New blood

This site desperately needs younger people with new perspectives and new approaches to life in Nicaragua. It has become an old folks home of a small handful of cranks who haven´t had a new idea in years.

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Reminds me of the proverb

"Little things please little minds"... to which one of the small minded will retort;

"While bigger fools look on"

Sad reality is that we have all been in one camp or another.

Its a dead horse, has been for a long time. At least since the owner lost interest in Nicaragua, since Nica Real left, since they stopped moderating, since they failed to cut out the cancerous growths...

Yep, "This parrot is dead!"

By the way Mike, when was the last time you boosted the site with a Pulitzer post?

You either want something or you are too rude to even respond too.

I'd like to think I always offered a little intellect.

If we moderated

If we moderated everything unrelated to Nicaragua, there would be no posts.

Or different posts

How many reads did these latest off-topic posts get?

Rebecca Brown

That would be great

That would be great if you always posted about living there - very popular. Unfortunately, the rest of the time you're one of the cancerous growths.

I check the number of reads of posts I start

Probably the best solution for me would be to start my own "Yet Another Expat Blog" so I'd have some control over the commentariat and control my own copyrights. I'm getting up to 15,000 hits here on my blog posts. KWP's pig did less well than my fish.

The one very smart thing that the other site did was bar discussions of US politics in the main groups and the other smart thing they did was to have kill files.

If you and fyl didn't poke KWP, things would be quieter, so you, too, are part of the problem in the true Pot calling the Kettle Black way of making things chaotic on line.

Rebecca Brown

"... and control my own copyrights"

It's stuff like this that I find particularly irritating. We discussed the copyright issue here (that is, you and I) because you thought you didn't control your own copyrights. You do as I explained here and then went on to post the information at so, hopefully, everyone would understand.

Then you toss in this jab of mis-information. What then happens is someone else reads it and thinks it is true.

Maybe we need a special forum for mis-information.

Hey sball, I don't blame you...

You hardly volunteered for the job and your moral character is not to quit.

Lately even you have been drawn into debate more often than not by JohnS, KWP etc.

I assumed life on NL was boring for you too and you obviously knew the political subject matter as much or more than you do Nicaragua

Over the years I have checked my readership on the juicy, informative legislation type of posts and they are nowhere near the activity level of the sandbox stuff I get dragged into (and sometimes initiate just because).


Submitted by Juanno - Lately even you have been drawn into debate more often than not by JohnS, KWP etc.
Get a grip on reality!
It has been the "Blue Pigs *choice* to stick her opinion into these "debates" primarily responding to the "Fat Cat Pig" to support her friend the "Pink Pig" (to put it nicely).
NO ONE drew her in. Why not - She will prove them wrong because she he read somewhere...

[oink, oink]

Yeah, I wondered about that comment too and I wasn't "supporting" anyone.

You've got that right

It can be boring. You know, people come here to see what life is like in Nicaragua and it's amazing what tiny little inconsequential details will interest them, things that don't excite you once you have been there for awhile but that everyone that lives there could talk about, but don't. We get some of the best posts from newcomers.

After they move there, their interests change and they have all kinds of questions and get answers, but that's when you get friends and neighbours who help you settle in. After that, well, that's what we have now, just because.


There are some expat blogs and sites that have been on-going for years and which manage to be more sophisticated about long term life in their various countries than this site. It's possible to get beyond the superficial exoticism and write well about what it's like to have lived in a different culture five years or eight years and more.

Rebecca Brown

So prove it

I'm telling you what I see here, on this 10 year old site.


"By the way Mike, when was the last time you boosted the site with a Pulitzer post? You either want something or you are too rude to even respond too."

Yeah, well, call me selfish .. I used to ask questions here when I wanted info. And when people shared info with me I made point of thanking them.

Why bother anymore when I get much more useful info by asking the same questions on the facebook page Expats in Nicaragua, since it now has a much broader and wider base of immigrants to Nicaragua?

As for being rude ... this comment was made by Juanno.

I used to weigh in here a lot to add info or share what I could about my perceptions of life here, as quirky as they are, or to start debates about life here around issues that I thought were important or interesting. This site used to be the leading edge for those types of discussions.

The FB sites are a third to half women

This site repels women by the way some of the men have reacted to the few women who show up. Saner or less stubborn women go away. I am, in fact, not planning to follow this to the next site.

