Monday, December 10, 2007

Slowly Settling

Corn Island is very very chilled out. Like the rest of the atlantic coast in Nicaragua, it's majority population are black, and speak an english/creole. This is opposed to the spanish-heritage people in the rest of the country who speak spanish.

For years, I've wanted to go to Jamaica, but wouldn't go because it was too dangerous. Somehow, I ended up here instead...

The speakers out of every home, business, and the bus which slowly makes it way around the island blast a nice mix of salsa, reggaeton, reggae, and country. I'm not so sure how country managed to make its way into the mix, but no one seems to skip a beat and stop dancing when the genre changes.

My fist night, I stayed at casa blanca, a nice enough guest house not far off the main strip, yet still with a beach view. My tiny room, not more than 2 meter x 3 meters cost me $8 per night, included a fan, a light, a mosquito net, and use of a shared cold water shower/sit down toilet.

The main strip is ok enough, although it seems fairly sketchy at night. While eating dinner with a pair of american college kids, we noticed 2-3 different gentlmen going for their evening strolls carrying baseball bats.

After making the walk home from dinner last night fearing for my life and seriously beginning to regret coming here, I decided that I'd need to make a switch of location - if at least to be happy, but also to potentially save my life.

The plan was to wake up at 8AM this morning, change money at the bank, and catch the boat to little corn island.....

Problem 1: I slept in till 10AM (the same time as the morning boat), and
Problem 2: Changing cash at the bank took 1.5 hours in line.

However, two bits of good news happened:

1. I found out that the bank will do cash advances on a visa card at 2.5% comission. My guide book didn't mention this, and so I was seriously stressing about what I was going to do when the 300USD cash that I brought ran out.

2. I met an Israeli/Welsh couple in the street, who'd been staying here for a month. They advised me that my current guest house was crap and had a reputation for theft. I mentioned my interest in switching to little corn - to which they replied that i'd pay the same price, but be showering with a bucket and sleeping in a bamboo hut.

Most importantly, they told me that things were much nicer on the other side of the island, away from the sketchy "town center". If I was willing to haggle, I was told I could get a bargain deal.

30 mins later, I was standing at the home of Mrs. Victoria, who rents out huge apartments (2 beds, private indoor shower, etc) less than 20 meters from the beach. The snorkeling is top notch on this side of the island, and to top it all - since I agreed to pay for 2 weeks in advance, she gave me the place for $10 USD per night. It's a total steal, is at least 4x as big as my previous room, and I don't have to fear for my life or property at night.

I strung up a hammock this afternoon, I've got a bottle of 7-year old dark rum, a few limes, a stack of books, and i'm now determined to chill out and relax.

Internet is not too pricy here ($2USD per hour), but I need to take a bus to town to use it. I may stop by every few days, but don't expect it.

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