Carta de Nicaragua 4: Along came a scorpion… or four!

First contact

Call me (at a reasonable hour)!

Whoohoo! or Whoop! Whoop! (woop-woop where there’s limited space). I believe this occurred when I turned my back on the modern world. I have a mobile phone for Nicaragua. So far I’ve had one international call from a woman in the London 2012 Games Maker office at 630am – the night after the Halloween party that I’d *popped* to. What I mean is, I hadn’t intended to stay very long but once I got my hands on the rum and cola, one drink led to another and I don’t remember what time I got home. But, that I was very loud and woke up my flatmate (oh dear). Anyway, the London 2012 woman rang asking me where Nicaragua was. There seemed to be no mention of the half a dozen emails I’d sent explaining the time difference or my geographical location. Next time I’ll send her a Google map, a Wikipedia link and a calculator: 12-6= too blinkin’ early!

All rise for Her Royal Highness
To say Lady Lynda of Nicaragua is a bit of a celebrity would be an understatement. I’ve adopted a philosophical approach to this: when people look I smile and wave. You should see their faces it’s like the Queen said “Wasssap” or something. It works a treat. I think Nicas really appreciate it because a lot of tourists are a little aggressive or reserved. Since my arrival I think the United Nations has put out some kind of international publicity notice because the number of people my colour this side of Nicaragua has quintupled. Three people – suspected to be from Africa – nearly fell over themselves looking at me recently and

Eric Cantona? An admirer? No, Edgar el Sandinista y revolucionario

a revolutionary-firewater-drinking Sandinista seemed to take a shine to me (requires a whole new episode of its own). He’ll have to take his place behind Wilson Chilson (carta no. 3) and the waiter who said I was the most beautiful woman to have arrived from Great Britain to be visiting Nicaragua.

Supermarket sweep

If it's not on the list should it be in the shopping trolley? (ermmm...)

I love a good supermarket shop. Even when I was at university I shopped like someone who had a family of 30 hungry children. Nothing has changed. I thought I’d be able to curb this in Nicaragua – that is until I discovered the Nica equivalent of Waitrose and Sainsbury’s side-by-side and a 20-minute walk out of Granada. To say I was palpitating and hyperventilating would only be a minor exaggeration. I believe the excessive air conditioning alleviated the sweating.

One each - we couldn't possibly share, could we?

People will probably laugh when I say they have things like olive oil, balsamic vinegar and red wine but these items cost an arm and a leg. I felt really bad picking up a 250ml bottle of olive oil for about $4 when a Nicaraguan woman next to me looked longingly and then opted for the standard oil which is a mix of palm oil, soya, ‘perhaps’ sunflower oil and is also refined and goodness knows what else.

The days of the scorpions
As I write this I’ve just killed a tiny scorpion that was climbing up the wall outside my mosquito net (botella‘d). However, it’s best to go back to the very beginning of this tale. It was the night/early hours of the morning when I was just about to publish my first Nica blog and the page went blank and I lost more than 50% of what I’d done because even though I’d been saving the drafts they hadn’t been updating. This probably explained why I didn’t scream when I saw what I thought was a mincing beetle scuttle across the floor. On close inspection I noticed a tail. I took my flip-flop to it. Blam!

The mother of all three scorpions? Picture: Ana Serrano, Granada, Nicaragua, October 2011

It was zapato’d”. The next day when I got out the shower I saw what I thought was a reddish-coloured spider winking at me. Yes, winking. Again I put my beedy eyes closer and noticed it was a scorpion. This time I got out the Baygon and was nearly a gonna myself. The creature was quite literally blown away by the force of the spray whether it died or whether the thing I just killed was said alacrán returning, I’ll never know. What I do know is my flatmates were a little dubious that it was a scorpion until my housemate, Ana, flew from her room after spotting the mother of scorpions in the corner of her roof (she doesn’t really have a ceiling). Several gallons of Baygon later and a mashing with the broom and the beast of alacrán was quite literally in pieces. It seems that what I killed were babies. (As I go to press a scorpion has just crawled across Teresa’s bed – moments after I tried to reinforce the importance of a mosquito net!)

I do ron, ron

The end result

On its way ... hic!

One has to improvise. Wine is too expensive. Red wine cost about $17. Therefore, I’m using Flor de Caña (ron) in my cooking. It’s working a treat. So far: ron salsa with enough leftover rum to calm my bug-stressed nerves.

Bull in a china shop
My sign is that of the toro – Taurus. That I weighed so little at birth probably has a lot to do with my obsession with overloading my bag – it’s some kind of reverse psychology. On a visit to Masaya, which is about a 30-minute bus ride from Granada, my bag was full before I even thought about shopping. I’m a just-in-case kind of person: the sudden heatwave, the torrential downpour, the mosquito invasion, something might happen that requires an item in my bag and so I must come prepared for all eventualities – including water should there be a drought (in a country that has had some of the worst torrential rains in the region and has more lakes than you can shake a stick at).

Not broken enough - it's still doubles up as a whistle!

On this particular occasion I was in a market stall shop with what I can only describe as the most hideous pottery when – crash – my rucksack decided that it too disliked the objects of non-art. I had to pay for all the broken items. I asked if I could pay half but they refused so I had to hand over 140 córdobas/pesos. I didn’t have the correct money so gave them 200 pesos. They returned my change in one-peso coins! And to cap it all, they gave me one of the items which hadn’t completely broken and even demonstrated that it still worked as a whistle or flute or something.

Lock and barrel – return of the Mincing Cerrajero
A bit like Chicago Jim, I suspect my flatmates thought the Mincing Cerrajero was a figment of my imagination – that is until the lock broke while I was away for the weekend. That this happened while I was away is probably where things went wrong. When I got back I struggled to lock the door. My flatmate Ana told me I had to be gentle, so a couple of days later I started a new mantra “tranquilo, suavecito” I didn’t even finish saying suavecito when the lock came away in my hand with the key in it.

Honestly, the lock came away in my hand with the key - no pressure!

When Daniel arrived I got carried away and gave him two kisses instead of the Latino single mwah! His entrance was with even more dramatic than the first time I met him. He’d been robbed of his rucksack – fortunately not the faux-Gucci/Louis Vuitton (insert designer handbag name here) in which he keeps his tools (it’s a bit dirty and I didn’t want to stare too much so details of the exact faux-ness are sketchy). He told the story with such flare that a Bafta or an Olivier Award should be the least he should get. A night out with Daniel is on my things-to-do-in-Nica list.

Next time …
A revolutionary election special including: at home in Matagalpa – the bedrock of the Sandinistas, Mr Revolution and … the EU election monitor worried about the welfare of chicken at Nicaragua’s fast-food restaurant chain, Tip-Top.

                                                                                    To be continued…


About lyndacuba

"Who am I? Why am I here? You're asking, I'm asking. Tired of all the moaning around me, tired of waiting for something to happen, I decided that I couldn't just let life pass me by. It occurred to me that if I could help a single person, that act could change the outcome of an entire community for the better. I want to matter. I want to make a difference. I've chosen Nicaragua." That was 2011 - this is 2018. I'm researching for a Doctorate of Education Creative and Media aka an Ed D. Those early questions are still as important in 2018 as they were in 2011. The Chicassos of 2017 now come with the BlackademicUK tag.
This entry was posted in Bikram yoga, Food and cooking, Nicaragua, Spanish, Travel, Yoga and spirituality and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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