Jinotega May 2014, four years after I was first here, mas o menos

Of the Nicaraguans I met the first year I was in Jinotega, I'm on cordial terms with all but one of them (the guy who robbed me). Of the gringos, maybe two. The social style here is something I'm comfortable with -- people are cautious with new people, especially with new gringos, and, on average, don't seem to like people who force themselves into other people's lives. Very much to my taste (I learned when I was a more active writer that people who want to instantly be in my life were more likely to be doing it for bragging rights and new writers were easier to con than more experienced writers), but not to many other gringo's tastes, apparently. I'm getting some weird pressure to write more, mostly by telling me about my new book where there isn't one and he and I know there isn't one.

It's also charming that a technical writer here is more like a stone mason, not an artist like a sculptor. Doing the art work is more esteemed than doing writing that's about how to operate things. I suspect there are all sorts of class reasons behind that, but I'll take the respect and avoid gringos who don't see it that way.

None of the people I've talked to about possibly living in Jinotega moved here. I think I'll leave them to Suzanne Wopperer in the future. I'm either rubbish at selling Nicaragua (I would hope -- it's not my country to sell) or Jinotega does tend to put off most gringos. Some of them have ideas about transforming it -- I'll see how the new restaurante and hotelito build by an American business man at the other end of the block does. Oklahoma barbecue. Wonderful job on the re-hab of the building. Los gringos always do the physical stuff well if they have the money. I'll see if the expats in Matagalpa and San Ramon support it or if going to a restaurant with deaf workers becomes a thing for middle class Jinoteganos. Not enough tourists and expats to support it here at this point. The place will be run by someone who ran a bar in the past and has been doing the heavy lifting with getting the place set up.

Yankees are fine people in their own homelands, but they tend to be obnoxiously intrusive in other places. There's a sense that they expect other places to be about them, and that here will be, as La Gringa in Honduras said, Akron, Ohio, only cheaper. Too many are looking for an investment, not a place to live, and too many of the ones who are looking for a place to live want a cheap house with a big back yard and space to run art classes for $150 to $250 tops, and somewhere in town. Bump that up to $400 and you can get a huge house here that's been recently rehabbed and which may or may not have a huge patio/backyard.

And quiet, which makes anyone who's been in Nicaragua for more than 24 hours laugh.

Jinotega, it's not about the gringos except as material for funny stories about how the gringos can't speak like intelligent adults and are looking for people to speak their language in a country whose official language is Spanish.

Talked to a Londoner who'd just been on the Corns and in Granada, and have read from other sources what he and a friend saw -- the better jobs go to white kids or expats and the tourists shop at the expat owned places. So, the tourism thing is about charging North American prices and paying Nicaraguan minimum wage to the help while bringing in inflation and stressing the food supplies (Jamaica is trying to get some Jamaicans back into farming because all the food there now is imported).

The other tourists at breakfast across the street this morning lived in Brooklyn and the woman was in the tourism business there. We both admitted that tourists were pretty obnoxious if they were your job as they were for her and as they had been for me.

So, I'm not going to be anyone's village explainer in the future. If they move here and aren't arrested their first couple years here and aren't hustling for people to invest with them, and if we have interests in common (and a blog doesn't make anyone my fellow writer so I'm a snob), then let's do coffee.

Done been burned on the Yankees shopping for Paradise, the people who can't see Nicaraguans as a range of people who just happen to live in the same governmental region (and some of those would like to change that), and the people desperate to have other English-speaking companions from their former cultural boxes.

Bye, y'all.

Rebecca Brown

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well stated

and keep the little fish happy--everybody needs a hobby!

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher