Nicaragua: Interpretations

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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!

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“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.

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“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]

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“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.

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“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.

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“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)

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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!

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I’m in Nicaragua! And…

…I have no time! No time, and very little internet, and (as usual) no desire to spend my time here online. But I’ve been taking notes and PROMISE a real entry soon.

In the meantime, here’s an absolutely adorable photo of two sisters in Nicaragua who hugged each other for a photo I shot for a nonprofit. Too darn cute!

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On This Day (A Look Back)

I thought it would be interesting to go back in time, little by little, and see how the past few years have been when looking back. It’s always so fun slash bittersweet when Facebook pops up your “On This Day” memory and it’s something that makes you smile, get hungry, or have gas. Well, I thought, what if I look back on this exact date and see what I was doing all those months and years ago?

Mistake #1: If you decide to do this, don’t pick a date in between the 28th and the 31st. There are quite a few months without 31 in them, and this caused for worldwide chaos and confusion. Not to be stymied, I just chose a photo from the last day of that particular corresponding month. Leap years cannot be accounted for. And yes, I actually did a search schlep through several hard drives and chats to find these.

Mitake #2: Don’t be ridiculous. I’ve never made more than one mistake in my life.

So here goes a rough date map of what I was doing on this day throughout my recent life.

 

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1 month ago (7/31/16): Doing set photography for a short comedy starring Jennifer Westfeldt and Noah Bean. I happen to know the writer and director very, very well.

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2 months ago (6/30/16): Running over lava to see the new flow (61G) the night it “opened” in Kalapana, Big Island, Hawaii. So incredibly worth it.

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3 months ago (5/31/16): I had some fuzzy photo someone took of a Vietnamese rice wrapper wrap I made. I think this day is what started my current addiction.

4 months ago (4/30/16): Editing photos, otherwise known as sitting and staring at a computer for days on end.

5 months ago (3/31/16): In the Caribbean taking a morning snorkel before work starts.

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6 months ago (02/29/16): In Argentina spotting wild ostriches (actually rheas, similar to the ostrich and emu).

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1 year ago (08/31/15): In Indonesia, exploring rice fields.

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2 years ago (08/31/14): In bed feeling queasy after eating too much at my friend’s rooftop party in Harlem. Still sick.

3 years ago (08/31/13): Laying sick in bed. I think I even quit dreaming of food at this point, which tells you how sick I was.

4 years ago (08/31/12): Sick in bed with mono, soon to be actually diagnosed as Return of the Lyme.

5 years ago (08/31/11): Diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Oh, the joys that are about to come!

8 years ago (08/31/08): Recovering in Brooklyn from the previous night’s falafel eating contest. I did not place, though I finished my plate in not last place. Coincidentally, my display of passion for food is also how I landed my first food photography gig.

10 years ago (08/31/06): Wondering what the heck I should do with my life. Heck, I’m still wondering that. I think I was on a hike in the Northeast with my fam.

Decades ago (08/31/??): My parents are pregretting having me.

Centuries ago: We can surmise, but why? We all know that Christopher Columbus was a hero.

All right, I’m drained, not feeling great (yeah, I get sick again every once in a while but luckily only feel nausea today), and have more editing to do. The good news is that September starts tomorrow, and though I’ve been enjoying summer, this coming month is going to be very exciting and full of work and travel. So here goes!

 

Our Road Trip in Patagonia: The Film is Here!

After nearly a month road tripping through Chile and Argentina, our video is finished! Dreamed up by Didier Van Bellinghen of Belgium, the film documents our adventures through Patagonia via our Wicked van rentals, Couchsurfing, and the 10 of us who met up for our epic adventure.

I shot b-roll and photos for the film, which was excellently edited by Didier (www.Picture-Perfect.be). And though it makes us look more on the serious side, rest assured that we were laughing, crocheting, hiking, poking fun at each other, overeating, cooking, sleeping in crazy locations, meeting strangers, camping beside glaciers, and more together over the weeks. We all became great friends, and I’m so proud of this little film!

Filmed February-March 2016 from Santiago, Chile to El Calafate, Argentina, down to Punta Arenas in Chile and everywhere in between!