Toughen up kids, the world is a rough place.
Back on track: I am now the proud owner of the best $10 duct-tape engineering Nicaragua has to offer. I bought a bike. It is an enormous pìece of shit, enormous. It has no suspension. One of the links in the chain is bigger than the rest so about every six or seven seconds you get a spine crunching, grinding jolt as the big link goes through. It is hideous. It suffers from some sort of bike epilepsy that causes the rear end of it to wiggle all the time. The kickstand staunchly refuses to stay up.
But it has a banana seat. And I adore it. A banana seat!
Nothing in Nicaragua gets thrown out, really - it just gets cobbled together and re-used. There are no thrift shops here. You fix and mend things until they are no longer fixable or mendable and then you grudgingly sell them for scrap metal or whatever. My bike is a veritable Franken-bike, reconstructed from pieces of a million dead bikes by the bike repair guy around the corner. The frame is probably a 1960´s or 70´s children´s bike. It has enormous motocross tires. God only knows where the hell the seat came from.
Maybe you could paint it, Noel suggests. In my bad spanish I tell him that all the paint en el mundo is not going to help this.
When I am locking it up outside the internet cafe the other day the woman who runs it comes out. I don´t think, she tells me, you really need to lock that thing up.
I do anyway. Bikes here are stolen all the time. Part of my goal in buying the ass-ugliest bike in Nicaragua was to avoid the hassle of having a bike stolen. No one is stealing this piece of shit. No one.
And the bell works, too. Ding ding.
I´m still on work break, now in Leon with my friend Kristen. A few days back we were on Ometepe Island. I cannot stress how bad the dog problem is in this whole country, not just Granada. This dog below was hanging out on the main street. While we were there we kept buying him food - hot dogs, ham, leftover chicken. But this dog sleeps in the dust next to the bus station off the ferry docks where a million tourists walk by him every day. Even though Nicaragua doesn´t have enough money or resources to deal with it´s animal issues, there´s something about the situation that makes me angry. How has this dog been allowed to get this bad? How can all of these well-fed white eco-tourists walk by this every day and do fucking NOTHING? I´m sure some of them do what we did - buy food or what-have-you but I saw tons of them walk right by it again and again and do nothing. When we were walking around a restaraunt owner came out to try to chase it away by hitting it with a chain. A CHAIN. Kristen and I said something and he stopped. The other gringos on the porch - and there many - did nothing.
Conversely the Volcano Tour Guide company people - all Nicas - save all their lunch leftovers to feed this dog every day. Johan, the Nica guy who owns the company, was feeding him some empanadas while I was waiting for Kristen. 'This dog', he tells me, 'it probably will not live much longer. But every day we give it some food and think maybe today, it will have another day. It is a nice dog. It deserves more days.'
For over seven hours Donna and Joyce did nothing but pick ticks off this poor dog. I'd like to say I've never seen anything like this here before but we have. If anyone wonders why I was begging, borrowing and stealing any Frontline plus, Advantage, all that crap, before I left this is why.
I would love to post more pics of him now but I'm actually back from Leon now - again, only for a few days, more on that later. But I have no pictures. Because my camera got boosted in Leon. Luckily I downloaded the pics in this entry prior to leaving for Leon.
In all the time I've spent in this country I've never had anything boosted. And whoever took it out of my bag took only that - they left all my cash, my passport, my credit card. All of which I would have rather have had stolen than my camera as I use it so much for this blog. I hope karma bites someone in the ass really badly for that. I really do. May they get scabies - sarcoptic mange/sarna. But tomorrow I go on a camera hunt to buy another one.
Porsha had her eye removed and got spayed and looks great. Once I get another camera - and I will but it will cost me out the ass here - I'll put up new pictures. The puppy is the size of a small car. Again, hope to have pics later.
Only one more week of me being here and there and everywhere and then I will return to my normal posting schedule. In the interim I should have another odd interlude post about travels, odd coincidences and other non-animal related events.
To Karen Foster, the other Karen, all the people who sent money to the Building New Hope site but didn't mention this blog - I thank you. They thank you. Ticky thanks you. Porsha, Freda and the enormous puppy thank you. Though the fifteen million ticks we assassinated while cleaning Ticky up probably aren't grateful. But honestly, you rock.