I fixed the images in the last two posts, in case anyone cared. They weren’t linked to a larger original photograph, because I was using some new software to make the post and hadn’t configured it properly. Now you can click and see the bigger pictures…
I received this message from Excel while working with some data yesterday afternoon. It’s good, because I was sick of getting those pesky error messages. This is an excellent solution to buggy software, Microsoft – elimination of the error message = elimination of the error.
On the 17th, I took a bus to Nicaragua to renew my visa in Costa Rica. After 90 days, citizens of most other countries must leave CR for 3 days before they can enter again and renew a 90 d tourist visa.
I arrived safely in Rivas, although I got scammed out of $40, and stayed my first night in a nice hotel in San Juan del Sur. The next morning, I moved to a private room in a near-by hostel and have remained here since. After moving, I immediately hit the beach in Bahia San Juan for a few hours of body surfing. It was a fun and exciting experience, although, at times, a bit scary because the waves were about as large as I had ever been in and I was alone, so if one were to incapacitate me, that’d probably be it…
I have been eating most meals at a local Soda because they have cheap, typical Nica foods and they are right across the street from my hostel. The first time I had gone there, I was short 3 cordobas (15 cents), which I repaid soon after to the excitement of the folks in the soda. I don’t think they expected payment; there are a lot of douche bag gringos around town, and in my hostel, who don’t appear to appreciate the culture or the people here. For example, yesterday, while eating lunch at the Soda (Soda Arena Blanca, by the way), there was a gringo surfer (non-American by his accent) who ordered some typical Nicaraguan food, including a taco. First while he paid for his meal, he made no attempt to understand the waitress when she said ‘setenta’ for his bill (70). He simply made a writing gesture impatiently and made her get a calculator to show him the number. Additionally the waitress asked why he didn’t finish his taco, to which he replied (in English), ‘this isn’t a fucking taco. I only like Mexican tacos’. The waitress, not fully understanding the tone and meaning behind the guest’s statement, laughed and he rolled his eyes. It sounded to me, however, that he was seriously angry and did not mean to be funny. He was simply intolerant of a completely different culture’s definition of the term taco, which is more like a Mexican flauta in Nicaragua. I’ve seen several other instances of inconsiderate gringos acting rude or disrespectful to locals, kind of like they believe they are deserving some kind of worship as a customer simply, perhaps, because they have money. Many people, including this guy, don’t even appear to attempt to learn any Spanish, even numbers! Further, I’ve met folks who’ve been in Latin America for months and still ask locals questions totally in English. I think it’s arrogant and disrespectful. I had previously felt bad because my own Spanish is very limited, but I do actively attempt to at least start conversations in Spanish with locals while I’m travelling, even if I know they speak English (like at my hostel). It’s a wonder anyone here is kind and tolerant of foreigners with some of the attitudes I’ve seen.
On Friday, I took a shuttle to a nearby beach with a group of women in my hostel. The beach was fantastic: secluded, big waves, warm water. It was a lot of fun to body surf and hang out somewhere other than the OTS field station in Palo Verde. I was also exposed to some culture behind long-term travelers. The group I was with consisted primarily of English, Dannish, and American women who were avid travelers and had been doing so for a least a few months. They were easy going with respect to their plans on their trips, not having any straight forward dates on when to go where. However, they started to plan to go to several tourist hotspots in Nicaragua as well as other Central American countries. If San Juan del Sur is like any of the places they were planning on going, I would not likely enjoy visiting them, particularly for the money. Not the San Juan is crummy or boring, it’s just a tourist hotspot; a place to blow some money and relax, but a place I don’t really enjoy… maybe there are too many people.
After returning on Friday, a headache I had developed proceeded to worsen and I fell asleep by 6:30. I awoke a few hours later with a fever and nursed it most of yesterday by sleeping. I did head to a hospital to get a prescription and see what tests they could do. I got a prescription, but the testing center isn’t open until Monday. I’m recovering now, and don’t feel too terrible. If I have time when I return to Costa Rica tomorrow, I’ll see another doctor. Interestingly, the was zero cost to visit the doctor yesterday and only 90 cordobas for the medication ($4.50). Fuck the US health care system.
I didn’t bother to bring my camera, so no pictures.
Dan, at Molecularfossils.com, has posted an article on Laccaria bicolor, a predatory ectomycorrhizal fungus that can prey on collembola. I thought it was interesting and wanted to comment and link my collembola picture to his post…. I had trouble commenting, so I wanted to write it here before I forgot.