Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What's in a Name?

So many Anglo-Saxon names are difficult to pronounce to people’s native tongue in Español. Let’s face it, not as many first world tourists have problems pronouncing cerveza as locals here have saying the name Jimmy, for example; it comes out yim-nee.

Another case in point: Kristin (me) and Shannon (my sister).

Kristin:is commonly but butchered in the following way:

And Shannon…
Cha- know
Sha- whoa + many other variations we haven’t yet figured out how to put in writing. Thus, we’ve decided to alter our names: Kristin has become Kristina and Shannon converted to Shakira.

The results have been encouraging and deemed success as of yet, especially Shakira. Who doesn’t like this peppy, blonde, spiral curl head super star? Facers light up immediately when we introduce the former Shannon as Shakira. A glimpse of recognition flashes across their faces of if to say, “Hey, I know who Shakira is. I know you already!” Then, they get suddenly timid as they begin to ponder whether or not she really is the real thing. It’s a win-win, as they’re as happy they can pronounce our names as we are.

Organic Farms & the Nica Interior

Going 3 years traveling in, about or around Nicaragua, most of my time has been spent surfing, walking coastal farms or searching for beach side property. I’ve scoured out practically every surfable wave between Gran Pacifica + Jiquilillo over the past 6 months. I also love my beachfront rancho-style hideaway. But living in Nica, part of the job and responsibility of being a foreigner here is learning about the different people, culture + attributes of other regions of the country besides San Juan del Sur, Popoyo + the Northern Coastline. So over the weekend, on a whim at 4am, Shan and I decided to visit the more temperate climate of the mountainous agricultural dept of Estelí.

The fresh air, green valleys and mountains were reminiscent of Costa Rica. All types of produce and coffee is grown here. The trip from Chinandega/ Acerradores was a solid 5 hours, with each roadway an education into a different etapa of Nicaragua history. But, the destination well worth it. So what if the tobacco factory where Cuban puros are hard rolled was closed, and we had to switch hotels after checking into a place with not-so-hospitable hospitality. We now know where to go/where not to go, and were at least able to buy 3 lunches for ourselves + trusty driver for $4 including fresh pineapple juice, plus purchase hand carved marble earrings for $1/ each.

The highlight of our night in Estelí were the delectable margaritas at Café Vuela Vuela dowtown. I was also super excited to visit an organic farm and do some Swiss goat cheese tasting (Who knew!) in the farming cooperative and protected land of La Garnacha. Shannon made fun of me because organic celery and bok choy excite me. There was also a beautiful “mirador” where you can see lake Managua, Volcán Mombacho, Cerro Negro + San Cristobal all from one look-out.

We were a little bummed that with all the fertile land sprawling the countryside, the 22 people on 140 manzanas at La Garnacha are the only ones we have heard of besides hear near Ometepe who take advantage of the ability to farm organically. We bought a few plant to add to the ever–growing garden at our new Century 21 Marina office on 5 acres of land, while the coop also gave seeds for veggies and pine trees to my driver. His family has always been agricultural but hopefully now Osmar will bring back some of the education he got at the farm to the locals in his own community of Acerradores “Poco a Poco”, hopefully we foreigners can make a different here and share new, more advanced ways of doing old tasks.