Saturday, February 16, 2013

Locos Americanos


Juan had to go home to Masaya this morning because one of his daughters was in hospital with an unknown illness. Thanks Jesus it was just a bacterial infection, some kind of stomach flu. He plans to return on Monday morning, and I will pick him up in Rivas at el parque central a las diez. We’ll pick up the two bags of cement Iziquel needs in Tola on our way back into town, and I’ll only have to miss a couple of hours at the site. I want to make the most of my last five working days on the site, but I also want to help Juan out any way I can; the bus ride from Rivas is no fun at all!

I got an object lesson today explaining why some gringos have trouble here: I was in the local pulperia to buy some time for my phone and an Americano I met last year walked in and tried to buy a five-gallon water carbuoy. He didn’t have enough Cordobas to pay the full price, but he argued with the clerk that his centavos (pennies) were the same as Cordobas (as with dolares, there are 100 centavos per Cordoba). And he got pissed at me when I pointed out that he wouldn’t give anybody a dollar for ten pennies. Absolutely no respect for the local currency or the people. At an exchange rate of 24 Cords to the dollar, this dumbass had no reason to argue, aside from sheer ignorance, but he got pissed at me for suggesting he should just pay his bill. He told me that since I was just a “fucking tourist” I should stay out of it. While I currently spend only three or four weeks per year in town, I hardly consider myself a tourist. I have tried very hard to develop peer-to-peer relationships with the locals, I think with a lot of success. Even if I were just a “fucking tourist,” I hope I’d have more respect for the locals than this yahoo.

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