It’s been a while since I wrote about how easy it is to travel abroad when given modern interpretations of signs, expressions, people, and the like. And given that most of my travel in 2016 was to Spanish-speaking countries—and no, I still don’t speak Spanish—you can imagine I had a very easy time getting around. How? It’s due to expressions and signs like these that made my life easier.
If you’re planning on going, or just want to catch up on the local lingo, here’s how to travel in Nicaragua:
“Express bus” [city edition] – A bus that can drive faster than you can walk, if your walking speed is measured in feet per hour, and that number does not exceed 500.
“Fan” – It is literally cooler to stand outside.
“Clean” – See that moving thing in the darkest corner of the bathroom closet? That’s no mop. That’s a mama cat and her 5 kittens you just discovered!
“Shared bathroom” – A bathroom that’s empty with the exception of 5:30 AM to 8:30 AM, when the sounds of the housekeeper splashing water and buckets around, the parrot squawking, the kittens mewing, and the whole family basically starting to party is only outweighed by the how-many-times-can-one-gag-per-minute-oh-that-many man.
“Wifi” – How can the connection be this good in such a seedy place? Literally, it is better than I get in ‘Murica, and I can’t even make a joke about it disconnecting. I’m pretty sure certain jail cells are nicer than the room I’m in in this seedy part of Managua, but this wifi is spectacular.
“Hop-on, hop-off bus” – There’s no need to even use leg muscles to hop if you go around a good turn.
“Volcano” – I seem to have been in many volcano-infested lands lately (Indonesia, Chile, Hawaii, Mexico), but here in Nicaragua you can literally drive your car to the top of one, walk 10 feet, and stare right down into a gaping hole of spewing orange lava and sulphuric smoke. What an awesome liability waiting to happen! [Taken on my cell phone just to show how close you can get]
“Non-exclusive bus/taxi” – I hope you love butts and body odor.
“Did you hear the monkeys howling?” – No, because at 4:45 AM every morning, of COURSE I expect to hear a sound that can only be described as a dinosaur roar, dog bark, and woman being murdered scream all rolled into one, right outside my door! Completely not jarring. Oh, it’s kind of close.
“Express bus” [countryside edition] – Driving in the other lane, i.e. the lane with oncoming traffic, until said oncoming traffic is seen approaching and is within 50 feet. Hello again, India!
“Luggage” – This woman’s live chicken, which she carried next to me, squawking, in her hand throughout boarding the ferry, the hour-long ferry trip, and then the 2.5-hour-long bus trip after that.
“Breakfast” – Rice and beans, fried plantains, and fried egg, drizzled with cheese
“Lunch” – Rice and beans, fried plantains, and fried cheese
“Dinner” – Rice, beans, fried plantains, and fried cheese
“Monkey who just ate something sour” – this (photo)
One day I’ll do a 2016 recap, but let’s be honest: That probably won’t happen until July. I’m hoping to travel soon, but until then, ta-ta!