Yesterday was a travel day topped off by a radical change of scenery. We left South Georgia at its hottest and driest. It is crazy hot, even at night. Last night we went to bed with the windows open, falling asleep to a light rain. The temperature just right for a ceiling fan and a single sheet. This morning is cool with everything fresh and damp with last night’s drizzle. Stepping outside was like stepping into a tropical dream.
We gathered at the outdoor dining area of the hotel for one of what would be a series of out-of-control meals. Eggs, tortillas, fresh passionfruit juice, homemade jelly, fresh cheese, and beans and rice. You heard me right – beans and rice. Rodney says that the typical diet in Nicaragua is not monotonous. For breakfast, you eat “beans and rice.” For lunch, you have “rice and beans.” And for dinner, you have “gallo pinto” – the Nicaraguan name for the national dish of, you guessed it, beans and rice. As disgusting as it sounds, these beans and rice are really tasty and stick to your ribs.
After breakfast, we gather in the conference room for a Spanish lesson taught by Arturo. Arturo is a bilingual Mexican-American with a degree in teaching English as a second language. He is one of several Peace Corps volunteers we will meet over the coming days. Arturo deftly explains several basic Spanish phrases with a Nicaraguan twist such as the languid “BOOO-WEEEEE-NAAAS” as the catch-all Good Morning-Good Day-Good Afternoon. A unforgetable discussion of Nicaraguan body language from pooched lips to hand signals followed.