Monday, November 1, 2010

Dealing Drugs in Nicaragua

Despite the many wonders of October, I feel there is a more important matter to discuss. One that has been hinted at, but never fully discussed. I am of course, referring to just what exactly I am doing down here in Nicaragua.
I think I already covered the basics. Volunteering with the Jubilee House Committee, hanging out with my good friend Coury, and sticking my pointy gringo nose into Nicaraguan culture.

Working during the week, going out or so on the weekend. Exploring the surrounding area. Speaking bad Spanish and drinking coke from a plastic baggie. More importantly (at least in the sense of my, until now, ambiguous "Volunteering") I have been working in the JHC run clinic located in the near by community of Nueva Vida.

One of the JHC's major projects. The Clinic provides the residents of Nueva Vida with numerous medical services at a negligible cost. Patients either pay a fee of 30 Cordobas (less than a dollar fifty) or agree to spend half a day working for the clinic, which usually involves cleaning up the outside. For their troubles they are seen by a doctor and are given various medicines from the pharmacy.
Unlike Kim (Another volunteer who just so happens to be a trained nurse) I am not very good at sticking needles, or thermometers into people, and have spent my time working on the less important, background tasks that facilitate the clinic. I split myself between facilitating the filing system and working in the pharmacy. Filling out the patients prescriptions and desperately trying to understand the doctor's handwriting.

My clinic schedual usually follows the same pattern of: arriving, pulling patients files and putting away past ones, and then retiring to the pharmacy, which is wonderfully equipt with a ceiling fan. Depending on how many patients show up, I then spend the next few hours giving out medicine.

Leah (At some point I should probably go ahead and introduce the other volunteers in an actual post) works with me most of the time, but periodically dissappears to do "Green Pharmacy" stuff, which is a whole 'nother blog post in it's own, but basically amounts to making ointments and medicines from all natural ingredients, like Basil, Oregano, Lemon Grass and discount Rum.

Some days are more hectic than others. On Wednesday and Friday mornings Dr. Perez, the orthopedist, sees his large mass of returning patients. Though we can prepare ahead of time, because he usually prescribes the same medicine for each person: Predisone, Ibuprofen and Multivitamins, there is still a huge wave of people that descend upon the clinic. Sometimes the pediatrician is seeing patients at the same time, which slows everything significantly, as the children are often given many varied medicines.

In dire times, when the pile of unfilled prescriptions has become disconcertingly big, we call the other clinic workers for backup. Donellia, the woman who runs the clinic, and Henry, who is her second in command then descend upon the daunting orders and churn them out with frightening efficiency before returning to their numerous other tasks.

The process of filling out a prescription seems simple, but is hindered by the doctor's often erratic handwriting (for those who know my handwriting, please appreciate the fact that the doctors in the clinic are among the few living beings whose penmanship is worse than my own), inconsistent abbreviations and incorrect pronunciations. The doctor fills out a green sheet detailing which medicines and doses to give the patients, which the patients then bring to the pharmacy's window. We interpret their wishes, fill out a small card with the medical information and put that, along with the medicine in a little sandwich baggie. Tying them neatly and then calling out what is hopefully an accurate pronunciation of the patient's name, and explaining the medicine to them.

As it turns out. I am allergic to the plastic baggies. I learn this the hard way, after working in the clinic for a week or two and constantly wondering why my hands were so itchy and kept getting bumpy. Not a big deal though, I have simply had to start wearing gloves while working in the pharmacy. Which makes the clinic another in a succession of jobs where I spend most of my time wearing plastic gloves. Though these ones get signifigantly less dirty than the ones I wore on Building Services 2, or at Brueggars Bagels.

Genetic inferiorities aside, it's a relatively enjoyable job. Donellia and the rest of the clinic staff are a lot of fun to be around. Able to accomplish a lot and maintain a cheerful attitude through the lot of it. Handing out medicine has been a good, if somewhat repetitive, way to practice Spanish and if I ever do get that parasite that so many have prophesied I will have easy access to all the Albendazol that I could ever want.

To Get Back on the Right Track

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand we're back.

A month of radio silence is not very condusive to my plan to have composed a blog for each week, but I guess that just means I have to catch up with myself.

Much happened over the course of October. It is ripe with potential posts that I am sure will be riviting. Because really, who doesn't want to hear about gringos, unwanted cheetos, and hypothetical portals?

