Current Location: Home with rented room, Esteli, Nicaragua


Price of beer in a bar: I saw a liter advertised for US$1.62 the other day, but I didn’t order it so I can’t say for sure that the price was accurate.

Song currently stuck in my head: You don’t want to know.

My attempts to rewire my language centers can be described, metaphorically, as akin to rewiring a breadboard with a cue ball.  We’re pounding words and sounds awkwardly into the grey mass but unyieldingly enough to guarantee, through simple probability, that occasionally enough connections string together in passing and a dim flicker of competence momentarily convinces my instructor that I’ve grasped the concept.  And I probably have, but damn that grasp is tenuous; fleeting.  My German, hard fought over 7 years of arduous, detested study and justified only by the truly shocking number of scholastic requirements I was able to fill with each semester of austrian-accented befuddlement, is starting to show through more often.  It’s as if my brain goes “For fuck’s sake, he wants foreign?  We’ve already got foreign.  Just send him what we have.”

But the modafinil goes a long way.  I’ve only taken it once for class, but I should have been taking it from day one; I was able to “comprehend” (I use the term loosely,  but consistently with my baseline) speaking speeds that would normally leave me in their verbal dust.  God I love living in the future.

The reason that I didn’t buy the liter of beer in the header was because the place had just opened for the day, which, here, means they’d just plugged in the refrigerator.   I bite my tongue every time I see this and I see it here a lot; the bars and restaurants unplug their beer refrigerators at closing time.  This is a cost saving measure that saves no cost; the power that you don’t spend keeping your beer cold at night you instead spend cooling it down when you open.  The beer here is kept in special large beer refrigerators with prominent digital thermometers on the front and the beer is usually right around freezing, god bless them.

Today I start my last week of Spanish classes while we debate where to set up shop next.  We’ve got a lot more Nicaragua in our future but a few constraints to navigate; you get 90 days of visa on a tourist stamp here in Nicaragua and you can get another 90 days by visiting an immigration office.  But after that 180 days you need to cross to Costa Rica (or fly elsewhere, but not to Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador) to reset your status.  Obviously that’s way easier to do if you’re near a Costa Rican border crossing.  Plus we have some visitors coming a few months from now,  so we’re best served hanging out around the pacific for a few more months before making our way to the considerably less accessible Caribbean coast.


2 Responses to “Current Location: Home with rented room, Esteli, Nicaragua”

  1. A L Says:

    I’ve started reading Jest again. It’s amazing how different of a read it is now that I’m more coherent and able to follow trains of thought into extrapolatorea.

    About beer cooling: here in Phoenix we face similar issues in cooling areas in the summer. I haven’t done the requisite thermodynamics calculations on used baby diapers but based on an aggregate measure (energy bill’s reported kW usage), supercooling a well-insulated area and then turning off the A/C during the heat of the afternoon does seem to use less energy than maintaining a constant temperature throughout the day. This is probably because the A/C unit needs to work harder though and thus, probably not applicable to your situation.

  2. cgearhart Says:

    Good point, since the refrigerator works less hard at night (due to cooler ambient temperatures), it might actually be more expensive to make up for lost cooling at noon when some of these places open. Esteli is cool enough that there wouldn’t be much of a difference, of course, but this is about theory damn it.

    I have a good electronic version of Jest if that’s your preferred medium these days. I just finished Oblivion a few weeks ago; parts of it were difficult to read given what came next.

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