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Current Location: Apartment, San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

12.20.10

Price of beer in a bar: US$1.85/liter.  Because it’s high season, a bunch of shacks opened up along the beach, each with an awning and a few tables and chairs.  Each of them sells cold liters for US$1.85, making it the cheapest beer on the beach.
Song currently stuck in my head: Tucked In (Girls Against Boys)

I just realized it’s only 5 days until Christmas. I promised The Girlfriend I’d make a pineapple crumble by then; guess I should scout some ingredients. We decided to stay in SJDS for a while longer. Our intent was to head on to Granada for a month, then return to SJDS to meet up with some visiting friends. However Granada over xmas seemed like an unnecessary and fruitless hassle; prices would be higher, throwing off our records and apartments would be harder to find, likely downgrading our comfort. Since we already had a place here we decided to spend the holidays with the devil we know. Prices are creeping up here as Nicaraguans flock to the beach to enjoy their vacations, demonstrating that the opportunism of tourist price gouging sees no color. So far it’s nothing drastic though; a few extra Cordobas on 2 liter of juice flavored drink, for example, but thankfully our rent stayed the same (US$300 + Cable US$12 + Water US$8). We’re now involved in a bit of a dispute over our electric bill, though, which is right around US$165 for no apparent reason. Our neighbors, by comparison, who lead a similar lifestyle in a nearly identical unit of the same building, ran up a bill of US$7. They say even their restaurant in town only costs around US$100/month to power. Our landlord seems to be attempting to resolve this, but I can’t understand most of what she’s saying because she speaks Spanish. Getting fucked over on a utility bill is almost a right of passage among expats; often a landlord will rent you an apartment that they know has a huge outstanding electric bill. If the electric is your responsibility, then the only way you’ll get the power turned on is by paying the balance… and once you find this out you’ve already paid rent and the landlord isn’t real interested in offering a refund; buyer beware and all.

Luckily this isn’t our situation; I made sure that we didn’t have to manage the power (it was already on and in the landlords name) and the landlord seems to be on our side of this, for the moment at least. She showed up with the bill asking us to pay and when we pointed out that we couldn’t have run up that bill and never used AC, she said something akin to “Oh, then there is a mistake” and “I have to write a card to the electric company” and “Spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish .” I tried to find some white people, but our neighbors weren’t home.

I really need to learn this language. Spanish and I were having a lot of fun in Esteli, but now I keep running into English and I can’t help but remember all the time we spent together. Those were good, articulate years we had and I know we’ll always remain close. I’m hoping to meet up with Spanish in Leon (Nicaragua) or Panama and reconnect; I really hope we can make up for lost time together.

So we’re signed on for another 30 days of San Juan Del Sur. I’ll be keeping cost of living data for the entire span and then posting the two months separately with some analysis when this month is completed. Our intent is to cook much more this time around and we initiated the month by stocking the fridge with dry goods, produce and 2.5 pounds of whole fresh tuna (US$0.83/pound).

Speaking of cost of living, we brought last month in at US$938 for 30 days, including rent but excluding surfing trips and the yet unsettled electric bill. We excluded surfing because our current costs are unlikely to reflect our costs if we took up the sport more permanently; boards would be purchased rather than rented, transportation would probably work differently, etc. Sampling surfing looks way different on a budget than being an avid surfer.

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One Response to “Current Location: Apartment, San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua”

  1. Lorraine Says:

    I hope you and Spanish can work things out… She can be so fickle


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