Expats in Nicaragua is full of people selling real estate, but there are alternatives to that. And sometimes, asking a Nicaraguan works better than asking someone who did the procedure five years earlier.

What I'm doing is reading expat blogs from a range of countries -- and find that the problems are common -- too many people thinking these countries will be like Akron, Ohio, only with palm trees and cheap houses with all the modern conveniences and big back yards. Too many people sold on investing in Central America by International Living. People either integrate with some Nicaraguan culture or they crave more expats to hang out with (and sometimes, they do a little of both).

Not all expats are worth spending time with just because they're English-speakers. If you'd have avoided them in the US, it's a good idea to avoid them here.

Rebecca Brown

I doubt that people stopped moving to or visiting Nicaragua

So where did they go? Why *aren't* they coming to NicaLiving anymore as a permanent home?


"So where did they go? Why *aren't* they coming to NicaLiving anymore as a permanent home?"

Apparently they are going to facebook.

What are we offering people who want info about Nicaragua? The majority of recent threads have nothing to do with life here. Here is an example of a recent thread. Do a search for the word Nicaragua in it and see how many hits you get.

Fact is this site offers very litte of what they want.

Any successful business has to offer clients what they want or need.

Fyl controls an agenda that is only of interest to him and a small number of members. It is outdated and tired.

The facebook expat pages have this garbage beat hands down.

The folks coming down or looking to come down could care less about 90% of the crap fyl and his cronies post, in fact that's what they are trying to get away from...ugly Americans!!

Fyl thinks

Interesting observation considering fyl thinks 90% of what is posted here is useless crap -- up from probably 75% a few years ago.

One of the reasons for the move to A42 is an attempt to address this. We continually get stuff posted here that has nothing to do with Nicaragua. Sometimes an excuse is added to tie it to Nicaragua but it is really about somewhere else. (Some US-related posts can make sense because over 50% of NL readers are in the US. For example, contrasting how a particular thing works in the US vs. Nicaragua seems useful.)

Enter A42. While I don't expect to see it cover the world in my lifetime, it may become useful for people considering expatriation to somewhere in the Americas. Here are, as I see it, the pluses:

So, it's up to you. The tool is there. Unlike many expat sites (International Living being at the top of the list) we are not selling you on a destination so we can sell you land or whatever. What is out there is up to you. The difference is that at least some of the information that is totally off-topic here may fit there.

It will still come down to the lowest common demonimator

You and Key West on world affairs, Rebecca on Jinotega and an occasional Daddy Yo at least tying to keep it Nica.

The other site has the same problem. Its the curse of these types of sites...

Invite folks

I just want to point out that it is your job to both post useful stuff and invite people. A42 has a decent invite mechanism. Probably the best way to do invites in find an interesting photo in the Gallery and send a "post card".

And notice

And notice how the useful information, below, is tacked on to a topic called New Blood".

I Regularly Use

Nica Living nodes to pass on information -with the idea that someone will like the site and use it. I think a lot of people use the information that appears here, just maybe don't say "thank you" enough. I know one resident used my lawyer to buy property here, and then used a referral from her to get language training. There is probably more of that than we are aware of.

True, as Mike states, much of the recent posting preached to the opposing choirs. Snowden is probably of minimal interest to most.

Juanno posts very useful information, I hope that doesn't stop. His stuff you can take to the bank.

I'm trying to re-structure my accounting, hired a young woman who works as an accountant for a medical imaging firm in Estelí. I came here first, searching for Juanno's earlier posts about minimum wage, labor requirements. Campo is different from what she deals with in Estelí, and true of almost all Nicaraguans, they learn only what they have to in order to survive. She spends two hours on the bus every day, works a half day on Saturday (same two hours, really dumb), then takes care of a young child and demanding husband. On the plus side, I have every confidence that she WILL dig out the information she needs to do right by me.

We have little trouble here in the north, no delegates from the labor ministry department poking around,, looking to supplement their income, but that will undoubtedly change. Even though this might be a provocative statement to some who only see the best in Nicaragua government, it's still a fact of life that has to be anticipated. The reported problems seem to be in SJdS and Granada, that is after all, where most of the Gringos are.

ALL of my employees are happy campers, but as Gato Negro found out, that doesn't really mean anything. I've made the point many times, you don't get anything for helping here, you do it for yourself. Sister Teresa would be held up for a bribe if there was some i not dotted, some t not crossed in her hospice operation.

