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.


  1. I can't believe that you went to THE fabled TGI Fridays.

  2. i cant believe you havent updated this utterly gripping blog in 2 weeks!

  3. also, paulus, tell me and thomas where you are in DS9 and if you want us to wait until your glorious return to continue.