Daddy-YO's blog

Fear of physical violence

In our discussions on the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, I mentioned the current stat, that there "a person is murdered every 21 minutes." (Wiki, "Venezuela is among the most violent places on Earth.")

You, reader, probably don't fear physical violence everyday - unless you live in a bad area, where rents are dirt cheap, or are homeless (with i-Pad?).

Nicaragua is pretty safe, with its female-led police force and its growing abundance that doesn't just trickle down to the poor, but is being shoved their way, politically.

Economic growth, a personal perspective

When I first visited & fell in love in Nicaragua, I didn't know who was president, nor did I care to know. Love conquers all, they say. Before my second trip back, with Daniel & the FSLN elected, my sweetheart asked me if I was allowed to return - sure, why not?

An observation from the southern isthymus, America's waist-land

The Drug War has taken a detour. The tough pros from two US cities where it´s OK to smoke pot will bash heads in the Jersey grasslands this weekend.

Do they realize that that marshland stuff ain't the kind of grass that'll allow them to out-psyche their opponents, to fly beyond normal stratagems?

Will the gov, Cris Christie, be smoking in the stands (medical marijuana is legal in Jersey, and God knows he's stressed for having (burned) closed one too many bridges?

Tune in, turn on . . . ob-la-di ob-la-da, life goes on . . . in Nicaragua

An adventuresome failure

OK, it was an experiment. 'Twas time for me to re-up my Nica tourist visa. I had read here on NL last year that someone had gotten a fresh 90-day Nica visa on returning from a quick trip to Honduras. In fairness, it was questioned. I too doubted it since HO & Nic are members of the CA-4, for the purposes of trade & migration. Still, since Costa Rica has been raising its entry barrier to Nicaraguans & other foreigners, I thought it worth the gamble.

mental drippings from the end of 2013

The cassette tape still played OK. It was recorded nigh on 24 years ago, the whole album, directly off the FM. WETS - E.T. State University radio, without commercial or editorial interruption. Kris Kristofferson's "Third World Warrior." Kris(squared) was an item then, a star in what seemed, relatively, more 'liberal' times. 'Entertainment' shocked us with 'news'; there were books & movies about Nicaragua & the Sandinistas, Allende's Chile, El Salvador, Honduras and, of course, America's C.I.A., the central mover & shaker.

Our three day sojourn to the mountains

It was pleasantly chilly, jacket weather at nite, with a rare cloud burst breaking up bright sunny days. Matagalpa is pretty big with an active few blocks of holiday shoppers downtown between two garden parks. There are a couple nice nite spots and some good, inexpensive hotels. Our place had a spectacular 360-rooftop-view of this city nestled in the mountains. I highly recommend it, el Hotel Mana del Cielo. Very neat, clean & bright rooms, with wi-fi, TV & hot shower; a double was $32. All hotels charge per person; kids cost.

Baby Shower

T'was Saturday night, the mini-super fiesta. The invitations (colored fotocopies on nice paper, stuffed in baby blue envelopes) said it'd start at 6PM. A little after 7 the first few came in - that's just being courteous in Nicaragua, not to arrive before at least an hour after the stated start time. Twenty tables (solidly made fold-ups) + 80 chairs (white plastic generics) were rented for the event. The crew set all up that afternoon, with fitted white, embroidered tablecloths + blue overcloths. Each double-table had a baby-happy-floral centerpiece made by a friend in Telica.

another baby's coming

In only 3 days time we'll have a big baby shower here. My wife's younger sister is due to give birth to a boy baby 5 Dec; it was set for 20 Dec, but at her last examination, the doctor upped the date. Some 54 invitations went out, but three times that number of people are expected. This last week she & the girls made party favors, blue baby 'booties' with cray paper and ribbon and plastic faux-safety pins, terminal cutesy stuff, each with his name-to-be Ethan Emanuel M.L. carefully lettered on ribbon.

A half-century ago seems like yesterday

Kennedy was the only Catholic president America has ever elected. By virtue of his religion and his young family, glamorous wife & kids, there was an immediate & real connection with Latin Americans. A tie more meaningful than any stated 'Good Neighbor' policy (under which FDR supported 'our SOB' Somoza) or a unilateral (Monroe) doctrine. JFK founded Peace Corps, a radical idea for person-to-ordinary-person diplomacy. I served a hitch in Ecuador, where I first learned Spanish.

Upon returning

Back in Leon, jodido, sweating off all that cheap junk I ate Stateside. Tiptoeing around the usual sidewalk pitfalls (Can sidewalks have potholes?) on my way downtown to milk the money machine and pop into a cyber with my solid state memory to cut & paste all the news that's fit to read, as they say, later, I notice two major changes. That's not counting the 2 or 3 new fruit smoothie (liquados, batidos, granitos) spots. (They may be 70% ice, but it sure hits the spot in the heat. Beware of brain-freeze!)

"The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."

It's carved in stone near the Capital building in Wash, DC. Sure it means be on the lookout for what your enemies are up to, and be prepared. But is everyone America's enemy? I interpret it to support our once-upon-a-time system of checks & balances. Watch, look, think of what those in power over you are doing. Otherwise be ready to give up your freedoms, in particular, your freedom from tyranny. Afterall, that's why the New World colonists revolted against England, and later Spain & Portugal. Is it now too late?

We visited Chinandega

They were on my case to go someplace, see something new. The fam. So the six of us cleaned up and went to get a taxi. The taxistas' coop in Leon, jodido, have us by the short hairs - they want & get 20 cords per - even for a short trip. I would have walked if I were on my own, but with mother-in-law and a 4-year-old in tow, I didn't have much choice. (My precious butterball of a wife could have benefited from the hike too, but ...). I dickered the driver to 70, so OK.

Me and Claro

Claro texts me: "Hoy solo en ... Supermercados LA COLONIA TRIPLICAS tus recargas de C$20 o mas" OK, but there's no LA COLONIA in León, jodido. We have La Union (& Pali + Maxi-Pali) & Salman supermarkets. Now many customers buy their cell phone usage minutes at the check-out registers, after passing groceries over bloody laser-readers & scales. It's aggrevating waiting in line while the clerk dials up the codes on the store's cell phone and writes down the transaction on a sheet.

Gracias a Dios

It's commonly enough said in Nicaragua. Buenos dias ¿Como amaneciste? [How ya doin'? (Literally, how'd you wake?)] And the stock reply: Bien, gracias a Dios.

Up with the Wal

An article "The Bribery Aisle: How Wal-Mart Got Its Way in Mexico" appeared in the NY Times Dec 18, 2012. It's chocked full of examples of grimy 'corruption'. Yet I still admire Wal-Mart's growth model & service to the people of Latin America. We're all too young to know what it took to build our birth country (whereever); most histories simply don't tell the whole story. Payoffs, bribes, are prevalent where laws &/or their enforcement are weak, if & only if someone with the wherewithall wants to get a job done, to build something, to accomplish anything of scale.

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