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Thread: Barefoot Tourist

  1. #1

    Default Barefoot Tourist

    This last week I celebrated my birthday by not wearing shoes or socks all day. The only concession I made was the inexpensive green flip-flops I picked up at the mercado (picture included).

    I walked three and a half blocks (one way) through the street of Leon with a full laundry bag over my shoulder in those chinelas and back again (twice) to drop off and then to pick up my laundry.

    I hung and laundry to dry across the garden courtyard in front of my room and then took them down in those chinelas.

    I walked three blocks (one way) to Pali and back to get some chocolate milk in those chinelas. A woman watched me walk by and yelled out, “Son lindas tus chinelas chele.” I like that I’m comfortable enough with Spanish that I can get sarcasm.

    And, I walked to a Cyber to watch movie trailers and catch up on U.S. geek culture. My pirated internet isn’t strong enough for me to stream. I can use it for social media and for email and to read TRN, but that’s about it. I took a shot of the rinconcito where I setup a chair to pirate the internet from the next house over. I still get weird looks when my neighbor sees me sitting out there.

    It felt good to let my feet breathe for a day, but I don’t recommend this kind of chinelas for long walks. I usually just use them to shower. I know many Nicaraguan that use them just around the house (like me), but I still seem others walking around in them. I’ve even seen kids playing soccer in them. Now that’s impressive.

    As it was laundry day, I took a picture of my hat to show something I noticed a week earlier. I sweat almost non-stop down here, but it’s often windy and dry enough that all of the moisture from my sweat is whisked away from my clothes immediately. This just leaves the salt from my sweat stuck to my hat and shirt as evidence. I must sweat in waves, because the salt forms patterns like the surf driven sand on a beach. I also took a picture of the corner of my room where I keep my clothes (clean and dirty).

    An upstairs neighbor was having trouble with her cable that night, so an electrician came by and leaned a ladder up to the roof on one side of the courtyard. I took advantage to climb up and take pictures across the roof and back over the courtyard.

    When I climbed back down, I noticed a flower for the first time. My neighbor tells me they wilt quickly in the heat and so are short lived. I also took an impromptu photo of a perro zampopo hiding in the corner of my window. These are the little barking lizards that are kind enough to thin the mosquito population.

    The next day, I decided to head down to Managua to treat myself. I visited Maria Felix for a massage. She worked me over like Rocky does a side of beef. As usual, I left there feeling both good and sore, and yet I keep going back. Maybe there’s something wrong with me.

    I walked down to Galerias, indulged in Sushi at Sushi Ya and then watched “Warm Bodies” at the theatre there. This movie explores the end of the zombie metaphor (the dehumanizing of mankind in a postmodern world) through loving human connections. It was slow and definitely a niche film. It made me rethink many of my recent interactions in Nicaragua—both the humanizing and dehumanizing.

    I walked from Galerias back to the UCA bus stop, and I arrived around 5:00pm. Because of the start of Semana Santa, the lines were worse than usual. I didn’t get a bus until just after 6:00pm.

    It took us much longer to get out of Managua because of the traffic jam—once again the result of the almost universal vacation that my neighbor here calls the Semana Sangena (bloody week) instead of the Semana Santa (holy week).

    On the road to Leon, we hit a standstill just after Mateare because of some construction that some genius decided they just had to start right before the busiest week of the year. Then, right before Nagarote, we hit an even worse standstill. We didn’t make it past this one for 40 minutes, and when we did, it turned out to be a small van turned sideways on a bridge blocking one lane of traffic.

    It had hit the rail on one side, but wasn’t disabled. It was a small enough vehicle that I could push it out of the way all by myself if they’d put it in neutral, but for some reason they had decided to leave it there to block traffic for nearly an hour in both directions…

    My microbus didn’t have air conditioning, so we were at the mercy of the airflow from the tiny windows. Unfortunately, these don’t work when the microbus is stopped, so it quickly turned into a sauna.

