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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Freedom - the Last Nicaraguan Blog

There is so much I could write about this amazing place.  And even more about the people.  If you have learned nothing, remember that Nica's are among the friendliest people on the planet.  DO NOT let your biased perspective (most likely from the 1980's) color your decision to visit this place.  If you may hate the food (you won't), find Nothing to do (again - p-l-e-a-s-e!), or dislike the humidity,  I guarantee that when you speak to your friends you will RAVE about the AMAZING people of Nicaragua!!!

However, we have been home two weeks - and I need to write about a new adventure.  So I choose to abandon all other Nica blogs and end the trip with a true insight (that, alas, I cannot take credit for). 

Freedom.

You may recall that I mentioned that Nicaragua is a Socialist Republic (the Sandanistas - under Daniel Ortega {yes, the same one} are still in power - though the opposition is EVEN more liberal: FARC).  I suppose you would not expect to see much freedom?

One night, near the end of our stay on Ometepe, a friend we met (from Texas) said to me, "I remember seeing these people and turning to Megan ad saying, 'Wow, babe, this is what it looks like to be FREE!'."  At first, this seemed a VERY odd remark.  These folks are desperately seeking to survive.  They support socialism, and think that the capitalist US is a terrible player on the world stage.  But as I listen to Jason's words of wisdom, I realized, he is SO RIGHT!

You must abandon your pre-conceived notions - about America (the US), Central America, Communism, Socialism, and Capitalism to understand this - but if you are willing.... 

Nicaraguans do not worry about car seat laws (even thought hey would likely save many lives), they don't think about stop signs, traffic stops, yielding to oncoming vehicles, transporting hazardous materials (like propane on a bicycle).  Nica's don't worry about whether they have a license to sell tortillas on the street (or even whether such a license exists).  Nica's don't worry about fishing licenses, driver's licenses, sales permits, or tax stamps.  They don't worry about real estate regulations or lawsuits because of negligent repair of a side walk.  Nica's don't worry about the health department, social services, OSHA, whether burning trash is allowed, Park Rangers (much less where you can or CANNOT put a camp fire).  They don't have Smoky the Bear and they certainly don't give a hoot about giving a hoot about polluting (no Indians crying here...).  Nica's don't have an antiquities act - steal all the pre-Columbian you can carry! There are no health regulations, seat belt admonitions, freedom (From) religion watchdogs (almost every town has a patron saint, predominantly displayed as you drive into town).  If kids are bad in school (or on the street) they get their asses kicked, and parents are embarrassed if someone else has to do it.  If a bus passes too close - MOVE OVER idiot, no sense in yelling at the driver!  And trust me, no one sticks their hand in your 'business' when you go through 'security' at the airport.

Think to your own life.  Even as a police officer - I admit to being embarrassed at the 'laws' and 'regulations' I must  enforce.  You (a US citizen - purportedly among the freest of peoples in the world) have to spend your day worrying about which regulations you may be violating and who might sue you. 

Not in Nicaragua.  If you screw up - your neighbors will let you know.  If you screw up real bad - you will be banished.  And not by the police (we only saw them act ONCE in the three weeks we were there).  It will be your friends and neighbors who will decide and exact justice.

And we, the 'freest' of the free in the world, have to worry about the every growing list of things we CANNOT do (like eating butter in New York, smoking in a public place, or GOD FORBID taking your dog out WITHOUT a LEASH!!!!).

It does leave you wondering who is REALLY free?

Until we travel again~

The Undaunted Travelers

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