A Feeling of Disparity

Upon strolling around a sultry Managua, a city not conducive to walking, I found people apathetic and indifferent to me. Nobody seemed to be too interested in conversing.

Upon returning to my hostel, hotel or inn, (I’m not sure what you call it), and telling a couple of people that I’d just drifted around aimlessly, I was told that I was brave.  I didn’t walk along any strange looking side streets, so I didn’t feel that I was being all that courageous. Regardless, this is a driving city that is much more safely explored in a taxi, especially at night.

After dark I flagged a cab to go to the Malecón, a nice outdoor stretch lined with restaurants and bars, and overlooking Lake Managua.

How much to go the Malecón?”

50.”

30.”

40.”

“I was told to pay only 30.”

OK, 30.”

So I talked him down from $2.50 to $1.50. We picked up another passenger. He asked if I didn’t mind a longer route to drop her off. I didn’t mind at all. The three of us talked. After dropping her off, he and I chatted the whole way.

This taxi driver seemed to enjoy conversing with me. Towards the end of the conversation, I was surprised at the fact that he let me in on a little secret.

Tourists are always charged double.”

I thought:  This is OK considering this is the second poorest country in the Americas after Haiti.

I also feel that it’s completely impossible for anyone to think that I might not be a tourist. With my funny Spanish accent, there is absolutely no way that I can blend in.

I sat down at an outdoor restaurant. A live baseball game was on an old style tube TV. It looked just as professional as the preeminent league of the United States. Most outsiders don’t know that baseball is indeed a national passion here.  

Soon I’d be eating a delicious and nutritious Ceviche, accompanied by a local Toña cerveza. Seven men who sat at the table next to me were drinking the same beer. Upon finishing my Ceviche and beer I was thinking about settling up. One man then motioned over and said:

Are you going to pay our bill?

I counted them to be seven and tried to laugh along with the joke nicely. A few moments after, he told the waitress to bring me a beer on him. She brought it, I then moved my chair over, raised my beer and said

Salud!”

They all followed suit.

We talked about the United States, immigration, deportation, how beautiful Nicaraguan girls are, and the fact that I need to be very careful in this country, but mainly in Managua.

After consuming my beer, I felt the desire to reciprocate; maybe this was their plan, maybe not.  I’ll never know.  I ordered two big Toñas to share with the guys. In total my bill came to the equivalent of around $9.

The men were nice. I had my camera and cash in my right front pocket, apparently a 20 Cordoba bill (it’s worth about US $.97), fell from my pocket. The waitress brought it over to me. The guys laughed at how I could be so careless with money.

The fact that I am in their land, and that they will never be able to think about being a tourist in mine, depicts a great disparity.

6 Responses to A Feeling of Disparity

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  2. Al says:

    I admire your ability to befriend or be befriended by strangers so naturally, it makes all the difference when travelling… I also look forward to more pictures.
    ¡Salud!

  3. earthdrifter says:

    MAIDA & DARREN: When I take pics, I’ve gotta look around and make sure that no one is noticing. Everyone keeps warning me about my valuables. So far, so good though. People don’t seem to be out to take my camera.
    Also, gotta start taking pictures of people, haven’t done it yet as I don’t wanna invade peoples’ privacy. This is just my second day so I’ll get bolder w/ it for sure. And, if someone pulls a knife or gun on me, well, I’ll deal w/ that when and if the time arises. Most people seem pretty nice, although, with poverty comes crime. Look at Detroit, Michigan, that’s much worse than Managua.

  4. darren says:

    great stuff, sounds like the beginning of an amazing journey… I also look forward to seeing more pics and following you along your travels…

  5. Maida says:

    oh, and love the photos! Would LOVE to see more…

  6. Maida says:

    Great posts! I suspect this trip will be very important for you. Looking forward to hearing more about your drifting days as they unfold.

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