First of all, I am at the Galerias Mal in Managua....how did I get here you might ask? I drove...solo! Of course, due to the severe spoiling I am receiving here, I drove in the automatic car they got for me...bless their hearts, for sure. Anyway, typically this would be the point that I would apologize for the book I am about to write. But not today. Nope, I am having a wonderful, full, rich learning experience and I am not going to apologize one bit for capturing all the details. So here goes!
After a morning of talking on the phone and sending emails (yes, I know, I know I was at work) Jose Luis picked me up to drive to Matagalpa, a town about two and a half hours from Managua, in the Northern part of the country. Jose Luis is a sales supervisor for that portion of the country and was a wealth of knowledge about Nicaragua, the company, and the products I am working with. The drive up there was BEAUTIFUL! Perhaps the best part was that as we were driving through a small town there were people on the side of the road selling pets....no puppies or kitties here though, we are talking armadillos, iguanas, parakeets and ......a monkey!! Jose Luis told me I could buy two for 30 dollars...what a bargain! We also were in the midst of the coffee country and passed acres and acres (well, hectares and hectares) rather of coffee farms and processing plants. Que bueno!
That night we went to dinner with one of the company´s clients...who was loco! Seriously, it was the most random, crazy, full of it guy ever...Coty Back, he reminded me of the guy at that one visit we did...you know who i am talking about. Thankfully he was nice though and it was just funny to talk to him. We also visited a supermarket that evening before going to the hotel.
The town itself is nestled, yes nestled, in the hills. It is a pretty small town though, and had that small town feel. My hotel was at the top of one of those hills and it had a phenomonal view, not to mention the peaceful ambiance of the hotel with the tropical flowers and the birds and the soft rain...heaven I tell you.
After enjoying a peaceful morning listening to all the birds and having a good long chat with my mom and nina and papa, Jose Luis picked me up along with another sales guy Omar. Jose Luis speaks great English because he used to live in New York. He is a bit reserved and serious, but very friendly nonetheless. Omar on the other hand, understood English pretty well but didnt speak it...so it was great practice for both of us! Omar was one of those people that you just get a really kind vibe from. Both of them were wonderful tour guides though and as we drove to Jinotega, about an hour from Matagalpa, we stopped at a coffee farm owned by Germans that had been turned into a hotel. It was in the midst of the mountains, a farm, and we ate breakfast beside a lake...oh my goodness, it was wonderful! I had Esteli Nica breakfast, which means Nicaragua style so it was eggs with gallo pinto, which is just rice and beans mixed together. Oh, and I had my first cup of coffee there!! THe coffee was grown on the farm....and great. Granted it was mostly milk, but at least I finally started on one of my goals for the summer of learning to drink coffee....mostly so that I can enjoy a cup with Nina and Papa now!
Then we went to Jinotega and visited a municipal market and a Pali store, which is owned by Wal Mart. It was really interesting....to say the least. After our visits there, we drove back to Matagalpa to visit the market. Ok, when I was little, Aladdin was my favorite movie...and I was taken back to that when we visited the market because it was exactly like that! There were tons of vendors and cars and dogs and flies and people and smells and any other thing you can imagine, all in one tiny place. There were tons of people selling various fruits and vegetables and meat and any other product. The exciting thing was that I talked to several people to ask questions and learn for my project....all in Spanish! Granted, mine stinks but nonetheless I was pumped.
We drove to Esteli next and on the way we stopped and got a Nicaragua pancake, or wirillia. Basically it was sweet corn flattened out and cooked and served wiht my favorite queso fresco....muy rico!! I am so not going hungry here....
When we got to Esteli, they dropped me at the hotel which was another adorable small place with tons of flowers and cool colors and we were all going to just chill and rest for a couple of hours before we would meet up again for supper. So, being the daring adventurer I am (hehe, i know!) I went shopping and to the town square...by myself! I felt so, so safe. Seriously, I love how safe it feels in the small towns here. In all honesty, I am really feeling safe in general and just settling into a great routine and feeling of comfort in this country...it is a great feeling. Anyway, then they picked me up and we went to eat Cuban food....thankfully they also had rice and beans and tostones...oh how addicted to this culture I am becoming!
In the morning we ate breakfast, more Esteli Nicaragua of course! Then we visited several grocery stores. I was doing good with my conversations and learning in Spanish, until one girl thought I spoke more Spanish than I did...usually when people take off like that I stop them and convince them to talk slower, but she didnt understand how slow I needed her to talk and she just was so nice and I wanted so badly to understand her so I just turned my ears on rapido....lol
At the market in Esteli, it was a lot slower and cleaner and actually very enjoyable...especially since I bought a pina, a mango, aquacates, and plantanos! Oh, and this BEAUTIFUL bright pink fruit that I cant spell...but I am pumped to eat it!
After our morning of working, we went to a vivero, or a nursery. They had all kinds of great plants and flowers and avocado treese and papaya trees. We ate lunch in the beauty of it all, and had arroz con leche and wheat bread with tomato and cheese. I think scenarios like that are so picturesque...I loved it, and of course took a ton of pictures for all the plant lovers in my life!
Then we drove back to Managua. On our drive Jose Luis and I talked a lot about politics and the world in general. It was really interesting to hear his perspective on the US and it was very odd to look at the country from an outsider point of view...interesting to ponder, but it didnt make me a bit less thankful to be from the US. When I met Fransisco at the office, he had an automatic car for me! Let me just tell you how relieved I was to see that.
All in all, our trip was PHENOMONAL!!! It was so neat to see rural Nicaragua and a different view of the country from Managua. The scenery was beautiful, the weather was cool, the learning was great. I am feeling completely engaged and purposeful with my work now, incredibly safe, and really like I am absorbing the culture and the experience. I am just so thankful to be here and absolutely loving every minute!
The memory verse is Proverbs 3, verse 5 through 6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.
Today I had an AMAZING day doing something really, really cool but I dont have time to blog right now so I will write about it soon though......