Current Location: Home with rented room, Esteli, Nicaragua


Price of beer in a bar: US$1.76 per liter.
Song currently stuck in my head: Halfway Home (TV on the Radio)

I’ve posted the full expense data for our month in Esteli (the summary is still forthcoming). Here are some of the highlights:

Total outlay for two people for 30 days, including rent and all cost-of-living expenses, excluding Spanish lessons: US$691.48

Average breakfast/lunch/dinner out, per person, in US$, excluding booze: 1.56/2.78/3.14

That brings Esteli in way lower than our previous two stops (Placencia and Utila); unsurprising but I’m still taken aback by just how cheap it is.

On the other hand, this town is kicking my ass. I’ve developed/awoken some type of allergy, which seems localized to specific rooms in the house. It only hits me a little elsewhere around town, but at home it’s a constant battle to keep my nasal passages unobstructed. The other day I suddenly developed a tingle/stinging in my heel. It came and went but was hard to recreate, as simple pressure wouldn’t do it. I had to graze the instep of my right heel against something to cause it to flair up. Odd. There were no indications of splinters or glass or anything similar (I was and often do wear sandals) and it passed after a couple of days. My digestive system has been remarkably cooperative all month, right up until yesterday when I developed diarrhea and a mild nausea with a complete lack of appetite (I haven’t eaten since breakfast yesterday and only feel a little hungry now, but I just got up so that might not be unusual). I don’t have the telltale headache that would indicate bonebreak (dengue), so I’ve got that going for me. I spoke at length with the woman who runs the house in which we’re staying; a Brit with 10 years in town. She warned about the dangers of parasites, amoebas, dengue, food poisoning and more but pointed out the medical care for these things here in town is excellent and you can have a stool sample analyzed for 50 Cords (US$2.31) that will give you a pretty comprehensive rundown of any unwanted passengers in the gut.

She also said that her daughter, maybe 2 or 3 years old, has had giardia, the prospect of which terrifies most trekkers that I know, multiple times already. But then, she puts her fingers into everything, including, intermittently, her mouth. I have a friend who was suffering from giardia and incorrectly diagnosed with AIDS, but in the 90s when testing wasn’t anywhere what it is now and AIDS was a death sentence. He wallowed around bedridden for weeks (months?) before a proper diagnosis was made; from that point it was a simple regime of antibiotics for a few days. If House had been on 15 years ago this would have been one of their plotlines.

But take heart: most of the issues I’ve mentioned are largely avoidable here, at least for city dwellers like us. Keep in mind we’re surrounded by rural landscape and poverty, where clean water is a relative term and diseases thrive amongst the livestock and wild animals. Here in town, the water system is chlorinated (and probably more) and proper hygiene is easy to achieve if you can control your household roach population. The street food has never caused us any issue and has an excellent reputation throughout town. My best guess is that I have a mild (relative to my experiences) case of travelers diarrhea and an unfortunate allergy, acting in concert.

I’m overdue for both a medical checkup and a dental cleaning; I had intended to do both in Costa Rica or Panama, but we’re going to be in Nicaragua long enough that I don’t want to wait that long. I’ll probably look for some recommendations in Gringolandio (Granada) and work from there.


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

  1. Marina Says:

    Sorry to hear about your illness(es). Can you find some probiotics?? Works wonders! Take care!!

  2. In Nica Now Says:

    We are living in Leon, Nicaragua right now but are considering going to Esteli to escape the heat of April. Can you give us some information regarding the place that you stayed. Do you have contact information for it?

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