Billy Bob's blog

Another day, another donut...

Yesterday morning I was working in the garden when I heard a neighbor lady calling to my wife. I went closer to the house and told her ``te busca`` and started back to the garden.

Next thing I heard was ``?tiene pistola?

I know the drill, so I gathered up the pea-shooter, the wife, and the cel phone and we headed to the neighbor`s house. Seems a muchacho with a machete entered another neighbor`s house and demanded money from the girl who was babysitting her 2 younger cousins.

Unsolicited advice for Eco-projects

Do the legwork-- almost anything you can dream up was probably tried by somebody else. Nicaragua is full of organic farms, eco-resorts, etc. Go visit them all. Pay for room and board, take their tours and pick their brains. See with your own eyes and read between the lines. You may find some of this stuff actually works!

How to nuts up your first trip to Nica

1. Rent a car in managua.

2. Bring your dog.

3. Bring print-film camera

4. Expect the trains to run on time.

5. Expect objectivity and factuality from English-language guidebooks

6. Bring travelers checks

7. Expect a cup of good hot coffee with your breakfast

8. Anticipate a good nights sleep.

9. Bring malaria pills to areas where tourists don`t get malaria.

10. Dress like the folks on Survivors.

11. Think that the east coast is a functional part of the country.

12. Think that ``Christianity, Socialism, and Solidarity`` has any real day-to-day meaning.

I went to the Post Office yesterday

I first dropped off my wife and son-in-law in town, taking our trash to dump at my wife`s job because tuesday is trash day there. According tio the Minsa contract, the city of Esteli is obligated to serve our neighborhood, but nobody has gone the route of carrying petitions and going back to the same office to say the same thing repetedly until the powers that be decide we aren`t going away so they might as well do what they should have done from the beginning.

Let's do Tisey

Tisey is one of the most accessible natural areas in the north, all thought the major guidebooks seem to confuse things more than they help. The main attractions are serviced by 2 all-season roads, one paved and one dirt. The road that connects these two in a nice loop is good most of the year, with only a few muddy spots that may develop in the worst part of the rainy season.

Thomas Belt book

Noticed yesterday that Belt's book A Naturalist in Nicaragua is available as a free download from Amazon. (you actually buy it for #0.00). It's designed for their kindle book reading machine, but if you don't have kindle you can download free software and read it on your pc. I originally download it from, but Amazon's is more readable as it comes without resaving in pdf or fooling with the fonts.

An interesting thought

passed through my mind the other day.

What would the United States be like if we had Al Sharpton for President and Tammy Faye Baker for First Lady?

How to build a cheap roof

In a recent post some one was asking for info on the cheapest roof, so I though I would add to my construction blog and throw out a little help.

First, you need to buy the zin. Get the thinnest stuff called “commercial” or “metric”. It costs half what the other stuff costs. But be sure to get it long enough that it hangs over the ends of the rafters by at least ½ meter. Flexing in the wind is good for the metal and the gentle sound will help you sleep, like that down-home feeling of roosters crowing at 4 AM the morning.

What is a Business?

Many people express an interest in starting businesses here in Nicaragua, so I thought I’d throw in a few ideas.

First the good news: the current laws, which more or less have been in force since at least Samoza’s time, are pro-business and give foreigners broad opportunities to participate. You need to seek out the specifics of the law, just as you do in immigration and real property pursuits, but you and or your lawyer can sort out the realities and quirks of Nicaraguan law and business processes. The laws and business practices may be annoyances, but not barricades.

Tropical Agriculture in the mountains

Recently someone posted a topic that included mentioning plans to study tropical agriculture before coming down to settle in the northern mountains, so I thought I would throw in some comments based on my limited experience of the past couple years.

What does it cost to build a house here?

This keeps coming up, so let me throw in some opinions.

First , my suggestions are of a house that a small family of middle income foreigners will be happy in for the long haul. Keep in mind that these comments are coming from someone who has spent most of his life living in houses of less than 1200 sf in average southwestern US neighborhoods. If you have lesser or higher standards, make your adjustments accordingly

Guidebooks to Nicaragua

Hands down, the best guide book to Nicaragua is La Guía de Nicaragua, 2nd Ed. C. 2006 by Echanove and Rabella, published by Hispamer. It is the all-around winner in terms of content, maps, few errors and typos, and the number of locations covered. A professionally done work whose only failing is that they don´t give you the nitty-gritty on some of the budget hotels, etc., like the other guides do. Good luck finding it. Try Hispamer in Managua or the Convent Museum gift shop in Granada.

Somoto Canyon Update

I visited Somoto Canyon 2 times in July of 2009. Much has changed since my first visit in late 2006. The canyon now has official status as a national monument , a management plan administered by the local Marena office, and numerous improvements geared to tourism.

Much of the information in the guide books and websites is misleading or vague, so I will try to give some practical advice on what’s there and how to visit it.

Mosquito-born Disease

I´ve lived in the north, Esteli, for 3 years. During that time I´ve run into zero cases of malaria. It exists here, as it exists in the southern US, but it is relatively rare

If you are traveling to low elevation areas of the country, especially the East Coast, you should take precautions. See the CDC website or its British equivalent to get info and scare yourself silly.

Caught in the act, sin vergueza

I didn’t mean to create any controversy or anything; it seemed harmless enough. But there I was, out in the open, nowhere to hide. Sure, there was a small building and some trees. From afar no one could really make out what I was doing, but from close-up there was nowhere to hide, not even a little bit. Caught, caught in the act, red handed, in front of God and everyone. Sin verguenza, as they say in these parts.

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