Living in Nicaragua is different than the USA
By Suzanne Maxey — My son advised me that Granada, Nicaragua was nothing like the United States. And I thought that I completely understood – that is, until I had lived here for a few months.
It’s a lot like living in the good old days
If you are old enough, think back to the USA in the 50’s and early 60’s. Then slow the pace down. Horse drawn carts compete for space on the streets with all the taxis. A small herd of cows and the bull pass by my casa every morning and evening on their way to graze. Ladies older than I am walk the barrio with huge baskets of fruit, vegetables, bread, you name it, balanced on their heads, selling their wares, the bread still hot from the oven. Men walk by all day selling anything you can think of from their carts. Ceiling fans, sewing machines, pots and pans, window glass, you name it.
Living with minor inconveniences
At least once a week either the water or the power or both go out. Usually it is back on by 5 p.m., but now and then it is a 24 hour marathon of no water or no electricity. Not so much fun when it is 95 degrees outside and there is no breeze. Hardly anyone in Nicaragua has air conditioning but a fan usually keeps us cool enough…until the power goes out. Then we spend a fair amount of time standing under the shower.
Hardly anyone here has hot water, either. But honestly, we don’t need it. The showers are lukewarm to slightly cool, and they sure do feel good. If you insist on hot water for the dishes, just fill up a bowl with tap water and put it in the microwave. Works fine.
No deprivation required
Most anything you can get in the U.S., you can get here. Can’t say regarding Canadian foods or goods. The grocery stores here carry the more expensive U.S. brands of food as well as Latin American brands. The LA brands of food are just as good, and a lot cheaper. Once in a while I splurge and buy a can of Spam or jar of Jif, but stick with local brands for the most part. In the mercado, any and everything can be found. Be careful in the mercado though; pickpockets love the gringos.
A comfortable life
It’s a slower pace but it is a comfortable pace. I don’t miss the congested interstates or the crowded, overpriced convenience store on every corner. Here, there are pulperias on every block, small convenience stores being operated out of someone’s living room. You can get eggs, chips, milk, soft drinks and homemade frescos, even detergent just a few doors down from your casa. In the evening, ladies set up tables outside their homes with home cooked meals, ready to buy for your supper. Delicious!
Granada, Nicaragua feels like a soft, well worn old shirt and pair of jeans. If I want to go to the mall or a movie then Managua is close by, but the slow, easygoing pace of Granada fits me like a glove. It can be frustrating when the power goes out and then the water cuts off for a few hours, but in the evening when everyone comes outside to walk and visit and gossip, Nicaragua feels like home.
Suzanne Maxey lives not too far from her son (and grandkids) in Granada. Her son, Casey, wrote the NCX Guide to Residency in Nicaragua, a must-have for anyone considering moving down to this beautiful country.