    A group of four tourists were occupying the back seat (down just for the Semana Santa). Two were French, one was South African, and the last was an Aussie. They talked about inane banalities the entire time in English (the only shared language between them), so I was forced to hear about what kind of tribal tattoo she should get or how the French have a very liberal understanding of friendship or whether men should have pushup underwear like women have pushup bras or what cute Danish boy she picked up in a bar or how they sexually exploit the conservative locals.

    I’ll admit that the heat, my sore ass, and cramped legs could have been making me irritable, but I was struck by just how annoying I found these tourists. Are most tourists like them? Are they conditioning Nicaraguans to expect more foreigners to be like these? If so, I feel a deeper sense of empathy for those who take time to warm up to me.

    As I thought about my reaction to them I imagined myself waving a cane and yelling, "Damn kids and your rap music!" I'm not too much older then they, but as my father has said, "You were born old."

    I made it to Leon at 8:30pm, and by walking fast, I was able to make it to my apartment before they lock it down at 9:00pm.

    Traveling around the Semana Santa is an iffy business, and I got caught up in it. Still, the trip was memorable, and in the end this is what I wanted to celebrate my birthday.

    I’m another year into the grave, and I feel fine.

    Saludos!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Soy el chele mono.

  2. #2
    Junkyard Dog randude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Barefoot Tourist

    Feliz cumpleaños
    Survivor

  3. #3

    Default Re: Barefoot Tourist

    Happy Birthday!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Barefoot Tourist

    Happy bday!!!

  5. #5
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Barefoot Tourist

    Happy Birdday.....
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



  6. #6

    Default Re: Barefoot Tourist

    Felizedades like your posts.

    Cheers

  7. #7
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Barefoot Tourist

    For a serious walker and a big walking-shoes aficionado, I can see where going barefoot is as unique a treat as going public in your birthday suit.


    The walk from the Galerias to UCA must be more than 15 blocks, a goodly portion downhill. Is there sidewalk the whole way, or do you find you have to dodge the constantly busy traffic? I imagine there were no 7-peso colas along that route, having already spent your B-day splurge on shuichi.
    The Great Reset, "You'll have nothing AND you'll be happy." - Klaus Schwab, W.E.F. __"First abolish private property," Marx & Engels

  8. #8

    Default Re: Barefoot Tourist

    There aren't any pulperias where one could try to find 12 ounce gaseosas along that main drag. The closest thing would be to stop into a bar or into a supermarket, but in either case the price would be considerably higher.

    There are sidewalks occasionally. When there aren't, I walk on trails just off the road, or on the shoulder towards oncoming traffic (so I can see them coming), or at times on a slender band of concrete next to the road like a gymnast.

    I try not to play Frogger on the main highway any more than I have to. I usually just do this to get past the round-about to Huembes or the one right next to Galerias.

    Oh, and thanks for reminding me about the sushi. The place I ate (the only place I know of in Nicaragua) is called "Sushi Ito." I wrote "Sushi Ya," but this is a place I frequent back in the States.
    Soy el chele mono.

  9. #9
    TRN Lifetime Member
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    Default Re: Barefoot Tourist

    Sushi itto--half priced sushi on Weekdays during lunch!!! Thats where u will find me today or tomorrow,lol

  10. #10
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Barefoot Tourist

    Quote Originally Posted by drlemcor View Post
    ... about the sushi. The place I ate (the only place I know of in Nicaragua) ...
    Good news. (Maybe? Warning: busts pinche budgets) There is a sushi place in Leon, jodido. It's called 'Manhattan', a little bar/restaurant across the street from Hotel La Perla and just south of its casino (places that Renco runs/ran?).


    I prefer 'cebiche de corvina' (fish cocktail) which I view as Latin American sushi and usually I have to trek to Poneloya to 'las palapas', the thatch-roofed, open restaurants perched over the inlet of the tidal creek (estero salado) to score some.
    The Great Reset, "You'll have nothing AND you'll be happy." - Klaus Schwab, W.E.F. __"First abolish private property," Marx & Engels

  11. #11

    Default Re: Barefoot Tourist

    The footwear is a handsome color of green. Nice trees and flowers. Yay lizard.

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