Sunday, April 12, 2009

Panty Water Addendum

I´ve thought of some other things about Bluefields that I wanted to add:

Some other things about the culture of Bluefields you might be interested in include: There is a strong presence of Obeah (like Voodoo) around here, different versions for the Muskito, Carribean, and Rama cultures. The guard that is now posted at the house 24 hrs a day, Raul, is a Mestizo and his Granny was a healer. We´ve learned quite a bit.
Gentlemen! Worried about the size of your little buddy. Do you wish it was bigger? Well worry no more! Simply cut it and let the blood run onto a casava, then bury the casava under a full moon. As the casava grows, so will your penis. But make sure to dig it up once it gets to your desired size; let´s not go overboard with it! And ladies! Can´t get that perfect man to pay attention to you? No problem at all! Simply offer to cook for him and include in the recipe some of your most recent panty water (that´s menstrual blood for you gringoes) and he´ll be your forever!
Other advice: if you hire a prostitute, be careful because when you go to the bathroom she´ll probably steal all your money. Also, fights here are pretty common, oftentimes drunken and with machetes. We haven´t seen all that many missing limbs but everyone has crazy scars from one thing or another.
Raul, by the way, while bored and standing guard (in a hammock) out front, shot a little banana bird (blue, and about the size of a parakeet) with a slingshot he´d made from a forked stick with condom ties. He said he was going to eat it and nobody really believed him until he had completely skinned in in about 2 seconds, and then indeed he fried it up and ate it. A lot of people play cards around here and we´ve been playing with Raul quite a bit. They call clubs puppy feet and spades blackhearts and the jack, queen and king are 11,12, and 13. We taught them how to play Bullshit and they LOVE it, so if I come back in ten years I bet it will be everywhere.
We see a lot about the general population at the park. The teenage girls are slim and pretty but at about 18 they start really gaining weight. There is lots of sugar or salt in EVERYTHING here. Christian is convinced he would never ever want to be single here because it´s pretty slim-pickins once you´re out of high school. Our host, Casey, picked up a girl the other night and described the experience. "You know how when you go to Christmas at your relatives´ house, and you´re excited to go because you know you´re going to get...something. And then you unwrap it, and it´s not what you really expected or wanted, but you have to pretend that you like it...because you can´t take it back? That was last night." That may be the best metaphor ever.
Christian never really got to watch kids before and has been totally enchanted by all the cute little kids running around - kids are old news to me so it´s not all that exciting. Country music, oddly enough, is really popular here. It apparently came with baseball in the 50´s and has been big ever since. So the music here is a mix of reggae, latino pop, reggaeton, country, and rap. Other pictures from the park: A lot of people carry around umbrellas during the hottest part of the day to block the sun. They don´t have icecream trucks but men walk around pushing carts that have icecream or slushies and ringing a bell. Kids walk up to (white) people and hold up their first finger and that means ¨Give me 1 Cordoba¨(about 5 cents).
It is the style in all of Nicaragua to have your front teeth lined in gold or silver (it´s also possible that people have teeth that bad, but I think it´s a bit of both), so almost everyone in the country has at least one, but usually more gold or silver teeth.
We´ve met a few other characters in our time in Bluefields. One is Donovan, who is this 24 year old who came up to us when we were at the porch at Doña Coco´s wanting to interview us for this "tourism project" he´s working on. This meant writing down our information in a school notebook (asking how to spell every word, like "name" and "age" - I have my doubts about the educational system in Bluefields). He was very nice and friendly and wasn´t asking for any money, which was a nice change of pace, but he spoke the strongest Creole we´d ever heard and we literally could not understand a word he was saying. It was a lot of frozen smiles and nodding on our part, and at a couple points I even tried switching to Spanish because I thought that might be easier to understand, but he got mad and said very clearly, "naw, man, I speak English!" which was the only part we understood. We saw him in the park a couple days later and he sat with us for an hour and then walked with us for a while, talking the whole time. I wish I could tell you Donovan´s story, but the only part that I understood out of the total of 2 hours that we talked to him was that he has a daughter that doesn´t live with him and he´s been to Norway and someday wants to go back, but it´s really cold there.
Another guy we met, this time at this club called 4 Brothers, which is this dirty, little, dark, reggae club and by far the coolest place in town, was Preston. Preston´s story: He´d been selling drugs since he was 16 and he used to work on a cruise ship and smuggle drugs on it until he got caught and sent to prison for a year and a half after his lawyer (who was also at the club) couldn´t convince the judge that he had all 20 lbs for his personal use. While he was in jail, he paid off a female guard by promising her another 3000 cordobas a month (which is 150 dollars and doubles her monthly salary), and between that guard and the prostitute that came for conjugal visits with drugs stuffed in a condom in her vagina, and the prisoner that cleaned the conjugal visit room who removed that condom from the trash and put it in a different condom up his butt, he managed to sneak in massive amounts of drugs to the prison. Once he had it, he would hide it in his room by very carefully unwrapping the roll of toilet paper and rewrapping it perfectly lined up with the drugs inside and regluing it. The prison chief knew he was up to something but was never able to prove it. He had a good thing going and then he realized that he could get out. He would smoke a little weed (he hadn´t been using anything this whole time, just selling it) and then his lawyer requested a drug test. When it came up positive, the lawyer told the judge that it was proof he was a drug user but there was never proof he´d sold it, and they let him out. Since then, he´s been living clean, working on a fishing boat (sometimes pirating when the fishing gets tough) that is out at sea for 45 days at a time and only comes in for one day and one night, and we just happened to catch him on that night. This story is a little sketchy for a couple reasons, but even if it is a lie, it´s quite a character study, nonetheless.
We went to the casino one night, which isn´t as sad as most casinos just because it´s no little old ladies spending their life savings one nickel at a time in the slot machines. All the people in there looked to have enough money to spend. We were high rolling with a 5 dollar each limit, but we got free drinks the whole time (i´m not sure why because that´s not actually a policy here, but we didn´t argue)so it was well worth it. I´ve been downing Flor de Caña Rum and Rojita (another spanish term that would be offensive in English- there´s a little indian girl with braids on the front and Rojita means Little Red Girl. Still, I find it less offensive than the La Negrita scrubber sponges that are all over the place here) which is kind of like cream soda. We´ve kept it pretty low key around here, with long lazy days of reading and lots of very interesting (to say the least) conversations. The beach is tomorrow and then more traveling...

