Day 10 or 11...Maybe Even 12?  

Back in Granada after our Ometepe Island adventure, it was funny how we had taken to referring to Granada as "home." We had gotten comfortable there and had adjusted to our new "nature friends."

For the bats, just make sure you close the door to the big front living room so they don't get in there and poop on the pool table. For the sugar ants, you just hide every bit of food in the kitchen in Tupperware (Krista, you need more Tupperware!). For the lizards, you just sick Annie and Grady on them. For the little bedbugs, well, there you're just kinda screwed. Try to sleep with your mouth closed. 

We took a horse-drawn carriage tour of the city of Granada while Rodolfo told us some of the history of the city. I condensed it into a Haiku:

A city born of
bold colonialism
Damned Conquistadors!

You're welcome. I saved you hours of reading!

Much of the rest of our time in Granada was spent working at the school (Polly did that the most), Scott finishing language school and me writing and do Master's work. 

Yep, I'm actually working on my Master's while I'm here. I was able to do most of my work before we left, packing in 5 weeks of research and writing into 1.5 weeks, but I have to do some things here. I'm working on my Master's in Educational Administration, so I can move from corrupting only 125 minds full of mush each year to corrupting the teachers who will all corrupt 125 minds full of mush each year, thus expanding my influence exponentially! 

Actually, I'll make about $27 more each year for having the Master's, so what the heck!

A bit about prices in Nicaragua. Things are cheap. That was one of the reasons why we chose to come here. But we have mixed emotions about this. Sometimes we feel uncomfortable with how cheap things are. It's like we are taking advantage of the plight of a developing country. Nicaragua is NOT a 3rd-world country. If you want 3rd-word, think Somalia, North Korea, The Sudan, Detroit. 

Much of Nicaragua has stable electricity, reliable water and is fairly safe. These are just a few of the things that separate Nicaragua from 3rd-world countries as we describe them in the U.S. 

Anyway, back to prices and guilt about same. We just had to come to the realization that it is a mutually beneficial relationship we have with the folks we buy from or receive services from. But that's hard to accept because we seem to be getting more out of the relationship than the locals sometimes. 

The most glaring of this involves the housekeepers we have had. At the house in Granada, a very nice lady named Carmen cleaned the house 3 days a week, and it's a pretty good sized house. Plus, it offers challenges like indoor and outdoor sweeping, plants everywhere, aforementioned bat droppings, bugs, etc. No vacuum cleaners, no "Swiffer" mops, and about 1500 sf of tile floor to mop. 

Before we came down, Krista, the lady who rented us her home, assured us that Carmen is paid above-average wages. I asked her to give me an idea about how much I should tip her for the 2 weeks of work. She said if I gave her $5, she would be very happy. 

$5. For two weeks. Really?

Couldn't do it. Gave her $20 and if I screwed up the tipping balance for the next renter, I'm sorry. 

So, here is an idea of some of the prices we have paid for things to give you an idea:

-Cab ride for 4 anywhere in town: $1.85
-Single beer pretty much anywhere: $1
-3 of the best pizzas ever (a topic for later) and 4-5 beers: $25
-Hari's Horses: (lodging, 2 hours riding for 5, dinner, breakfast)  $155
-Dinner on the street at a vendor:  $2
-2 hours of ziplining for 5 and transportation to and from:  $100
-Head-shaving and a real shave with a straight-razor!:    $4
-Grocery store prices for stuff we're used to is similar to U.S. prices. 

In other words, you can travel Nicaragua cheaply. Transportation has been our greatest expense, but even that could have been much cheaper had we been willing to "rough it" more. They have things called "chicken busses" that are very cheap, but they take a long time to go places because they stop all the time to pick up and drop off people. With 2 kids and luggage, it's not the best option. We had drivers in cabs or vans arranged and this is where, after airfare, we spent most of our money. 

Costa Rica is next and all bets are off when it comes to lower prices! It's the most expensive country in Central America. 


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