Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Z is for zancudos or mosquitoes.

When I lived in the US, mosquitoes were just a normal part of summer....annoying but manageable.  But here in Nicaragua it's another story.  Mosquitoes are carriers of serious illnesses like dengue fever and malaria.  Thankfully, Nicaragua tries really hard to control their numbers and promote education about how they breed.  During mosquito season they pass frequently fumigating neighborhoods.  And when a dengue fever case is reported to the local Health Center, they send a truck to fumigate every house in the neighborhood.  They also send kids from public schools door-to-door every month to dump chemicals in standing water to kill larvae.

I've learned that the mosquito who causes these illnesses is a black/white variety whose larvae can survive dry for months.  When it gets wet again, it comes to live and hatches.  Dengue fever is spread when a mosquito bites an infected person, and then the next person they bite contracts the fever.  It's often referred to as "bone-breaking fever" or as a really bad flu that lasts for weeks.  There are two types:  normal dengue and hemorrhagic dengue which can be fatal.  Since I've been here I've known two families who've lost children to the hemorrhagic variety.

Malaria is noted by having the good day/bad day pattern.  One day you'll have fever with all its symptoms, the next day you're fine, the next day back to fever.

How to protect yourself?  Sleep with a mosquito net, avoid perfumes, and during mosquito season wear repellent in the evening and at night.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Y is for Yanquistas.

Spelled like that you probably don't know what I'm talking about but when I write Yankeestas it probably clues you in.  Yes, Yanquistas refer in Spanish to Yankees baseball fans.

Latin countries can be divided in two groups: baseball countries or soccer countries.  It's a stereotype that all Latinos play soccer; just think about all the Cubans and Dominicans currently playing in MLB.  Nicaragua is a baseball country and by far, the favorite team of the country are the Yankees.  It's hilarious because when I explain here I'm from Missouri they never know what I'm talking about, but if I explain I'm from the home of the St.Louis Cardinals, suddenly I'm a hit.  I just explain St.Louis is a city in Missouri.

The World Series here is broadcast like the Super Bowl at home.  And when our local baseball team, the Granada Tiburones (sharks) play and win, the city explodes.  Trucks go by with everyone screaming, honking horns, and blowing these loud trumpet things, cheering on their favorite team.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


X is how you sign your name when you don't know how to read or write.

When you come from a first world country it's easy to think everywhere has the same education and opportunities as you did.  But here especially I've learned that's not always true.  According to United Nations numbers for 2012, literacy rate for 15-24 year olds is 88%, so it's getting better.  But unfortunately, when we're talking about the older generation, ESPECIALLY the older generation in rural areas, it's more common that not that they don't know how to read.

I work a lot in a rural area right outside Granada called Los Cocos and El Guayabo and my generation and older have been very open with me explaining they're not literate.  They explained that for the older ones, it was more needed for them to work in the fields and help their family than go to school.  And for my generation, their schooling was interrupted by the Revolution and just never really got back on track.  But this simple, humble people are so willing to learn and teachable; it's been a pleasure to work with them.  Illiterate certainly is NOT synonymous with stupid.

Friday, April 26, 2013


W is for Waspam.

Waspam is a city (please see map below) in the northeastern corner of Nicaragua.  Why is it important?  Well, Nicaragua is home to various ethnic groups including Miskitos (Miskitos actually can be found on the same coast of Honduras as well).  The Miskito are descendants of Africans most of whom had mixed with the indigenous population here centuries ago.  They have their own culture and own language often speaking either Miskito or English Creole instead of Spanish. 

 A couple weeks ago I finally met my first Miskito!  When I was on Little Corn Island I met a very nice man named Lionel who helped me when my luggage got lost.  He was explaining about the VERY isolated life he led when he lived in Waspam and how difficult it is to get back home.  That part of Nicaragua is still very primitive and has few paved roads; most travel is actually done on the rivers.  In his singsong English Creole he explained to us that a while ago, he finally saved up enough to visit home.  When he called his Mom to tell her, her response was, "Oh good!  We kill you a pig!"