Going over my labor payments the accountant quickly pointed out that my foreman should be paid a seventh day, since he consistently works six, and that is Nicaraguan law. I don't know what we are going to do about the half day on Saturday: Jaido spends all day Saturday at UCATSE, from 8AM until 4:30. I pay him for the day, plus cover all his expenses.

In the campo, the guys work 7 hours, and get paid 8, comped an hour for lunch. There is almost no cash work in the campo, and what there is, is very sporadic. I try to fill out a week for eveyone,, although they really don't care. This is the first time any of them have had consistent money in their pockets. It's almost 100% disposable income. . . .

So, I should probably be paying him a premium for the other half of Jaido's Saturday, as well as paying him for Sunday. Lots of dis-inventives in Nicaragua . . .the obvious solution is to tell him that I can't pay him for Saturday anymore. Sadly, that's what I probably will have to do. I can still cover his monthly nut at the school; so far we haven't discovered any downside to that. We might be able to negotiate a contract, but the contract would still have to comply with Nicaraguan labor law. Safer to just tell him, he's on his own on Saturday, it's not a paid day. A disappointment for us both. Karen and I are still searching for a better solution ..

It does give one a bit of pause. . .. but if you are going to live here you have to play by their rules. You'll always be a target,, maybe not right now, but certainly in the future, as you gain visibility.

So, is this the informational post Mike is looking for? One other thing: we are all surprisingly busy with our lives here. It would be nice if we didn't have to re-invent the wheel of living here, and I'm certain the communities in SJdS and Granada talk among themselves,, sharing this information directly.

Nica Living made the move to Nicaragua more possible for me, provided a lot of answers. They weren't all 100%, but close enough to put me on the right track.

This is probably easier than you think

Like any country the laws here are general & will be vague for most specific situations:
Ministerio del Trabajo de Nicaragua MITRAB:
→ Documentos → Leyes → Ley No. 185 is the basic 1996 labor code, The newer leyes above include mods & additions.
A lot to read and interpret but the local departments essentially (within limits) fill in the details.
The "interpretations" in Managua vs SJDS (Rivas) were different for me but it was easy to work out a solution.
This is a GOOD & often referenced English summary of Ley 185:

Which minimum wage classification applies to your workers? They are not classical farm workers (you don't have a farm) but instead they have a range of tasks. The local department will probably be flexible and accept your reasonable choice if you ever get audited. If not you change then - These people are not out to get you unless you have a real problem.

One easy way to be OK is follow the standard legal process paying by the month like most everybody else instead of paying by the day and causing potential problems with your foreman & seventh day. The numbers will work out to be the same.
I would be suspect of any accountant that did not suggest that. Is there something else involved or is she inept or trying to milk you?

The legal work week is 6 days at 8 hours/day with Sunday off included in total pay which is essentially what you are doing now.
Scale your existing pay to fit monthly (legal minimum) & pay 1/2 that legal monthly wage bi-monthly or 1/4.33 wage weekly for laborers.
SJDS (Rivas) local dept allows you to scale lower hours part time to corresponding lower pay if everybody is happy with that to handle fewer work days/week. Part time workers are common and the obviously they have a way to handle that.
I don't see why it is necessary but you could go in to the local department (with your so called accountant???) and diplomatically submit your plan - That fits your repertoire of talents well. That is probably gonna work much better than you or your accountant asking and then getting an unacceptable answer which you then can not change.
Working with the man is one of the can't miss interesting experiences here that you would enjoy learning how things work and I bet it will be better than expected.

Very recently we had a Rivas labor board audit team here. 1st talked to manager/owner and looked at records. Then interviewed each employee in private with a whole range of questions.
They wanted employee contracts since there were more than 10 employees but they accepted that the 2 maintenance people did not count since thy worked for others occasionally too.
Was a piece of cake and not even free coffee or cokes were accepted - Don't know of that is good or bad.

INSS is a whole different subject & you are stuck with that too but you have a choice of several different cost/benefit plans. Here (Rivas) 20 hours/week or more is required to qualify for payments & benefits.
The rules are a lot simpler and again the local people have an effect on both the rules and "monthly income reporting". Don't know how it works if a few hours a week person like a domestic gets pregnant or worse injured on the job.

