say to a degree because I am convinced that only a native born Nica with many formative years here can truly be a Nica, as they are a breed apart.

    Renting is the best bargain right now in Nicaragua as far as I am concerned, so rent a spell and move around if you must.
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