Where to start.
It's a little daunting.
People have left, others returned.

The rain has disappeared.

We celebrated multitude a birthdays.

Traveled to a Cloud Forest where I had Wiener Schnitzel for the first time since leaving Austria.

There was Halloween, swimming monkeys, fugitive dogs and some unfortunantly placed wasps.

Oh, and a brigade of cheerful Presbyterians from Charleston showed up for a week.

An embarassment of riches if ever there was one. In time I guess I will have to try and cover them all. I'm committed to it now that they've made their way onto the blog. So then, I guess all that I need to do is pick one and go at it.

In the interest of padding my Blog posts I am going to go ahead and post this while I start writing something of actual substance.

Hopefully it will not arrive too late. Anyway, for now I'll leave you with this:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

At the Beach

This Saturday found us with plans to travel down to the pacific coast in order to pay a visit to the beach. We left Jubilee House around the unholy hour of 9 am, The collective volunteers and siblings Murdock piled into one of the old ambulances that serve as transportation. We had hoped to take the van, but it had just finished being fixed and the higher powers were concerned that it might break down over the hour and a half drive to the beach.

Time estimations proved to be inaccurate. It took us around four. The major cause of this was a slight mechanical failure. A small black tube connecting the radiator to the engine decided that it was meant for better things and burst lose in a desperate bid for freedom.
At the time we were winding up a mountain road, having just come around a sharp turn. There was a sharp noise, like a popping tired, smoke from under the hood, and the car rudely stopped moving. We found ourselves stranded in the middle lane.

Unfortunately the emergency brake decided to follow suit, and fell apart as Matt attempted to use it. Forcing Matt to spend the entire debacle with his foot squarely on the break. After a few harrowing minutes Matt negotiated the car down the hill and out of the middle of the road. We ended up next to the hard turn. So that oncoming cars would notice and avoid hitting our crippled car, we stationed people and reflective orange triangles behind us.

One of the nice things about Nica's is that they look out for those around them. A passing motorcyclist, who happened to own a small toolbox, stopped when he saw our distressed vehicle and offered his assistance in reattaching the tube. The tube proved to be more stubborn than anticipated, and refused to reconnect, rudely opposing the various efforts of Daniel, the awesome strength of Felicia, and our helpful Nicaraguan friend.

Rojelio, the JHC's head of construction and savior of stranded gringos, arrived on the scene after an hour. With his own toolbox. In five minutes, the tube was reattached, the car was starting. Which just shows that you can do just about anything song long as you have the right tool.
After that we made good time, or tried too. The whole "tube debacle" took three or so hours out of our beach time, and we were eager to salvage the somewhat disheartening day. We progressed for awhile, until it was revealed that the "people who actually knew where we were going" were not paying attention, and those who were ignorant assumed that we were on track. The question eventually came up, and when it was discovered, we quickly stopped and asked directions. As it turns out, we had overshot the turn.

Making it back to the turn we got our first glimpse of hope: breaks in the distant clouds, sky outside of the fog that had clung to us since the car stopped. Transferring to a road that was lacking in maintenance, we descended from the mountains and headed to the beach. Rattling in our seats, The Murdock boys decided to instigate a sing along. We passed through a beach side town with half the car singing Barenaked Ladies' songs, to the bemusement of the locals.
We quickly ran out of common music, but we're saved from a prolonged concert by our arrival at the beach. Must like mating birds, the cabana workers swooped at our car, calling out reasons why they were above the rest of the competition. Promises of great restaurants, and surfing lessons and the like. I am curious how similar the cabana we stayed at is to the others offered up at us. They appeared to be relatively similar: A few hammocks, thatched roofs, a bar of sorts.

We ordered lunch and disappeared into the ocean. The water was welcoming and warm, a nice shield from the drizzling mist. After making up for our hours of immobility, we trudged back to shore and into the cabana. Finding it filled with people hawking their various sea shell turtles and shark's teeth necklace. It was like being canvased by a souvenir store. Coury bought some caramelized papaya. It's been said that papaya is somewhat of a hit or miss fruit, regardless of personal opinion, the papaya was thrown out when it was found that no one could stomach the 5 Cordoba treat.