When you open your El Gato Negro del Norte Último you will have to deal with the DGI as well.

First Of All, Thank

you for responding to my concerns with solid information. Karen is new, part time, she keeps her day job and works for me part time. I realized that I was potentially getting in over my head, and setting myself up for future grief. I'm in this for the long haul..

We met today and are looking for some way to structure this so it meets requirements of the law, and still gives me the flexibility to help Jaido finish his education. His classification would be different than the other workers. Karen is going to make some calls and we are meeting again next Wednesday.

The farm workers would probably prefer NOT to work six days, and they have their own obligations. I'll get less time when the rains start in earnest. So, that works in my favor. The comp one hour for lunch was my idea, at the moment I have difficulty feeding anyone. I have three casual workers at the moment (mason and helper, and iron worker), but they have their own companies and give me invoices. I have the woman who cooks for the hotel in Venecia cook lunch for them, C$ 60 each. The rest of the farm guys are local, bring some food with them to break the day up, and then eat at the end of the day which is 2PM. Keeping them working is more a matter of supervision and direction, so if that's missing they may not have anything to do that day.

Dumb referred to the spending all the time on the bus on Saturday for a half-day. Just the way it is, there is very little work in Condega. Sinsa is now only open until 3PM on Saturday and closed on Sunday. Probably in response to Nica labor law ..

Butterfly is REALLY going to have to work at getting pregnant. She stopped by today on her way to her weekly Sunday English class; it's five hours long. Saturday she worked four hours scrubbing the dust off the solar panels -she gets the job because she's so light she can walk on the zin roof without damging it, cleaning the courtyard and street front. Every second weekend (corresponding to payday) she spends with her mother and sisters in Santa Teresa. Homework sucks a couple hours of Mon - Thur., and most days she gives me an hour or two, depending. I don't worry about her accusing me of sleeping with her, but her vagabundo father might. She never spends the night.

Karen agrees that my situation is nothing to worry about at the moment. My aggravation probably comes more from her pressing me for missing documentation. That, plus my inexperience in all of this.. Yaritsa: I need $15 for next month's English lessons. Karen: Get a receipt.

Yes, the Chat Noir will increase my problem set, but we have nothing up here like Gato Negro. It would be nice to have a meeting place in the north; there ARE people up here, I'm easy to find, and right off the Pan AM -- - "if I build it, I think they will come . . ."

Again, let me emphasize that the advice based on experience is really appreciated.

Way to go turning it all back to you...


"She spends two hours on the bus every day, works a half day on Saturday (same two hours, really dumb)"

No, not dumb, she didn't know about you and your "job farm".

Guys go to Managua from SJdS for one day of school - 5 hours on a bus. Is that Dumber?

What is this "paid a seventh day"? If he works six and you should give him Sunday off. 6 x 48 is the maximum regular work week.

COMP!!! Its the law to feed farm workers, that's one reason the salary is low. Its not an airline meal.

Why not pay Jaido for going to school? He's a better investment than the skinny butterfly who will get pregnant, accuse you of sleeping with her or run off with the local cattle rustler - or all 3!!

"6 x 48 is the maximum regular work week"

6 x 8 = 48 is what you meant.

Probably Easier . . .And

I should have some answers addressing specifics this Wednesday. I chatted with Jaido this morning about the double time problem, and he told me that he hasn't been charging me for Saturdays since he started going to school. So, it was a non-issue all along.

I can now focus on more important things, like getting Snowden rendered to Guantanamo.

"Butterfly" came by on her way to the dentist. That is one thing that is still a bargain in Nicaragua.. She's getting nine fillings (resina, be careful,, they still use amalgam here), and the teeth cleaned after it's all done, for well under $200. It's her first visit to a dentist .. . I gave her some advil after the last visit.

Choice of "Butterfly" is interesting, she had a pig called Mariposa that she took care of when I first met her. When the family was evicted from their campo caretaker position, they had to sell the pig. I usually call her Yari; Shelley always calls her Pincesa.

None of the students in Eddy's classes have ever had their vision checked, and that's the Marista school. Most have never been to a dentist.

Yaritsa pays the household bills now too, since Jaido is spending more and more of his time on the farm. I put the bill in an envelope with the cash, held to the refrigerator door with a magnetic clip, and she then drops the cancelado'd factura into the folder Karen set up for monthly bills.