Soooo Nicaraguan :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013


V is for vigorón.

If you ever make it (specifically to Granada, Nicaragua) here, please eat the vigorón.  It's fabulous and cheap and supposedly originated in our city.  What is it?  Basically it's boiled yucca as a base topped with chicharrones (pork rinds) and cabbage salad.  It's honestly the perfect combo of soft and crunchy, the blandness of fried food with the bite of vinegar.  Where's the best place to get it?  If you go to Parque Central on any given day you can get a big plate of it served on a banana leaf WITH fresco for less than $3.  Not bad, huh?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


U is for ubicarse which loosely translates to get your bearings or literally "to be located."

That can be a huge challenge in a country where most streets have no names and most homes have no numbers.  Instead, addresses are given by landmarks (which may or may not still exist), cardinal directions (remember, in Granada the volcano is always south), and shape or color of homes.  Here's an example of an address:  La Villa, la parada de los Coquitos, 3 andenes al norte, 1/2 cuadra al este, casa color cafe de 2 pisos.  

No really, that's a real address.  It means that once you're in Granada you go to the neighborhood called La Villa.  Find the bus stop called los Coquitos (which isn't marked, by the way, you just have to magically know where the bus stops on its route), and count 3 alleys north, 1/2 block east, and find the brown 2-story house.

Needless to say, our mail never makes it :(

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


T is for tortuga or turtle.

I'm going to warn you, there's some good and some bad on this post.  The good part is that sea turtles make up a big part of the animal kingdom here in Nicaragua.  We are one of those amazing places on earth where you can come during different times of the year and participate in their conservation by helping with either egg laying or hatching.  It's not something I've done yet but happens on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts and is on my "must see/do" list while I live here.

The bad news is that as a developing nation, conservation here is often more words than actions.  Eating both sea turtles and their eggs is a strong part of Nica culture, and it's hard to get people to see that it's wrong and can have lasting effects.  I remember talking about the problem with some Nicas and them telling me that the day after the law was passed protecting the turtles, the president and other high officials were photographed lunching on them.  Even I, when I first came, ate a turtle dish not knowing it was an endangered species here.  I still feel bad about it.

If you'd like more information or would like to participate in their conservation, check out this article on ViaNica's website.

Monday, April 22, 2013


S is for sabrosita which means tasty or flavorful.

I know I write a lot about food so you probably think I'm going there, but I"m not.  I'm taking a slight detour.

You know how construction workers in the U.S. have an awful reputation of catcalling and hooting at women as they pass?  Well, imagine that but with every man regardless of age.  And imagine not just whistling but them yelling out exactly what they think of you and what they'd like to do with you for the whole neighborhood to hear.  If you're imagining it well...you're in Nicaragua.

The men here truly think that yelling at you like that is going to somehow make a love connection.  Must be a macho thing I guess.  Their favorites are to comment on your color and size.  For instance, my roommate is African-American and they're always hissing negrita at her while they leer.  Sometimes, just to be cute, they translate it to English and yell out "Black! Hey, black!"  It makes for interesting moments.

And for me?  Well, I'm not a small lady so they love to tell me "hermosota."  I kind of love that the word hermosa which technically means beautiful, here in Nicaragua refers to large size.  Cute, huh?  So when they say hermosota they're really saying big, thick girl.  They also call me chelita which refers to the fact I'm light-skinned.  I labeled this sabrosita because one day walking home a man followed me on his bike whispering that to me for about 2 blocks.  I finally just ducked into a house until he passed.  Ew!

Saturday, April 20, 2013


R is for repollo or cabbage.

I've never eaten so much cabbage in my life as I have here in Nicaragua.  Why?  Because they make cabbage salad to go on top of EVERYTHING.  What's cabbage salad?  Think cole slaw but without the mayonnaise.  And I have to say, I'm addicted.

