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Thread: Popcorn Pigeon

  1. #1

    Default Popcorn Pigeon

    I've had an interesting week in Nicaragua.


    I took a trip to San Juan del Sur. I went in board shorts, and I ended up with burnt calves that are still not healed. I walked down to the beach as soon as I got off the bus (which cost C$17 from Rivas), and I proceeded to the far southern edge near a stone wall. I then walked along the horseshoe shaped beach all the way to the north end and up onto a shelf of broken rocks with pools of ocean water trapped among them. Then, I turned around and walked all the way back to the southern end of the beach before turning east into the city and finding the first bus back to Rivas.


    I took my shoes and socks off on the southern end of the beach and waded through the surf. A little over half the way down the beach I came across a stream that I had to cross to keep following the beach. Once I was on the rock shelf on the southern end, I washed my feet and replace my socks and shoes before my walk back. This meant that when I got to the stream, I had to figure out another way to cross it or else take my shoes and socks off again and then risk getting sand everywhere.


    I asked a man on a bike about the bridge that used to cross the stream, and he confirmed that it fell down. I asked if there was another way to cross, and he told me that there wasn't. So, I was about to plop down and removed my shoes when he offered to carry me across. I was touched by his offer, but the idea of him carrying me across seemed more than a bit awkward, so I tried to tell him that I was okay. He wouldn't hear of it, and after he dropped his bike off on the far side he walked back over. I hopped on his back, and he walked me over. As he was carrying me, a couple of tourists asked, "Cuanto pesas?" I told them, "No mucho, pero mejor preguntalo a el."


    I walked off the beach for a moment on the far side of the creek to rest under some shaded benches. There was a tourist reading "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" while lying out on a bench, and there was a large group of Nicaraguenses getting ready to swim in the next awning over. When I walked up to my bench, I passed a couple sitting close together. The girl was taking her top off while trying to put her bikini top on at the exact same time while her boyfriend did his best to keep her covered during this process. They someone managed it--although I still can't wrap my head around the physics involved.


    I hugged the shade of the building and the trees on the east side of the beach as I followed it south. I had my camera with me, and I got some nice shots through palm fronds. Speaking of photos--can I upload photos onto TRN now, or is this function still broken? I remember the last time I had to upload them to Flickr and then link to the Flickr photos somehow... If someone can remind me how to do this, I will be glad to post pictures moving forward.


    As I walked down the beach, I noticed a large sign on the side of a building encouraging people to no make noise above a specific decibel level. This is a first for me in Nicaragua--the land of mariachis, morteros, and loud speakers. I don't know if they are passing an ordinance in San Juan del Sur, or if the tourists are just trying to change the local culture to suite them.


    Once the bus to Rivas hit the highway, we were stopped an a military man climbed on the bus and started asking seemingly random people to look at their cedulas. When he got to me, he asked to see my passport. I dug the photocopy that I had made out of my backpack to show him, and I told him that my actual passport was in my room. He informed me that I needed to carry my actual passport with me at all times.


    This passport rules seems untenable. It is not just risky to carry your passport with you everywhere, it also tends to cause your passport to break down quickly. Sweat, water, friction against my leg--all of these would break my passport down long before my time in Nicaragua had come to an end. So far, I've only seen buses stopped by the military for spot inspections south of Rivas. This tells me that if you decide to travel down here--take your passport, otherwise don't worry about it.


    I found an inexpensive place to eat chicken and chicharones on the highway that runs through Rivas called Rosticeria Pollo Canon. I pay C$36 for a nice piece of chicken and C$20 for two chunks of meaty (and deliciously fatty) chicharon. I usually double my order for a total of C$40. Compare this to the least expensive chicken meal at Tip Top--which comes in at around C$130, or the least expensive option at Guapollon or NIcpollo which comes in around C$55-C$70. Also, Pollo Canon offers free Wi-Fi, and they don't mind if I linger to use the internet or write.