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Chuchi - this is probably my new most popular word. It means snobby or fancy, but is used in the Peace Corps as anything nicer than dirt roads and shacks, or for a person, anyone who showers with hot water. Living in the city, I am super chuchi for here.

Fuerte - literally means strong, but because the culture is based on talking around everything, it´s when a person says anything they want in a direct way - it means asshole

Puede ser and otro dia - literally means "could be" or "another day", but because noone will directly blow someone off, both of them mean "never" and are the answer to a question of when something will happen

Deseas, en tus sueños, Que Arriba Perra/o and Es lo qué es - these are the terrible translations of American sayings that are not used here and don´t really translate, but we say them anyway. Literally they mean "you wish", "in your dreams", "What´s up bitch/dog?" and "it is what it is"

Qué guapa - this means "what a hard worker" and is used by Paraguayans every time I do ANYTHING manual, including carrying a dish to the sink or sweeping out my room. I don´t think they have high expectations for Americans and work.

Saludos - sending saludos by way of a mutual friend is how people tell each other they have a crush on them. The most serious kinds are given with a pinch on the arm and they mean business.

Thumbs up - this is done everywhere here and is a simple answer to pretty much any question. I will probably have carpal tunel in my thumbs when I leave here because I do this so much.

No se como comer esta - this is how one refuses food in Paraguay. Literally, it´s "I don´t know how to eat this" which creates an internal struggle for me each time it´s said because I want to be a smartass and explain that, just like any other food, you put in in your mouth and chew, but I don´t think that´s acceptable here.

No Más and Un poco - this is said after almost every phrase for no real reason other than to make everything sound like it´s not a big deal, even when it really is. Literally, it´s "No More" and "A Little", so the translations are something like "Sit down no more", "Come here a little", and "Do you want dinner no more?"

Cocido - this is a hot drink mixed by carmellizing sugar with a little yerba, adding just enough water to wet it, and then adding more sugar. It´s served by the thermos-full just before bed.

Mosto - this is to sugar what crack is to cocaine. It´s a "tradional" drink capable of putting even the sweetest tooth into a diabetic coma, and is served continuously at fun gatherings like funerals.

Ch-ch-ch-ch - this is the sound Paraguayans make to get each others´attention - like "Psst" . It´s especially used for catcalling, and they have nothing to follow it with - they just want you to look.