Monday, October 24, 2011

Friendly Nicas and a Nervous Gringa

A picture from my first time in Granada, 3 years ago.

Friendly Nicas
This past weekend I had to hop the border to renew my 90 day tourist visa.  Technically you're supposed to be out for 3 days, but I left Friday came back Saturday and the man at the border didn't even look at my passport. So I'm legally able to stay another 90 days in Costa Rica!

For the two days I was gone, I spent my time in Granada, Nicaragua.  It's about a 8.5-9 hour bus ride from San Jose, depending on how long the border takes.  I believe that ticos are quite a friendly bunch, but I'm also always amazed how much nicer nicas (Nicaraguans) are.  I got off the bus and had no idea where I was.  After asking around I located the center of town and began walking.  I found an internet cafe to use and popped on in.  I was supposed to meet up with a couchsurfer when I arrived, but the number he gave me didn't work so I looked up a hostel instead.  The man working at the internet cafe (really just a room in his house) was extremely kind.  I asked about different hostels and he made phone calls for me to see if there were rooms available and also the exact addresses.  He then wrote down for me addresses and descriptions of three hostels that were close by.  I was somehow unable to find them and wandered around muggy and hot Granada for the next half hour or so.  Not a bad way to pass the time when the streets look like this.

(not my picture, forgot to take my camera! DOH!) Here you see the colorful row houses on the streets of Granda.

From my trip 3 years ago.  Right now the streets are mostly all torn up because of some serious remodeling going on.

When I was finally too sweaty and tired to continue my search, I hopped in a taxi to take me to a hostel.  He couldn't find it right away and asked around for me until we wound up in the right place.  I stayed in Hostel Mochilas, which I wasn't too impressed with, but was alright for just the one night I was there.  I might have enjoyed it more if I was able to meet people in the hostel.  Everyone seemed to already have their own group of friends and was simply not interested in talking to me.  The only person to talk to me was the nica guy who worked there.

A while later I headed to a restaurant down the street called Nuestro Mundo.  I had a rice dish and while eating had to tell the little boy trying to sell me a hammock "no, gracias" for about 10 minutes.  Because I was unable to contact my bank before heading to Nicaragua, I was unable to take out cordoba (Nicaraguan currency) from the ATMs. Luckily in almost all of Central America, USD are used just as commonly as local currency, so this is what I used to pay for dinner.  After handing over my $20, the owner came back and told me I couldn't use that specific bill because of a marking on it.  Nicaragua is very picky about how dollar bills look.  They shouldn't have marks, rips, bends, or anything.  I apologized and told the owner all I had was that $20 and about 5 cordoba (equal to 25 cents).  He told me that it wasn't a problem, I could just come pay him later.  I could barely believe it.  Since my hostel was so close, I went to grab another $20 bill and brought it right back to him.

The following day was gorgeous.  The sun was shining and it was blazing hot.  My bus left around 1pm, so I asked the lady working at the hostel if it was okay if I hung out for a few hours extra.  She told me it was no problem.  I eventually made it over to the TicaBus station.  While inside, a gringa lady was trying unsuccessfully to speak to a nica woman who was at the station.  The gringa was asking to buy tickets, and the nica lady (who didn't work there) was telling her the TicaBus guy would be right back.  It looked like quite the language barrier to me, so I finally said in English "She says the guy will be right back".  The gringa then glared at me and says in a terrible accent "entiendo espanol, gracias!"  And then "I live here".  Well shit, your Spanish should be better than!  I was only trying to be helpful to this women who seemed quite confused and lost.  Oh well.

I made it back home to SJ and Oscar cooked up a yummy meal.


Nervous Gringa
Tomorrow is my first of three total interviews for teaching positions in the bilingual schools.  I really want to land something because I feel so useless not having a job.  The closest school that will probably pay the best is also a Catholic school.  I'm an atheist and I'm so nervous about applying to a Catholic school.  I don't want to lie about my beliefs, but Oscar thinks I should.  I don't know anything about Catholic schools, will I have to go pray every morning?  Will there be mandatory mass for teachers as well as students?  Will I teach creationism instead of evolution?  Out of everything, that's one thing I'm not okay with.  Creationism is not true and I refuse to pretend it is and tell impressionable students that creationism is how we were all brought here.  It actually infuriates me that people think creationism is true.  But annnyyyywwwwaaayyyssss...

I've got Italian homework to do and schools to research.  Sorry for the lack of pictures on this long winded post!  I'll make sure the next post is chock full =)

Oscar is trying to like the puppy!