We sat and talked for awhile, eagerly anticipating lunch. Eventually our orders came through and our food finally arrived. Hearing that the seafood was excellent, Kim ordered a lobster plate, which at 170 Cordobas (around 8 dollars) was probably the least expensive lobtser I've witnessed. Much smaller than their beefy cousins in the north, the local lobsters look more like really big crayfish than little lobsters.
While not as good as Bruno beach food, lunch was enjoyed by all and after,we celebrated the intermittent sunlight and took a walk down the beach. Upon our return we found that some of the children had ambushed Coury, who had stayed behind to doze in the hammock and watch our stuff, and he had now purchased a a lipstick wearing turtle and an armadillo glue-gunned out of countless sea shells.

We stayed long enough to break the weird "not Frisbee" throwing hoop thing, enjoy the waves, and showcase Daniel's affinity for football. After a few more hours we packed up and head back JHC, leaving with the sun. We skirted the mountains, hoping to stress the car less and instead made friends with a myriad of potholes. Luckily we made it back with out any break downs, and with relatively clear weather.
Despite the earlier setbacks, and lackluster weather (one cannot complain to much as we are approaching the peak of the rainy season), it was a fun day. Eventually it cleared up and even while it was raining we enjoyed ourselves at the beach. Going to the beach in Nicaragua is not like going to Edisto or Pensacola, the beach front is more developed and there is the need to keep someone with your bags at all times, but it still had it's charms. The staff facilitating our laziness, and bringing us lunch while we lounged under the cabana was definitely one of them.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Night in the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes

Amongst the other volunteers I am an anomaly. My tendency to stay up late leaves me as the sole person clinging to consciousness seemingly every night. I sit at the communal table reading or clicking away at my computer while the others retire to their respective rooms.
Nightly silence flows in and I can hear the distant chirp of bugs and the chatter of geckos. Most nights the rain has come and lent it's voice to the night sounds. Drumming on the roof and occasionally knocking debris free from the trees above us, which collide against the tin with the heavy reverberations of impacted metal.

Last night I found myself unexpectedly roused from my slumber. The night symphony was much livelier than it is currently. The songs of the insects mingled with the slow murmur of the fan by my bed and in the distance I could hear thunder pummeling the air as an inconsistent percussion. Preceding each beat was a flash of light that illuminate the whole of my room in a dull white light.

None of this is what had woken me up. I have grown accustom to the rumble of thunder, and can even find sleep when the storm is above me, pounding down upon the roof and splitting the sky. What pulled me back into consciousness was the short, wretched cries of a child in the distance.

All the sounds swirled together and mixed over me as I lay in my bed. I felt helpless and immobile. I wanted to find this child and do something to stop it's crying but knew the impossibility of my desire. Fear and logic kept me from moving.

I could not discern the cause of the crying, perhaps the child is sick, maybe it is simply upset because it was woken up late at night. It could be in danger, it could be morning the unexpected death of it's mother. Maybe it is just temperamental. I excused my inaction by telling myself that it was not my problem, that a gringo with shaky Spanish could do very little good by wandering around the streets of Ciudad Sandino late at night trying to find a crying child. That there are other people, more capable of dealing with the child, already out there and probably trying to help it. Logic kept me off my feet and in my bed. Safe in the locked dorm, in the walled compound, listening to the periodic whistles of the night security. I tell myself that maybe one of them will seek out the child and comfort it.

Eventually the child ceases it's wailing, leaving the chorus of noises conversing with my mind. In the distant lightning bludgeons the landscape. I hope that the child has found a joyful resolution. Listening to the susurrations of the artificial breeze I convinced my consciousness to relinquish it's grip and slip back into sleep.

I dreamed that I was in a familiar place. It was the first time I had set my eyes upon the scenery but it was not the first time I dug my feet into it's soil. Once again I walked through the landscape of my dreams and smelled the scent of dirt and pine on the breeze. It had changed. A massive tree I had expected has died, it remained as a large stump. Easily twice my height, there was a small group of people sitting on it. Concentric circles spread out under them, betraying a life incomprehensible in it's length. There were others around and I demanded an explanation for the giant's demise. It was a natural occurance but that did little to alleviate the wound. Looking at the forest around me I wondered how many more could rival the age of deceased ancient.

Descending into the final destination of consciousness is a bumpy landing. I skid in and out of the waking world, my thoughts slowly picking up with purpose and meaning. A jumble of the previous nights events. The last few minutes before the inevitable stretch into an eternity that ends far too soon. Flickering views of my dreams churn through my awakening mind, the corroded end of a film reel.