There are these fast food stands here called fritanga (it comes from the word freir or frito meaning fried) where you can get things like tostadas, taquitos, empanadas, tajadas (fried green plantain), and grilled meats super cheap.  And on top of anything you order....cabbage salad!  I've discovered it's the perfect accompaniment to fried foods because it's fresh, crispy, and vinegary to cut through all that grease.  It's also perfect with salty Nica cheese, on top of bbq sandwiches (Memphis-style holla!), and with pan-seared fish.  Basically, there's nothing it DOESN'T go with.  And when you can make a massive batch of it for about a dollar, why wouldn't you pair it with everything?!

Check out my Familiar Foreign episode where I teach how to make it!

Friday, April 19, 2013


Q is for quesquisque which is a veggie (and a tongue-twister; try that word 3 times fast!).

This is a veggie I never knew before I moved to Nicaragua.  How to describe its taste?  It's definitely a starch, maybe a mix between yucca and a potato?  It's not stringy like yucca but firmer than a potato when cooked.  It turns this nice pink color (like you see above) when it's peeled and cooked.  Here, it's mainly used as a filler, but it's nice for variety.

What's my favorite recipe with it?  That's easy!  Sopa de albondigas or meatball soup.  It's got great broth, chicken meatballs, pieces of dark meat chicken, mint, and tons of boiled veggies like quesquisque, ayote (squash), corn, and really anything else you have in the kitchen.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


P is for parasitos or you guessed it--parasites!

This is my lab result from this morning showing that yes, I have parasites.  Specifically, amoebic cysts. And my treatment!

Unfortunately, parasites are a fact of life in Nicaragua.  Even if we drink only purified water and cleanse all our fruits and veggies as we're supposed to, at some point, we WILL have parasites.  When my sister was here, she got them through an open blister on her foot that dust got into.  Other people have gotten them from biting their nails.  So, really if you were to visit here, it's more a matter of when than if you get parasites.

Thankfully, the treatment is easy and cheap.  Yesterday, I took a stool sample to our local Laboratorio Xalteva and for 160 cordobas ($6.43) they tested me for infection and parasites.  I got the results in half an hour.  This morning I took the results to a free clinic where the doctor gave me a prescription for treatment.  The three day treatment cost me about $25.  Not bad, huh?  Hopefully, by the start of next week I can stop being the hostess with the mostest.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


O is for out sick.

Sorry guys, I'm just getting to my post now.  On Wednesday when I was supposed to do this post, I was down with nausea, fever, and tummy troubles.  If I was in the US, I probably would think it's just a virus and move on, but here, of course, it's a whole new ballgame.  I'm thinking malaria? dengue? yellow fever? parasites?  Also, since it's already burning hot here, having a fever means pumping yourself not just full of water but something stronger like Gatorade or suero which is basically a saline solution that's drinkable instead of intravaneous.  And you'd better hope you don't have to go to the hospital where you'd be recuperating in a room full of 8 other people with stray dogs and cats for company and dependent on friends/family for clothes, food, sheets, and bathing.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


N is for las noticias or the news.

I know that doesn't sound much like news, but the local t.v. news here is a complete 180 degree difference from home.  I'm not really sure where to start, but I'm going to try.  I think it'll be best to do contrasts.

Newscasters are conservative and professional
Newscasters are competing for who can wear the highest heels, tightest blouse, and shortest skirt

News stories are edited for content; after all, kids might be (and should be) watching
Editing?!  Apparently an untranslatable concept.  Some guy in Managua burned up in his home?  They'll show the charred body.  Some motorcyclist had an accident on the highway?  They'll do a close-up on the 10-inch laceration on his leg with him separating it to show bone.  A kid was just found drowned in the lake?  They're not just showing the bloated body (face and everything) but shoving a microphone in Mom's face asking how she feels about what happened.
Oh, and the morning show!  There's often a "talent show" component which involves Nica girls with skirts that barely cover their bum simulating sex with a partner to reggaeton (Latin rap) or rap music that is 100% NOT radio edit.  Just the thing you want your kids to see as they're getting ready for school right?