    I went to Pollo Canon a few days back in the early afternoon. I had just finished eating and had pulled out my laptop when there was a flash and a loud bang from right across the highway. I tensed and looked over, because I assumed that it was a gun shot. The waitresses in Pollo Canon look startled, but then they went to the entrance to check it out. It turns out that a pigeon flew into an electrical transformer and exploded. I've never seen anything like it. The detonating dove knocked out the power for a minute, but even after the power came back, the Wi-Fi was down. They still haven't managed to fix the Wi-Fi. That was one potent pigeon.


    Two night ago, I emerged from my room and found the streets nearly blocked by back to back chicken buses and people. I followed the masses toward the center of Rivas, and there, I found a party. There was a stage setup across from the park abutting the basketball court. There were women dancing in typical outfits and music blaring. I moved through the crowd, and then I heard the announcer praising Daniel and the Sandanistas. I took a closer look around, and noticed that most everyone was wearing the same white T shirts with a Sandanista slogan. I had wandered into a political rally.


    Not long after I got there, they announced a fireworks display, and then the sky lit up over Rivas in a display that rivals anything that I've seen on the 4th of July in the States. Over the fireworks, I heard a some praising unity under the rule of Daniel. I was struck by the similarities between the nationalist themes that I grew up with and those being employed in this Sandanista rally. I guess they figure if it worked in the States, why not in Nicaragua? I also wondered if others where experiencing this event in a meta way (as I was), or if they were buying into the political propaganda.


    A drunk man approached me during the fireworks and shook my hand, hugged me, and welcomed me to Nicaragua. He then asked me for a dollar. I literally had no money on me. I only leave my apartment with exactly what I expect to spend, and I hadn't thought that I'd spend anything. I had to tell him this at least half a dozen times before he gave up. Before he did, he asked me for water--the only thing of value on me. I gave it to him and he went on his way.


    Yesterday, I took a trip to Masaya. I left at around 7:30am, and I got to Masaya around 9:00am after paying C$40 for the ride. The first thing that I did was to walk down to my favorite breakfast place "Caseros" and order a $1 breafast (exactly) of guillo pinto with chilero and two sunny side up eggs. Two of the waiters recognized me. One was a boy who seemed to have doubled in size over the last 2 years. I then visited with friends of mine in Masaya for the next 5 hour. I had intended a short visit, but it is the nature of close friends and family in Nicaragua to pull a person in and make time fly. They fed me a couple of times, and before I knew it, I had to leave to try to catch one of the later buses back to Rivas. I walked through the middle of Masaya--past the central park and then through the mercado and the bus terminal on my way out to the highway that runs up to Catarina. I waited at a bus stop which was clearly marked as the stop for Expresses buses to Rivas.


    I was charged C$50 back to Rivas. The express buses charge a bit more, and I got back to Rivas around 5:30pm.


    I spent this morning wiping down my bathroom door (wood with a coat of white paint) with a mop head soaked in bleach. It was covered in tiny black spots of mold from the humidity caused by my showers. The overwhelming smell of bleach drove me out of my room. I left the windows open and the fan on to help make it breathable again.


    I'm planning a return trip to Masaya tomorrow to watch a baseball game. I'll take my time and explore a bit more this time and take pictures.


    --Saludos!
    Soy el chele mono.

  2. #2
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    Figured you would be looking around for wifi, meant to mention something new since your last visit, Most of the Central Parques now have Free Wifi. Not sure about speed or reliability but it exists.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  3. #3

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    They always give you that line about having to carry your passport instead of a copy, but that is as far as it goes.
    Nicaragua still seems adamant about not letting the migrants pass,, that is probably the purpose of the check.
    I never see it up here (north), but I don't spend a lot of time on buses.

    I think I mentioned that I saw a group wading the river from Guatemala into Mexico,, and there were quite a few on the streets of Tapachula, selling small items, or begging.
    They really stand out.

    I carry a color copy of the passport page folded up to fit in my wallet where my driver's license goes, and I also have the US Passport card, which is the same size as the Nica cedula.

    It's very handy,, so uncommon here that they assume you are some kind of big shot.

    Has anyone seen the usual zinc, piglet, and chicken, handouts this election cycle?
    Maybe they are putting their money into T-Shirts and fireworks this time.