I lurch into the vertical world and with the excepting of a brief greeting move silently through my morning routine. I try and grasp the strands of my night and pull them together so that they will not escape into the rising sun. Already they have begun to slip away and I wage a mental battle to contain them. My dreams seem important, significant in ways I can't quite understand. Something that I should strive to hold onto. Many have wriggled free, but I have capture some with my pen, though I cannot fully describe them I can contain some of their essence and through that I can start to recall the dream.

I could not tell if the crying child that visited me in the night was real. The time I spent listening in silence is as surreal as the following dream and I wonder if the child's was ever actually distressed.

The thunder has once again returned, flashes of white illuminate the distance. Now that I have finished capturing the events of my last night (and finally put an update on the blog) I am headed toward sleep. Tonight I can hear dogs barking and people yelling jovially. I wonder what it is that I will dream of, and what I will hold onto as I wake up once again in the land of Lakes and Volcanoes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Food: The Sequel

One thing that people may not realize about Nicaragua is that although it is the second poorest country in Central America, it is not a bunch of destitute shacks. Before the massive earthquake in 1972 that destroyed most of the city and killed around twenty thousand inhabitants, Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, was the most advanced city in Central America. Despite the set backs of inconvenient natural occurrences and the corrupt spending of reconstruction funds by the ever popular Somoza dictatorship, it has still pushed forward, and is now privy to some of the first world's greatest technological marvels. Coke-Cola, Refrigeration, and Fast Food.

If rice and beans has got you down and you are feeling homesick for some artery clogging American food you can go to MacDonalds. You can order a McNifica Burger, which I theorize is the Spanish version of a Big Mac, and scarf it down with a large fries and a coke. It will be the same greasy quality that you would find in the states. For variety you could go to Burger King, or if you're looking to try some new Fast Food you can go to Tip-Top, a fried chicken venture.

Subway is also present in Nicaragua, as well as Pizza Hut. Both staying true to their American business practices of being relatively unappetizing. TGI Fridays also has a restaurant in Managua. With prices higher than those in the states, it is likely they have to import most of their frozen, to be fried, food from the U.S. It is surreal and a little disconcerting to go into the Fridays and witness same decorative miscellanea stuck on the walls that I have seen in Boston. My guess is that there is a factory somewhere dedicated to producing the "homey" scooters, fake books, street signs and other crap that covers the walls of TGI Fridays. They must have send those down along with the shipments of buffalo wings, chicken tenders and oversized Margarita glasses.
Along with the imported food and decorations, we were also subjected to the Disney channel, which has also reached it's diabolical tendrils into Central America, but it was mercifully turned off halfway through the meal.

Eating at the Fridays was quite strange. With the prices stated in dollars and most of the menu in English, it was almost exactly like the sub-par dining experiences that Fridays offers in the states. Though I believe the wait staff was friendlier, and they were more enthusiastic about singing to celebrate our fellow patron's birthday. Aside from the (almost) entirely Nicaraguan staff and diners, one could easily mistake it for any of the hundered of TGI Fridays present in the states.

The disparity between life in Managua and life outside of the city is striking. While there is an abundance of restaurants, clubs, stores and other places representative of development inside the city, outside there are people who exist without electricity, without plumbing, and some incredibly unfortunate souls are even without internet access. While some Nicaraguans have access to, and enjoy the results of an advancing world, many are still without them. There are people who are fortunate to own a refrigerator, who have to pump and then carry water up winding mountain paths. Nicaragua has felt the presence of progress but it is still not universal.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

To Keep From Being Misleading

Perhaps I should talk about the food. This does, after all, claim to be a blog about food. Yet I don't think I have done much aside from upload a picture or two and make an off handed comment. So here's a window into my recent culinary adventures.

One of my first "Nicaraguan" meals was lunch at El Porvenir, a small coffee growing co-op about three hours off of any sort of paved road and up a mountain, it consisted of a tortilla, farmer's cheese, beans, rice, a mixture of fried egg and other beans and a section of squash type vegetable.

Rice and beans are a very common meal item, often appearing together as Gallo pinto, the national dish of Nicaragua. A combination of fried red beans, rice, cilantro and other flavorings, it is one of the more delicious ways to stock up on protein and starch. Gallo pinto is generally served at both breakfast and dinner, though it often shows up for lunch as well.