International focus
Maybe just maybe they'll cover their neighbors Costa Rica or Honduras.  Or friends like Columbia or Cuba but apart from that?  Forget about it!

After just a few weeks here I discovered news is absolutely pointless here, and stopped watching.  Too graphic, too one-sided.

Monday, April 15, 2013


M is for el mercado or the market.

It's true that here in Granada, Nicaragua, we have 3 grocery stores (Pali, La Union, y La Colonia) but the best selection of local products AND the best prices is and always will be at the market.  In more rural parts of Nicaragua there is no supermarket, just local market, so it's best to learn how to navigate them.  There are a few principles to keep in mind when negotiating a Nicaraguan market:

1.  EVERYTHING is negotiable.  Don't you dare pay the first price they tell you!
2.  Don't eat before you go; a strong stomach will get you through the cheese and meat stalls.  Yep, meat that's been sitting in the Nicaraguan sun with flies swarming and hungry dogs looking on most of the day.  By the way, my meat ONLY comes from the supermarket, so I guess I'm not REALLY Nica.
3.  Don't wear flip flops.  Any fruit or veg that has gone bad will just be thrown on the cobblestone streets and in the sun it gets REALLY slippery REALLY fast.  One slip in that stuff and you'll learn the hard way.
4.  Patience.  It's a constant maze of stalls and screaming vendors, and they're hoping that confusion added to the sun beating down on you will cut your negotiation resolve down, but persist!  You can do it!
5.  Channel your inner Nica.  Let me explain.  Let's say that cabbage head looks good to you.  Stop!  Don't smile.  Don't look at it too long.  Linger over some other veg as you casually ask, "How much for the cabbage?"  The vendor tells you 20 cordoba.  You gasp dramatically "How expensive!"  They ask "Do you want it?"  You say "I think I'll keep looking; well, maybe I'd take it for 10 cordoba."  They make an excuse about the cabbage crop being bad, gas prices going up, or general economy crisis and tell you the best they can do is 15 cordoba."  You inspect it with a frown a say "dale pues" (go ahead then) while inwardly gleaming.  Now granted, you only saved yourself about 20 cents, but hey!  It's the principle of the matter!

You think you got it?

Saturday, April 13, 2013


L is for llamarse.  Spanish lesson 101.

Llamarse literally means "to call oneself."  So when you're introducing yourself you say yo me llamo fulano or literally, I call myself whatever.  In my case it's yo me llamo Shawn.  Now, to us Anglo-Saxons around the world, this is an easy name.  It's fairly common (even though not typically used for females, I know), contains sounds we're familiar with, and we recognize immediately its Irish roots.  But here?  Let me reenact a typical conversation when I first meet someone.

Me:  Hola.  Yo me llamo Shawn.

Them:  Chon?

Me:  No.  Shawn.

Them:  Chom?

Me:  No.  Shawn.  Put your mouth together like you're telling someone to be quiet. Shhhhhhhhhhawn!

Them:   Shhhhhhhhh Chom!

Me:  Fine.  Yo me llamo Chon.

Them:  So you're Chinese?

Me:  (*sigh* I am so obviously NOT Asian) No, actually, it's an Irish name.  I'm of Irish descent.

Them:  hmmmmm (looking at me suspiciously as if I don't know my own heritage)

You see, Spanish doesn't carry the "sh" sound and trying to explain to Central Americans why we call ourselves Italian, Irish, or German when we were never actually born there.....well, son otro cien pesos.

Friday, April 12, 2013


K is for Kathy's Waffle House....no translation needed on this one.  I really wanted to make all my posts in Spanish for the challenge but well, no go on this letter.

Yes, that is REAL Aunt Jemima's in the background!

