Light Gone?

Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua is an interesting community.

When I was here last year, very few had running water, only wells, and the street light stopped just shy of downtown, where we live. Uptown is where the majority of businesses are located.

This year, there is running water and you can see taps projecting out of the ground on many properties. Few have as yet put running water or flushing toilets into their homes but it is coming…soon. Sidebar…the water still tastes like dirt to this Canadian woman!

Road construction and repairs are also underway here. I’m told that the road used to be green grass which made Pearl Lagoon a pretty place. Now, the roads are rocks and gravel and like the Peanuts character Pig Pen, there is always a cloud of dust and dirt in the air. They’ve dug up a good portion of the roads in uptown so they are barely passable, even on foot.

The long-time residents are skeptical that the roads will be repaired since they have seen this level of activity before and no results. They are also aware that the rainy season is coming which will see these dug up roads turn to mud. I’m hopeful especially so that I can wear my sandals without fear of breaking my leg or twisting my ankle on the craggy roads and so that I don’t have to wipe down my laptop each time a car passes by our house.

There is no mail delivery in Pearl Lagoon or its neighborhood communities. No one has a mailing address as the houses do not have numbers and the streets don’t have names. The three main ones are called for where they lay so front, middle and back street. Sounds simple but try having a package delivered. You can’t. You would have to get an address in Bluefields and then go pick it up from there. Getting to Bluefields means taking a panga (boat). It costs NIO$160 or US$7 and is 1-hour each way from wharf to wharf, if everything is on time which happens occasionally. For a little higher price, you can also take a bus to Kukra (1/2 hour on terribly rocky roads) then a taxi to the wharf and then take a 30-minute panga from there. This isn’t bad a terrible system if you have something important or a lot of merchandise coming in but this becomes expensive and time-consuming if it is only junk mail.

There are now street lights on most of the three main streets as well, though there is still a problem with the loss of power from time-to-time throughout the day.  The question, “Light gone?” is a common refrain heard at least once daily. Luckily it doesn’t affect many functions like cooking as it would in North America because they cook either with propane or on coals, but it does affect television-watching and high velocity super deluxe air circulators. I just call them fans.

There are two things you really shouldn’t mess with here and those are fans and novellas. It is hot here, especially since we are experiencing an extended dry-weather season. And I mean really hot! Imagine, if you wil,l getting out of a cold shower and within about 15 seconds of being out of that shower being awash anew in sweat as you attempt to get dressed.  If you aren’t standing in front of or underneath a fan as you dress, it becomes an exercise in futility especially if you are a woman and are trying to put on a bra.   It is not just this Canadian this happens to. I’ve watched the members of my new family suffer this experience as well and they are native Nicaraguans!

Oh and novellas. They are Spanish soap operas and while I wouldn’t watch soap operas when I was in Canada, I don’t miss a novella if I don’t have to. Of course, I don’t understand a word they are saying but I was able through body language to get the drift, that is, until I figured out how to turn on the closed captioning in English. Now, I’m right in the thick of the conversation with the most committed novella watchers. I have arrived!

But for me, the power outage is more than a nuisance. My livelihood now relies on having reliable electricity. I got smart and make sure that I keep my computer and cell phone fully charged but when the power goes, so does my internet connection. That means no email, no Google search, no Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and it means I lose the ability to run my online business at http://www.ccarolbrown.com.

How good is a virtual assistant, blogger and online trainer who has no virtual presence? See my problem?

Ah, Pearl Lagoon!

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