Current location: Dining room of rental casa, Granada, Nicaragua
Price of beer in a bar: US$0.68 for 12 ounces of Tona
Song currently stuck in my head: How Deep is Your Love (Bee Gees)
The house across the street plays a lot of music in English, from “The Sound of Silence” to the aforementioned “How Deep is Your Love”, a double entendre shameless enough to sit comfortably in the pantheon amongst favorites such as “Cracked Rear View” and, my personal favorite, “Turn Your Love Around”. My favorite song to tell people is a double entendre but is (as far as I know) not is “Brown Eyed Girl.” I’ve ruined many a stranger’s pleasant associations with that one. Serves them right for not skipping directly to Moondance.
We’re about one week on in Granada, long enough to have sampled the local rotisserie chicken (*so* good, US$4.77 for a whole bird with salad and tortillas), step over some of the unconscious, glue sniffing youths (harmless to everyone but themselves, a symptom of the hunger inducing poverty in the region) and take in a show at the local cinema. Next step? Local pizza.
The Girlfriend and I both spent a morning at a nearby gym (US$0.77 for a 1 day pass). It suits our purposes fine, as we mostly use free weights and The Girlfriend supplements them with cardio, often a stationary bike. Like almost everything in Nicaragua, the simplest equipment works well and then things go to hell pretty quickly as the sophistication increases. A single welded dumb bell is a single welded dumb bell and you can pick it up and it weighs what it says it does. No problem. A single position bench will usually be pretty stable. If the bench is adjustable, then it’s probably wobbly. If the dumb bell has interchangeable weight, then the end caps probably don’t work very well and the plates will be completely mismatched from numerous disparate sets; many won’t even fit. If the equipment involves ropes and/or pulleys, good fucking luck. The gym near us is better than most; The Girlfriend didn’t mention any trouble on the exercise bikes(!) and everything seemed stable and relatively rust free (which is to say reasonably well maintained), though I didn’t use any rope and pulley setups. We’ll certainly go back.
The simple:good complex:bad formula makes me wonder when I’ll start seeing cast off fixed gear bikes from the states. As it is I see guys and chicks walking around decked in thrift store irony, completely oblivious to the stated meaning, much less the ironic context. It’s like their shirt and I have a secret, which is weird. If they then mounted a fixed gear bike the inadvertent hipsterism might tear a hole in the universe.
As far as I can tell (and have been told) there is only the one cinema in this city of 110,000 people and it shows one selection four times a week (Thursday through Sunday, 6:45pm, US$1.14). It’s an old cinema, still limping along well past it’s prime years of business. The facilities aren’t terrible, but I don’t expect it will last much longer. The cinema in Esteli was shut down when we arrived; future uncertain. Even at roughly US$1 a ticket it seems like the cinema is an unworkable business model. In other countries I’ve seen makeshift theaters thriving; a Digital projector, a pirated DVD, an air conditioner and a medium sized room is all you need to make a go. In Utila you can rent the whole place for about US$50 and watch whatever you want on the big(gish) screen. In Guatemalan tourist towns like Antigua a bar will show you 3 movies a day as thanks for stopping in and having a beer, a hookah or a plate of nachos. But for some reason (cheap DVD players, piracy) the public movie is a rarity in Nicaragua. I’m actually pleasantly surprised to have this one lackluster weekly option here.
The Girlfriend and are were surprised to learn, the hard way, that mice eat soap. They don’t just eat it, they apparently love it. We’ve long abided by a policy of putting all of our food, even sealed dry goods, in the fridge so as not to attract pests. We do the same with our toothbrushes, toothpaste and dishes that we don’t feel like cleaning immediately and it works very well, but it never occurred to either of us that bar soap would be such a delicacy to vermin. We switched to pump handsoaps so for the time being I think we’re again an unattractive home for pests