Malawian Rice Vendor

Friday, 1 August 2008


¡Hola Amigos! It hardly seems like we have been in this beautiful city of Granada for close to ten days now. The time has sure gone by very quickly. We have stayed here to take our initial week of Spanish lessons. As we stated before after some research we ended up finding a nice school located right in the heart of the city. We came very close to not taking the classes at all. The reason being that Erika developed some sort of stomach ailment. Imagine that she made it through eight months of hard travel in S.E.. Asia and India, where everybody and their grandmother gets sick with out nary a bit of indigestion. however within the first couple of days....Bam...It did not start out too bad and we thought that with a bland diet of bananas and rice that she would be able to over come. By the third day of her constantly running for the toilet we knew we needed to seek some professional help. We made our way to the local pharmacist to try to get a hold of some Cipro as we had forgotten o
urs at home. Cipro like an American express card is something you should not leave home without!!! The only difference being is that to most of the places we travel an AMEX card is totally useless while Cipro can be a life saver. Upon arrival at the pharmacy we stumbled upon the pharmacist who was playing his guitar behind the counter. He continued to ignore us for a good five minutes while serenading a local stray dog. Meanwhile Erika was doubled over in severe gastric distress. I thought she was going to lose it right then and there. Thinking back she probably should have because then we would have gotten immediate attention. We were able to finally procure the magic pills and Voila within a few hours she was well on her way to recovery. She had been able to lose those unwanted five pounds without diet or exercise. (Sounds like an infommercial) We were able to start Intensive Spanish on Monday morning as planned. Let me tell you it was intensive Spanish. The entire four hours per
 day were in total Spanish. Trying to learn another language is hard enough, especially as one gets older. The brain is already filled with a lot of * * * * (fill in the blank) but learning it without the benefit of being able to get explanations in English is .......... Wow...... When we did ask questions about words that we did not understand, the teachers would try their very best to explain in simple Spanish. The problem was that inevitably they would end up using an unknown word within the explanation as we would need to have that word explained and around and around  and around we would go. The school itself was located inside a small elementary school which added to the excitement because we would have to try to think over the screaming voices of 100 or so six and seven year old kids. I thought at one point Erika was going to jump out of her seat and strangle a little girl who was screaming at the top of her lungs. The teaching method itself did seem to work because by the t
hird day we were starting(just barely) to get it.WE both really enjoyed our teachers. Since the tutoring was one on one we were able to concentrate all of our time on listening and trying to speak. Jeff had taken intensive Spanish last year however it was within small groups so much harder because the teacher was not able to devote as much time individually. Also listening to other people stumble through the language was not very helpful, as I am sure them listening to Jeff did not help them either!!! All in all we both found the course to be very useful. Neither one of us realized how many different tenses there are in normal day to day Spanish. We spent most of the early afternoons studying and doing our homework before venturing out into the city later in the day. We had to wait until around 4:30 or so because it was way too hot to do much else except be near a fan. We were able to rent an apartment here in Granada which was really an nice luxury. It was a cute little studio tha
t had a little kitchenette so we were able to make most of our meals which we both enjoy. Both of us having been near the food industry have really tired of restaurant food. Give me some good old oatmeal or a grilled cheese sandwich and I am set. Usually we set off for the local mercado in the late afternoon picking up lots of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables. We even got real brave and bought the local eggs and cheese. Considering both sit out in the hot weather for days at a time this was a bit of risk. I am happy to say we both survived. Jeff has even got in the habit of buying lots of creamy Nicaraguan cheese in the market to go along with the fresh tortillas that the random ladies sell door to door. Yummmmmm!! We had to give up the apartment today since it was being rented out on the first of August. Luckily we were able to find a cute little hotel that is run by a couple of Belgian guys that just happen to be gay. Needless to say the entire Hotel (four rooms) and the cour
tyard are decorated like the set of the movie "The Birdcage"   Statues of naked men and phalic symbols abound. I am half expecting Nathan Lane to appear from behind a door!! We probably will only be able to spend one night there because we are planning to take off early tommorow morning for the town of Matagalpa. Located high in the Nicaraguan mountain it is supposed to be very beautiful and COOOOL!!! The only negative is that there are no direct busses so we will have to go through Managua. Which we were trying to avoid like the trots. Oh well. ....... Well the sun is starting to set and we want to go enjoy one last sunset overlooking Lake Nicaragua. Until Next time. Hasta Pronto Erika and Jeff

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