Everything is bigger in Texas - as a proud Texan, that is what I have always believed. Last week however, I have learned that this is not necessarily true. I learned this important lesson from a cockroach when one morning we came face to face in my shower. It was, without a doubt, the biggest roach I've ever seen - but it was no match for the bottom of my flip flop. Revenge was sweet however for the Blatteria family (the scientific classification of the cockroach species, in case you weren't sure) later that week, when I stumbled into the bathroom half asleep, and barefoot - only to watch helplessly as another roach scurried across my floor. I like to think I'm fairly tough - but not tough enough to step on a roach with my barefoot! Still, I'm coming out ahead in the ongoing battle - so far the score is Jenny 5, Cockroaches 1. Hopefully this won't end like Davidson's run in this year's NCAA - because in the end, we all know, I am the underdog - and my cinderalla story may not last for long.
So maybe about this time my more faithful readers are thinking to themselves - wow, this would be good time to send Jenny a letter, or a nice care package from the states. But see, here is where you would run into a bit of trouble, because the streets of Managua, literally, have no names (and may in fact be the inspiration for the well known U2 song). It is yet another wonder of Nicaraguan infrastructure. So the address of the house where we are living this summer is: "From the Enecal office, 1 and 1/2 blocks "arriba" (that means east, as in where the sun comes up), white fence, #74". If we get in a taxi and that doesn't work, we can also try "From the Vicky (which is a restaurant that actually no longer exists, but everyone seems to know), two blocks "abajo" (as in west, where the sun goes down), half a block towards the lake (north), 1 and 1/2 blocks arriba". Amazingly, the system seems to work, and everyone finds their way to where they need to go one way or another - but you're off the hook for the care package.
The good thing about Managua is that it is only about two and a half hours from San Juan del Sur - a great little beach town where we spent the weekend. Thanks to Daniel G.'s recommendation, we spent Saturday night in a lovely little inn called La Posada Azul (www.laposadaazul.com, for anyone planning a surf trip) - where we enjoyed the pool, the AC, and the hot showers. There was not a roach in sight - but there were a few caged birds by the pool that would whistle every time you walked by. This was very reassuring for someone who hadn't been in a bathing suit in a long while, and was a bit worried about blinding someone with her glowing white skin. You gotta take what you can get - even if its from a bird.
While we were there, I got the chance to go diving again. I'll have to say, the diving here, at least on this coast - leaves something to be desired - the visibility was pretty poor, and the surge about wiped me out. But, the boat ride alone made it worth it because the coastline was so amazing - so much so that I'm sharing this not very flattering picture of myself (post two dives) - so you can see how pretty it was.
The rest of the weekend was equally pituresque (though this isn't actually our hotel, but the ritzy resort where we went for lunch) - without the windblown hair and the sexy wet suit!
This week has gotten off to quite the start, with a twelve hour work day that is becoming the norm. In addition to my main projects, I had my first consulting session today with an entrepreneur who eventually hopes to apply for funding from Agora. She has started a small business selling specialized Nicaraguan sweets, and now has the opportunity to potentially sell them through Wal-Mart (which owns most of the big grocery stores here). I'll be working with her over the next few weeks to guide her through writing a new business and expansion plan - which makes me wish I had actually learned something in my operations class this year! Nevertheless, it should be a good learning process (for both of us), and a good excuse to try the sweets.
(Note: I just reread through this post and found and corrected a bunch of typos - but for those of you who just recently started reading my blog, I thought I should reiterate my disclaimor in my original post that I make no apologies for spelling and grammatical errors made on the road!)