Bienvenido a la vida de la ciudad!

consultation at the Claro office

consultation at the Claro office – one of the funny things about this experience is that the guy didn’t work there! He was the husband of the woman who did, and was just being helpful. 🙂

Our days in Granada are governed by two things — the heat, and the eternal  search for free wifi. For the most part, not even businesses have ac (although 2 of the 3 “big” grocery stores are exceptions, thank goodness)but as you can see in the picture of the Claro office, fans are everywhere.

Yes, there are things to be done — running, shopping, gym time, Spanish school (for me), finding new places to eat — but all of that is done with the hope of staying out of the blistering sun, and being able to use someone else’s wifi (restaurants and cafes) to get online. The 5G per month we have doesn’t seem nearly enough (which reminds me, we should cancel our netflix subscription, since our current subscription really doesn’t support excessive use of video.)

City life is new for me, and I think perhaps  the one month we originally allocated to Granada isn’t enough to fully get a feel for the city. There appear to be lots of activities and entertainment in town, but with most of our week spent just getting oriented to the simple things that need to be done ( see above) we haven’t had much time to explore. We did see this storefront though, right around the corner from our hotel, an odd coincidence since it’s a company with a long and continued history in Mark’s family:

Sherwin Williams, Granadino style

Sherwin Williams, Granadino style

I also spent some time troubleshooting, in Spanish, twice, with the local equivalent of Verizon (that’s the pic Mark snapped at the top of this post) which went well, but the angst beforehand was significant!  I don’t know that my Spanish has improved significantly, but Nicaraguans seem to speak more slowly than Panamanians, and are more patient with my attempts. What I’d like to find is the place that has the weekly trivia contest– not sure how my modest trivia skills will hold up in public though. If only my son Jay were here … I’ve always thought that he, Mark and I would be the ideal trivia team!

Later this week, we are going to Laguna de Apoyo, a lake inside a crater created by a volcano. Water – the best escape from the heat – can’t wait for that. 🙂

MARK SAYS:

Hello Again City Life!  It has been awhile!

For the first 22 years of my life I lived in the city of Camden, New Jersey.  I spent most of the next 30 plus years within a few suburban towns in South Jersey.  Of course, over the past 18 months Valerie and I have journeyed to Bocas Del Toro and Boquete, in Panama, and we are now in Granada Nicaragua.

Granada is a city of approximately 112,000 residents in the central part of the country.  It certainly has a much different feel than the beach destination of Bocas and the relatively quaint town of Boquete.  Out of all of the places that I have lived, Grenada most reminds me of the years that my family spent in Camden. Believe me, that is not meant as a negative.

One of the first things that I noticed here in Granada is that the homeowners and shopkeepers must spend much of their disposable income on brooms.  They seem to continuously be sweeping the sidewalk and curbs in front of their properties.

We go out for an early morning run and they are sweeping.  We go out to lunch and there they are again.  And, finally, in the evening when we head out for dinner they are hosing down the cement and sweeping it once more.

Back in Camden, Saturday morning was cleaning time in our household.  Like Granadinos, sweeping the steps, sidewalk and curb was always on the list of chores.  However, as my siblings and I remember it, my father never allowed us to stop at our property line.  No, he extended the boundary to our neighbors on either side……. and beyond, until it seemed like we were covering the whole city block!

Another sight and sound in Granada, that rekindles memories of Camden, are the hucksters hawking their wares as they weave up and down the compact streets.  On a few occasions we have been awakened, early in the morning, by the melodic shout of “papaya, banano, sandia, pina.”

Another colorful group of hucksters are the bicycle pedaling, bell ringing, purveyors of “La Prensa” which, I believe, is the largest Central American newspaper.  Newspapers may be quickly losing circulation and viability in the U.S. but here in Nicaragua these spiffily dressed men are doing all they can to keep the tradition alive.

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Thumbs up from the La Prensa rep!

In Camden the most memorable of the street marketers was a man that sold an item that I do not expect the hucksters in Granada to be touting.  In a very distinctive hoarse manner he strode through the streets and back alleys yelling at the top of his lungs “Cllotthes Prrropps”, Cllotthes Prrropps”, Cllotthes Prrropps.”

Unlike the lush gardens that surround the detached homes in Boquete, the exterior of the attached houses in Granada are primarily bordered by cement or tile.  The gardens are reserved for the interior of the house and in many cases they are spectacular.

Nonetheless, there certainly is not much need for lawn care services here.  Even in Camden, the row homes did contain small parcels of back and front yard lawns.  Or, in the case, of my family’s house, mostly patches of dirt!

Despite my father’s best efforts each year to establish a flourishing lawn there were always football or wiffle ball games destined to trample the seedlings before they were fully established.  Thinking back, it probably would have been more economical for dad to throw in the towel and blacktop the whole backyard.  Basketball anyone???

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