Another frequent face at meals is that of the fruit juice, generally called Refresca. Made from just about any of Nicaragua's abundant fruits, the Refresca varies greatly in taste and color. From sweet pineapple to the vibrant pink pitahaya (dragon fruit).

Speaking of pineapples, one thing I found interesting was that the pineapples native to Nicaragua are white, the yellow pineapples that I am used to are called Dorados (Spanish for gold) and come from Costa Rica.

Surprisingly enough, as it turns out, tortilla chips are made from cut up corn tortillas that are then fried. I'm not exactlly sure why I did not make the connection earlier, but if you get the opportunity, I highly suggest them.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

We're going to take a brief break from Nicaragua based news to discuss, well, in a very liberal perspective, one of the reasons why I am even writing this blog, and arguably one of the reasons as to why I am in Nicaragua. That reason being, of course, Douglas Adams.

Those of you who known me in the recent years have likely heard me go on about Terry Pratchett and could assume, without being completely incorrect, that he is my favorite author. Others that have known me for longer may be aware of the awe with which I have held Douglas Adams in for quite some time.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the rest of it's five part trilogy were the first books that really spoke to me, that inspired me to consider them beyond simple entertainment. The way Douglas Adams structured his scenes, the absurd yet amazing descriptions, his seemingly irrelevant yet infinitly important details first made me appreciate writing as an art form, as something more than just the mere telling of a story.

An avid traveler, a dedicated environmentalist and supporter of emerging technology, Douglas Adams showed me that being an author did not simply mean sitting behind a desk and plinking away at the same carbon-copy plot structure, switching up the names and settings every now and then. He climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in a Rhino suit (to be wholly truthful, he traded off wearing the suit with the other members of the expedition) in order to raise awareness for the endangered animal, played back up guitar for Pink Floyd, and appeared in Monty Python's Flying Circus. Just to name a few of his feats.

I write all this, because I have finally mustered the courage to read The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, the sequel to Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, and the only novel in the painfully small list of works authored by Douglas Adams that I have not read. It was surreal to learn of Douglas Adams' death in 2001, even more disconcerting because considering his status as a vehemently outspoken atheist, I figured there was little chance of meeting him in the afterlife. Since then I have done my best to slowly move through his works, and now that I move onto the final book, I have all but exhausted the work of my literary inspiration. What remains that I have not read are a few compilations and other short works by him, but no other fully realized stories.

Douglas Adams has unfortunately passed and gone on to whatever fate he didn't believe awaited him. But so long as his work exists, and continues to hold sway over his audience, to wiggle it's way into their minds and make them twitch and bubble with strange and unusual thoughts, then he still lives in a somewhat flowerly and dramatic sense. Even if it is only evident in myself, he has had one of the biggest hands in shaping who I am and who I want to be.

One of my biggest regrets is that I will be unable to meet him and tell him of the impact he has had on me, the next best thing is to release it to the internet that he had looked toward with such enthusiasm and hope. I can turn others onto his works, and hopefully they will impact them the same way they have effected me.

Now I must go, I have a book to read.

P.S The concept of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, of an electronic encyclopedia about everything, that is updated by roving reporters at a distance, shares some very similar traits with that of the increasingly popular Wikipedia. Admittiedly Wikipedia is written less humorously, but the functions are quite similar. Just some food for thought.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The More Natural Side of Nicaragua

Last Saturday we spent the day playing witness to Nicaragua's abundant natural splendor.
We drove out to Volcán Masaya, a series of volcanic crators, some of which are still active. The San Tiago crator bollowed out huge plumes of smoke over the entiery of our visit.

Named the Mouth of Hell by the conquistadors who "discovered" it, the San Tiago crator remains one of the more active volcanos in Nicaragua, last erupting in 2001. In order to contain the evil, the Spaniards errected a large cross overseeing the volcano. The original one has long since been destroyed by the motions of the volcano, but they have replaced it since it last fell.

In keeping with the volcano theme, we then drove down to the Laguna de Apoyo, a huge lagoon that now fills a once active crator. The sulfer from the volcano continues to pass into the lagoon, which is apparently the cause of the intense aquamarine color of the water.

The laguna is home to a myriad of hostels and vacation spots. We patronized one called Crater's Edge, which is awesomely beautiful. Fitting a stereotype of a tropical paradise retreat. They offer massages, a lagoon-side bar, and most importantly, wonderfully warm water to swim or kayak in. They served us omelet sandwiches on banana leaves, which we enjoyed from the rocking chairs overlooking the lagoon.

