days thirty four and thirty five: león

(this is the same picture that i’m using for my león post on the official mariposa blog but oh well)

anyway. this weekend was león and it was beautiful! it’s my favorite weekend city trip because you get to walk around on the cathedral roof and feel like you’re touching the sky.

nick (another student) and i hit up the sandinista museum (museo de la revolución) and met a lovely man named benito! he asked us if we wanted to see a picture of him when he was our age and when we said yes, instead of pulling out a photo, he pointed out a large picture of revolutionaries on the wall. “that one’s me”, he told us, beaming. 

wild, right?

oh, and i had my first taste of baho — it’s a traditional Nica dish made with beef, plantains, and vegetables, steamed over yucca in a very Very large pot and served with salad.

(tip: for cheap eats in león, hit up the ladies in the indoor market/comedor behind the cathedral. they’re super nice, they’re excellent cooks, they explain all the dishes to you, and they even hand you your food on pretty dishes!)

anyway. it was delicious. 


day twenty eight: “office work”

on day twenty eight, i worked a lot a lot a lot because i was on my own in the office

but office work is far from boring!! 

i gave tours and solved crises and went back and forth and talked to the cooks and the new guests and called people on the phone in spanish because i didn’t have any other options (it was a little anxious but it worked out) also i got rained on

it was a wild time 

here’s an unrelated photo of the beach i went to the day before that (that was fairly relaxing even though i was kinda still working) 

(yes i’m aware my blog posts are getting more and more disjointed give a girl a break)

day twenty seven: salt

sometimes when i come home my host family sends me out “grocery shopping” with my host sister to buy  the last couple things we need for that night’s dinner.

it’s really fun… i hold the money and we go out walking to the pulperias (little street shops that sell basically everything) and she usually knows where to go even in the dark and we have conversations on the way and once we get there she matter-of-fairly orders everything we need.

also, she’s five years old.

outside of the fact that she’s way more comfortable than i am walking around in the dark in San Juan (not because it’s dangerous– it’s not– but because there are no street lights and if i tripped over the curb and fell on my face that would be the Most Chela Thing Ever), she’s also pretty much the most self-confident kid ever. but this friday, we were both stumped.

we’d gone to three pulperias and none of them would sell us salt.

keep in mind, these are the same shops that casually had several dozen eggs on hand when we bought them a couple days ago. these are the same shops that carry everything from chips to umbrellas to deodorant to hot sauce. so why didn’t they have salt?

in fact, i was almost sure that they had some in the last and biggest pulperia we visited… i almost thought i saw it… but the lady smiled and shook her head and told me “no hay” when i asked her if they sold salt.

“none? at all?”

“no, no…”

at that point i was wondering if maybe this had something to do with my pronunciation. maybe i wasn’t using the right words? who knew? 

frustrated, we headed back and i explained to my host mum that there was no salt. in any of the shops. at all.

she laughed and told me that there’s a superstition here — if you sell salt after 3pm, it’s bad luck and bad business. i might very well have seen the little bags of salt, but they weren’t about to hand it to me. 


anyway, we (my host sister and i) ended up going getting salt from one of my host sister’s tias, which was convenient (my host family is related to basically half of San Juan i swear) and so everything worked out just fine. thank goodness!

p.s. also here’s a picture of the victorious salt packet. you’re welcome.

day twenty six: to market to market

the masaya markets are my favorite markets.

there’s the artisan market and the municipal market, which basically means there’s a tourist market and a local one. i visit the local one because it’s cheaper, but the other is lovely too.

i go on my days off, i go when i’m working tours… something in me love love loves markets (and craft markets specifically). they’re so busy and interesting and overwhelming and there’s always something i haven’t seen and i love buying things from people who made them and having a conversation to remember after i have my things. i’d rather buy everything for the rest of my life in an outdoor market, if it was possible. 

is that silly? probably.

but it’s still true.

day twenty five: reading list

so we have a small library in La Mariposa that’s free to all of our guests. despite its size, it’s actually got a variety of books that i’ve been meaning to read (which is fantastic) and so here’s what i’m reading/have read so far:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
this was so, so good.
when i picked it i had no idea what to expect but it was beautiful and it addressed so many things i’ve been thinking about recently and i loved it that’s all.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

there’s really no explanation or justification for me reading this, it’s kind of a romantic juvenile-lit novel deal, but it was a relatively worthwhile juvenile-lot novel and it was set in oregon so… y’know.

A Burst of Light by Audre Lorde
i regret to admit that before this, despite the fact that i am a woman of color who attends a liberal arts women’s college, i had not read anything of Lorde’s except for the odd poem or essay. there’s no particular reason why… i just hadn’t.
that changed and it changed with a bang and now i need to read everything by her thank you very much 

Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie
before we begin can i just point out that i hated the phantom tollbooth?
because i HATED the phantom tollbooth.
i like wordplay and i love words and i love the concept of mythical worlds cleverly spinning in on themselves, and yet i Did Not Like anything about the phantom tollbooth At All despite several people telling me i would love it. i’m also not the biggest fan of Alice in Wonderland. so i’m generally fairly critical of adult literature masquerading as children’s literature and/or combining multiple fantasy worlds in nonsensical ways (exceptions include the Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles and Here There Be Dragons).
despite this, i really liked LatFoL. i liked that it combined multiple myths, i liked that it tipped a wink at modern scifi/fantasy, i liked that it was a little bit sentimental and a little bit magical and didn’t take itself too seriously. i’d recommend this book to my sisters, and i’d read it again.

Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan

this was… all right? i don’t have a lot of thoughts on it. i didn’t love it, nor did i hate it. i read it through and i get why amy tan is considered a good writer but it wasn’t amazing? it’d probably be better if i’d read it not all in one weekend.

Ain’t I A Woman by bell hooks (i’m still reading this) 

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra 

this was a good read but a long one. it didn’t really pick up until the last half but it was really good then? 8/10 for being beautiful and wrapping up in a lovely way despite being confusing and hard to keep track of at the beginning