  4. #4
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    The man who carried you across the river, drlemcor, was a kind & helpful soul, so typical of the sort of good people one finds in the Nicaraguan countryside. And probably very poor. You include many costs in these accounts of your travels, which is useful information for all readers. So you realize I must ask: did you lay some coin in his palm? The 5 cordova coin (worth 17 cents US) would have been received as a generous gesture.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy-YO View Post
    The man who carried you across the river, drlemcor, was a kind & helpful soul, so typical of the sort of good people one finds in the Nicaraguan countryside. And probably very poor. You include many costs in these accounts of your travels, which is useful information for all readers. So you realize I must ask: did you lay some coin in his palm? The 5 cordova coin (worth 17 cents US) would have been received as a generous gesture.



    He may have been the only guy in SJdS who didn't, wouldn't, rob you.


    Offering money for a gesture provided in good faith, a kindness, can be tricky. I usually ask,, what do I owe you,, and when insisting nothing,,, say,, Can I buy you a beer??
    That puts it in a different perspective, now I'm not paying for the kindness,, but offering one of my own.
    This gesture is usually accepted. He may not use the 20 cords for a cerveza, but the thought brings a smile.

    It's all about ME feeling better,,, there is so much aprovechar here that I don't want to be the one aprovechando.

    I never take money for giving people rides, towing someone up the hill,, although most ask how much is owed.
    I'm a firm believer in karma, and I have plenty of bad to make up for.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    I didn't, but my reasons are probably a projection of my own cultural upbringing. I thanked the man sincerely, but that was all there was to it. I felt that offering the man money for his kindness would in some way cheapen the gesture. I have altruistic tendencies, and when I help someone, all I feel comfortable accepting in return is their gratitude--and even this causes me some discomfort.

    I'll take your advice about offering to buy someone a beer to heart. If this is the culturally acceptable way to show gratitude, then I need to assimilate.
    Soy el chele mono.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    Quote Originally Posted by cookshow View Post
    Figured you would be looking around for wifi, meant to mention something new since your last visit, Most of the Central Parques now have Free Wifi. Not sure about speed or reliability but it exists.
    I had no idea that this was the case. I'll try it the next time I'm in a central park. The one in Rivas is walled off for some construction right now, but I'm planning trips to Carazo next week--starting tomorrow.
    Soy el chele mono.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    Quote Originally Posted by KeyWestPirate View Post
    I also have the US Passport card, which is the same size as the Nica cedula.

    It's very handy,, so uncommon here that they assume you are some kind of big shot.
    Where would one get a US Passport card? That sounds like a handy alternative to carrying the booklet--and who doesn't like to feel like a big shot every now and again?
    Soy el chele mono.

  9. #9
    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    try the passport office.
    https://travel.state.gov/content/pas...tion/card.html
    not valid in Nic, but an extra picture govmint ID that might come in handy
    Quote Originally Posted by drlemcor View Post
    Where would one get a US Passport card? That sounds like a handy alternative to carrying the booklet--and who doesn't like to feel like a big shot every now and again?

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


  10. #10

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    That's some good chicken prices you are getting. I could eat Pollo Frito every meal but I try to stay away from the fried stuff.

    Posting pics, I use Google Photos, seems to be the easiest and you get a ton of free storage. Select your pics, drag them into the upload screen. You can put them into an album. Once all uploaded just open the album, open the pic you want to post, right click and copy the image address, then come here, click on the insert image button and paste in the link. Should automatically open it for you, saves the whole upload thing.


  11. #11
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    I was just where that pic came from.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  12. #12
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    I got my US Passport card 3 years ago but never brought it to Nicaragua. It's not accepted as an ID to enter the county and it's not valid for air travel. Another problem: it has a different number than that of my passport issued at the same time. Yeah, it looks spiffy with holograms and the RFID chip, like a green card. You see, I had an ID card made 11 years ago that's been accepted everywhere for credit card purchases & hotel registration (tho out of date). It's a color photo-reduced copy of my main passport page - with visa stamp on the flip side - that was laminated in plastic. Same size as my driver's license. Cost me less than a dollar.


    Kwah2249 - Thanks for the tip on using Google Photos to post images. By the bye, your foto is neat the way it captured perspective in the sky.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  13. #13
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    IIRC, on the passport application it states that the card version is only valid for certain travel, which excludes Nicaragua.

