The Life of Liz

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~Anne Frank

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trains, planes and automobiles. Except without the trains.

Greetings from Managua!

It is amazing how a Great Adventure looks exactly the same as Appaulingly Tired.  Flying through the night lent a distinct air or sureality to the trip.  When you are that tired, nothing is real and even a simple raisen bagel can threaten to pull the teeth clean out of your head.  When you are that tired, you cannot remember why you are going, or even where.  The going itself becomes the sum of all things.

Or at least that it what I was thinking as I lay in Miami airport on the cold carpeted concrete, snuggled up with my backpack and feeling a kindship to the homeless camped out at Market Street Station.  I was trying to nap since it was 3:30 in the morning but could not thanks to the blaring saxophone muzak being piped in.  I do not know who had that great idea, but they are on my list.

My first impression of Managua: It is cleaner than I expected.  I distinctly remember Juarez being very dirty.  Everything and everyone was covered in a relentless film of sullen brown dirt.  Nicaragua is poorer than Mexico, yet the cars are sparkly clean.  The only dirty brown things on the road are horse-drawn carts, of which they are quite a few. 

When we got off the plane, they handed us a form to fill out about our health.  I could understand the questions about fever and persistant cough, but the last one really threw me: In the Last 10 Days, Have You Experianced: Decay.  Decay? I was so tired and such a raving hypocondriac that I spent several minutes wondering if I had been decaying in the past 10 days. 

My living quarters are perfectly adequate - a bed, a shower, a toilet.  The only thing it doesn't have is a mirror.  I never thought to bring one of those.  I guess I took it for granted that there is just a mirror over every bathroom sink.  Not so!  Perhaps I should look into purchasing one, or I will not know what I look like for the next six months.  Or maybe I don't want to know...

Today I did laundry, not because I really needed to, but because I needed something to do that wasn't simply sitting around smiling inanely.  I feel that my smiling suggests friendliness, or at least non-threateningness, or possibly mild concussion.  I would talk to accomplish the same thing, but then that encourages people to talk back to me, and I don't know what they're saying.  Oh yeah, did I mention no one here speaks English?  But back to the laundry.  I did it by hand.  It was very Little House on the Prairie and I would have felt really accomplished if only I had the foggiest idea how to do laundry by hand.  I fear the next six months are going to involve quite a lot of me wearing dirty or possibly soapy clothes.  At least I will until I learn enough Spanish to ask how.

Well, that pretty much sums up my first 24 hours in Managua.  I'm going outside to watch the rooster bully the chickens. It's very amusing.


Mrs. Wallace January 22, 2011 at 1:00:00 PM MST  

The rooster/chicken event sounds fun!

Handwashing - less soap than you think you need. soapy water. soak clothes. scrub. drain water. refill water. swish clothes. drain water and repeat until you feel like the clothes aren't soapy any more. :-) ring out water. hang to dry. The way I prefer to do it though? Hire someone else to beat my clothes against a rock :-)

Maeve's Momma January 22, 2011 at 1:52:00 PM MST  

So glad you're there and survived the trip! I think they make cheapie locker mirrors we could send you. Did you get the $$ we donated?

Bonnie January 23, 2011 at 4:29:00 AM MST  

those chickens need to gang up on that bully roster !

cock a doodle do

Kath January 23, 2011 at 9:32:00 AM MST  

Hooray you made it!!!! My 2 best friends when I was facing the same "if I open my mouth they will talk back to me" dilema were 1) my Spanish/English pocket dictionary which I carried always. It bought time while I looked up the word I was struggling to understand, and it showed people that I WAS trying. 2) the phrase "mas despacio por favor" Please refer to the above reasons! Looking forward already to future updates!

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A brand new mom trying to navigate the crazy world of mixed families, babies, and working full time. Phew! Just writing that makes me want to lie down.


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