Today was a bit of a sad day, I said goodbye to Tamarah as she flew back to Costa Rica to finish out the last few days of her trip and then head home to Canada. She is going to visit some faily friends and then take off. It is never easy to say goodbye to someone you have grown close to, but that is the nature of traveling and knowing that coming into anything makes the seperation easier. She is a fantastic person and I feel lucky to have gotten to know her and spend the time with her that I did. I hope our pathes cross again some day.
I learned another thing too, and that is that traveling with a girl can be a lot of fun. Now, I know to a lot of people that sounds a bit rediculous and that what makes someone a good traveling companion depends far more on their personality than their sex, but here is my reasoning. I have only ever lived or traveled with guys as an adult. With guys, I know what to expect for the most part. I assume they wont mind getting dirty, traveling in places that may be a bit intimidating, occasionaly sleeping in places that may be a bit dirty, and dealing with stressful situations that invariably arrise while traveling in a way that I am used to dealing with.
With a girl, I had a bit of a fear that there would be too many feelings involved with everything, and that there would be a need on my part to have to always look for ¨cute¨ places to stay as opposed to practical places. I was afraid that I would have to skip out on stuff that I wanted to do as most girls would probably not be interested in the same types of activities. I was afraid that during a stressful situation I would have trouble communicating and dealing with it in a way that I was used to and that would not cause friction. And, mostly, I was afraid that I would always be on high alert and stressed out a bit trying to look out for the girl with me as a lot of the places I have been are a bit on the scary side around here.
Now obviously those thoughts are stereotyping quite a bit, and that in reality there are a lot of women that would love to do out doors types of activities, explore chaotic central american cities and be fine in stressful situations but in truth, the types of girls that I am normally around, would not. So, to meet a girl that I was attracted to, that was fun, self reliant, easy going and helpful in any situation, no matter how stressful really was great for me. I was happy to have my fears disproved, and now with experience, they seem silly to me. There were still times where I was a little on edge going though rough areas with Tamarah, but that is an unavoidable part of traveling and an acceptable risk.
So now I look forward to traveling with anyone so long as they have the right charactersitics. It also makes me think that one day down the road I can live with a girl, as that was something that I have always worried about! I have only ever lived with guys as an adult and it was tough for me to imagine it otherwise, although it would be a pretty lonely life for me if I didn´t try it! These past two months have really been a great learning experience for me and have made me reevaluate how I look at a lot of things.
As for now, I am in Managua, which is a pretty rough city. I have never seen a city so impoversihed as this, not even Tijauana. People live in dirt floored houses if they are lucky, and cardboard lean-toos covered in plastic tarp if they are not so lucky. The roads are as often dirt as paved and covered with mountains of litter and the people drive like maniacs, especially the cabbies. Speaking of which, the cabbies here are absolute sharks. They try and screw every gringo out of their money. I dont mind paying a bit more than the locals, but here it is obscene. They try to charge you 20 bucks for a ride that should cost 4. They lie, beg, renig on deals agreed upon, all to try and squeeze you for ever last penny. I hate it and seriously lose my temper at times and start yelling at them. When you agree on a price, get in, and then the cabbie tries to up the fare mid trip, I just cant handle that. I dont like most cabbies much, to be honest.
We got stuck here because our luggage didnt come with us from the Corn Islands on the morning flight we took back to the mainland. So, we had to wait for the second flight over of the day, which arrived at night. That ruined our plans as we were going to go to Leon and hang out there for our last few days, but obviously we couldnt go anywhere without our stuff. So, we had to get a room in a hotel in a really bad part of town, go back to the airport and find our bags which luckily did make it over. Then to get our bags, we had to ¨tip¨ the guys who helped us. Tip here meaning bribe. Finally, we got our stuff, and then decided it wasnt worth it to go to Leon for only a day and come right back. The Corn Island trip turned out to be a really bad move as the weather was terrible and it is very expensive there. It was really dissapointing as we had been looking forward to it, but oh well. Lesson learned, always check the weather before going somewhere! We managed to warn a group of Canadian travellers staying at our Hotel about the Corn Islands and saved them from a similar experience.
The people here are very poor, too. You see kids everywhere working their butt´s off. They stand in traffic carrying all manner of food and drinks to sell for a few cordobas (one cordoba is 5 cents). Sometimes you see little kids swinging hammers or diggin ditches alongside their parents, its crazy. I am gong to bring my kids to the third world when they are young and show them how other people in the world live. Hopefully they will see how incredibly lucky they are to live in the States.
However, despite the poverty, Nicaragua is still, along with Costa Rica, the safest place in Central America. The people are really nice so long as they aren´t sitting behind the wheel of a cab and I still love this place, despite some of the downsides.
So that is all for now, all my love to everyone back home and I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!