Gary and I just spent 4 days visiting Dylan in
During those days we: went to a baseball game in the capital’s stadium, visited Lauren’s orphanage and met her sweet children, met Dylan’s kids and their mothers and enjoyed spending time with them at Managua’s versions of Chuck E. Cheese and Chic-Fil-A, toured Managua with taxi driver and friend, Mikael (Nicaragua’s version of Borat), met other friends Brad, Keren, and Esmir, shopped in a local market and grocery store, toured the dump and a music store, ate great food and didn’t eat not so great food and attended Dylan’s church. We definitely came away having seen, smelled, felt, heard, and tasted a bit of
Just a few general observations first: Managuans are a hard working and scrappy people- even though their efforts are sometimes inefficient ways to get a job done. They make do with what they have.
They value children yet many of them roam the markets, streets and tourist places selling food, trinkets or washing windshields.
They love color and style and take pride in appearance yet there is litter everywhere.
They are a live-and-let-live culture and as Lauren said “There is always a party somewhere.” Despite some hard conditions, they are passionate and full of life.
So the memories of taste I will carry with me include: guava jelly on toast, fried banana chips, cold Victoria beer at the stadium, rice and beans, coke with no ice, rice and beans, a sizzling steak and protein bars.
I will remember the sounds of loud Latino music coming from taxis, store fronts, cars, buses, homes and street corners. The words “Bueno,” “Hey Gringo- do you want cashews?”, ”one dollar,” the rattle of the dilapidated cabs and buses, “Granadanadanada,” beep beep and honk honk. The whistling and the alarm clock birds, the excited chatter of the children I couldn’t understand, these children calling “Tia Lorena” and “Deelan”, and noisy parakeets at the grocery store.
Memory smells include: onions frying, trash burning, the coppery smell of children who are almost clean, fried chicken and French fries, monkey cages, air fresheners in taxis, the unfamiliar smells of the market.
The feel of tropical breezes blowing, wind whipping through my hair as we traveled along, a warm and tiny hand on my wrist as the owner begged for cordobas, the press of sweaty people on a bus, the tangle of many children’s hands in my hair as they explored its colors as well as my hearing aids, the intense sun and cooling breeze on my face simultaneously, and the arms of children wrapped around my neck, shoulders, and waist.
I pray that I will always keep the images, both good and hard, of this trip in my heart and mind as well. The lush tropical and bright colored foliage, the dirty and desperate faces of the very young and very old, cows and horses sharing a highway with cars and buses, women of all ages working in tall heels, everything sold in bags - milk, water, life possessions, food - people riding bicycles carrying floor lamps, countertops, or 2 other people, stray dogs, cows and people eating from trash piles, lovers enjoying ice cream and a smooch at the mini zoo, bright birds and houses, gleaming smiles, the dancing man at church, fireworks, Christmas trees everywhere, lots of jeans, people selling everything – really, Hello Kitty, signs and lots of barred doors and windows.
Thanks for taking the time to share this with me. It was a trip that has impacted me, hopefully forever. I left