Much clearer than what I am used to swimming in, it was strange to be able to see the bottom of the lagoon, but be unable to swim far enough down to reach it. The depth increases rapidly as you move away from the water's edge, twenty feet from the shore I found myself unable to reach the bottom despite my best efforts.
In keeping with it's surreal, paradise feel. Crater's Edge plays haven to numerous animals. There are numerous cats lounging around the retreat, as well as two squirrels that the owner has begun feeding after their mother abandoned them in the aftermath of one of the many rainy season storms. Having been somewhat domesticated, the squirrels had no problem approaching us, one quickly scaled my leg and disappeared into my shirt. Eventually lured out with the appearance of it's own lunch.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I have made it to Nicaragua. For those interested in my survival, I continue to live and function normally and have not been kidnapped or acquired some horrid disease, at least to my knowledge. I arrived in Managua around noon yesterday, having missed my original flight to Nicaragua due to my connecting flight needing to under maintenance for their malfunctioning air-conditioning. I ended up spending the night in Miami, American Airlines was kind enough to put me up in a local hotel and give me twenty five dollars worth of airport food coupons. The night was uneventful and I made it south of the border with little incident.

The view from the plane was amazing. The picture does not do the view justice, trying to appropriately represent the beauty with a picture taken from an airplane window is a difficult task. I spent a good amount of the flight in awe of the turquoise ocean below me.

I am unsure of what to talk about in my blog. There is far too much to know where to begin, so perhaps I will start with the basics and gradually work my way up.

For those that do not know, I am working with the Center for Development in Central America, which you can read about at

Located in scenic Ciudad Sandino, outside of Managua, the compound sports a number of buildings encased in a rather imposing fence. The volunteer dorm is toward the back end of the compound, and is a two story building. The long term volunteers stay on the second floor and the short term delegations stay in the bunks on the bottom. It is also where we gather for meals. Here is a picture of my room. It's rather spartan but all I really have need for is the bed and fan. I have not had much time to become otherwise established, but I'm sure it will only get less organized as time goes on.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Story So Far

The sky was awash in the gold of the breaking day as my mother dropped me off at Boston's Logan Airport, where I would take the first step in a long and convoluted dance from Massachuseetts, to the Carolinas, and eventually Nicaragua. As the sun slowly rose I made my way through the newly improved security screening area and into the long boarding line. Like industrial livestock the Air Tran personnel herded us into the plane and to our tightly packed seats. I stashed my backpack above me and then promptly fell asleep.

Two hours later I walked out of Charlotte's Airport and into a wall of heat and cigarette smoke. Though it usually measures higher than that of Massachusetts, I have found the heat of Carolina to be easier to endure than that up north. Perhaps it is because one expects the heat, as opposed to in the north, where the weather is fickle and unreliable.

From Charlotte I made my way to Asheville, and after two weeks of lazing about and visiting friends I found myself traveling yet again to Edisto Island, South Carolina. Two days later I arrived at my current location, the lovely Charleston International Airport, where I am currently waiting to board my 3:50pm flight to Miami. I am scheduled to take the 5:50pm flight to Nicaragua today, however I don't think that I will make my flight.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Brief Introduction

Hello Internet,

This marks my second attempt at a blog. Hopefully this one will find more success in it's upkeep than my last. I am writing this because I love to travel, I enjoy food, and I like writing and pontificating about both.

In a week I am departing for Nicaragua, where I will spend the next five months or so volunteering with the Center for Development in Central America. To create some sort of writing based structure I am obligating myself to this blog. I pledge to update at least once a week, hopefully more if inspiration strikes.

"Go places and eat things" It's the Bruno family motto. My family goes through grocery stores the way other families view museums. I have been lucky enough to travel to Europe and Asia in the past, but have never ventured out of U.S borders while on my home continent. Nicaragua, and the world of Central America is a completely new culture for me. One of many that I live in relatively close proximity too, yet have never seen and know little about. Though I can buy books and research the country with the convenience of the Internet, it is a step into the relatively unknown. It is my desire to learn and experience a new culture, and capture what I've learned on the page so that I may share it with the rest of you.

- Paul

Thank you for reading my blog. If you wish to make any comments, point out incorrect grammar, agree or disagree with my claims, or just want to say hello, please feel free to leave a post or shoot me an email.