  14. #14
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    Other day I was chatting with an old Friend of mine that used to vacation with me. She asked if I remembered the time I gave the Police My Diver Certification Card down in Yucatan. Police were hard on Rental Cards and I kept a wallet full of oddball ID's to hand out. If it has a picture and kinda looks like you, it will fly most of the time.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  15. #15
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    Quote Originally Posted by cookshow View Post
    Figured you would be looking around for wifi, meant to mention something new since your last visit, Most of the Central Parques now have Free Wifi. Not sure about speed or reliability but it exists.
    I've seen our Parque Central listed among networks here but I've never been able to connect. Always full. I don't have WiFi at our apt in Leon. I cruize the cyber-cafes with my com-puta (as my jealous-of-my-time-with-it wife refers to it), buy a coffee or a meal, and park it to read email, check acc'ts for bogus charges & download stuff of interest to read later. Places don't change passwords often, so I've revisited spots without eating to sponge wifi. (Places run by could-care-less locals for absent foreign owners, of course.) The hyper-air-conditioned Casa de Cafe is the most popular good WiFi spot in hot Leon, always full of SpongeBob expats.


    As for WiFi vendors hereabouts, here's a sampling of a recent exchange on FB, Expats in León:

    NWH: What's the latest on best Wifi for Las Penitas? We continue to be underhwelmed by IBW's residential service, especially for the price. Our rental agent has been looking at AlfaNumeric, but now they are like 2 weeks out from calling him back with an estimate. We were hoping to speed up the internet before the busy season. Thanks!

    RM: Borja from Bomalu had a meeting with Condor about a possible bulk purchase program for businesses in LP. Apparently they are $80 per month 2mbs speed & unlimited quantity + one time installation ($100 to $140 if I understood correctly)

    DC: I started with Alfa in 2006, then have had Condor, IBW, MovieStar and Claro and have come all the way around back to Alfa. Had it for the past 9 months and seems to be the only one I can depend on but the price is outrageous, $300 month for 5 mbs!. Much better than when they used to charge me $250 for 68mps, then $300 for 128 mps 6 years ago. Problem with ALL the others is that they don't work 80% of the time and they ALL promised much more than they delivered constantly. I know you all agree to that if you've had any service that I know of. I've heard of the bulk package if x amount of LP businesses participated and never got past "yes" I will. IBW doubled my rate last year with a 'new contract" that will not share with anyone else, just direct to Playa Roca. Doubled the rate and NOT one GUARANTEE WAS VALID, I got absolutely no better service.

    NWH: Thanks. We just have trouble justifying that price for a single vacation house. They say they can give us a residential at $75/month, but they have to actually send an official estimate...

    RK: Hahaha, yeah a condor rep came and offered 80 dollars a month, I literally laughed in his face,,,they're all shit.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    K, that was my first time there. Food was good but looks like they stopped putting money in the place a couple years ago, kinda raggedy. Shame since it's such a nice location.

    Thanks Daddy-yo, lucky snap. Do enjoy the green season, the vegetation is at its best and the clouds have good structure.

    We got stopped by the military a couple weeks ago. Story is that the farmer that owns this beautiful point started to go blind so he made arrangements with the military to make this an outpost. Guess they saw us pass by so when we were coming back they came down to the pier and waved us over. Pretty cool guys, checked ID's and chatted. Almost asked them where to sign up to get that post. Box of books and a couple fishing rods and I'd be set.


  17. #17

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    Kwah2249 - Thanks for the tip on using Google Photos to post images. By the bye, your foto is neat the way it captured perspective in the sky.



    Yes,,, thank you. I've been having trouble managing (uploading) my photos.
    If I stick them here, I can let them go up while I sleep.

    I'll give it a shot


  18. #18

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    Soy el chele mono.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    What do you know about that--it worked. The floodgates are now open, prepare for a tidal wave of photos.
    Last edited by drlemcor; 11-18-2016 at 09:09 PM.
    Soy el chele mono.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    Let's see how many I can post at once...
    Soy el chele mono.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    Soy el chele mono.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    Great pic, Thanks!

  23. #23

    Default Re: Popcorn Pigeon

    The poor pigeon!

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