Kathy's Waffle House is a restaurant here in Granada.  As you can probably guess by the title, they're famous for producing a mean American style breakfast.  We're talking about products that are hard to find here like blueberry waffles (made with blueberries in the batter AS IT SHOULD BE!), breakfast sausage (that alone should win them a medal), and hash browns.  

I know that living abroad is all about new experiences but sometimes nostalgia sets in (hey, word trivia! I just learned that nostalgia is the Spanish translation for homesickness. Fitting, right?), and I want to hear English, see blue eyes, and eat what's familiar to me.  Don't get me wrong, I love gallo pinto (rice and beans) too just not every day.  When that hits, I head to Kathy's Waffles.  Not only is the food great but it's a big foreign hangout in Granada.  When you pass through, you should check it out and maybe we can meet in person :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013


J is for jugo or juice.

Borrowed from a fellow blogger in Nicaragua:  http://lspigel.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/fresco-in-a-bag/
You know how in the U.S., you go grocery shopping and pick up a gallon of your favorite juice....cranberry, grape, apple, or any mix?  Welllllll, that doesn't exist here.  The only thing ready to go juice-wise in the supermarket are nectars or really thick syrupy juices with pulp usually.  I HATE them.  When you want natural juice here, you make a fresco.  

Fresco is basically a fruit, vegetable, or grain either squeezed or blended then put through a sieve that you dilute with water and add sugar to your taste.  Fresco literally means fresh and basically that's what they're used for here--to freshen up in the heat.  You can make them yourself or just about every neighborhood has a home where they're sold.  They cost anywhere from 5-10 cordoba (20-40 cents) and are always served in a plastic bag with ice and a straw hanging out.  What are some options?

  • passion fruit
  • tamarind
  • coconut
  • cantaloupe
  • dragonfruit
  • starfruit
  • pineapple
  • cacao (natural cocoa pods ground and mixed with milk)
  • soursop
  • barley
  • chia
  • flax seed

Really I could go on all day.  I like basically all of them except for barley and anything that starts with chicha like chicha de piña or chicha de maíz ....that would refer to either fermented pineapple or fermented corn, and I'm just not down with that.

Do you want to know how to make them?  Watch my tutorial here!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I is for Las Isletas  or the islands.  Yes, that counts...las is just an article like a, an, the.

Las Isletas are a grouping of islands, some inhabited some vacant, that sit on Lake Cocibolca--the largest lake in Central America.  It's a beautiful lake full of wildlife including some amazing water fowl like pelicans.  It supposedly also has fresh water sharks although one hasn't been spotted in decades.  It's so nice to take a sunset cruise on the lake with a couple of Tona beers.  Ahhhh!  You can see homes of the who's who of Nicaragua and even visit a monkey island.  Yep, live monkeys who live on an island reserve will come up to your boat and eat.  Fun!  I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


H is for humedo which means humid in English.

Why do I mention it?  Because it's been a fact of life here that I will always be a hot and sweaty mess.  And you curly girls out there??....I can only imagine the pain you suffer here daily.  The lowest it ever gets in Granada is about 80F and that's probably 2-3 times a year and only at night.  But we always have high humidity since we sit right by a big lake.  If it gets down to 80 everyone here walks around in sweaters and plugs their babies' ears with cotton so they don't catch cold.

Right now we're in our "hot" season.  I know, it gets worse; I didn't expect that either when I first came.  A couple weeks ago it was 97F at 3pm.  What does that feel like in a place without a.c.?  The butter is 100% melted outside the fridge in just 5 minutes, you sweat sitting still, you get a bladder infection if you don't drink enough water, enough water a day is about 2 liters, you are sweating as you're stepping out of a refreshing shower, and when someone jovially slaps you on your arm it makes a sucking sound as they remove their hand.

The heat has been the hardest thing for me to get used to here but you know the saying....if it doesn't kill me.....

Monday, April 8, 2013


G is for Granada.

Classic Granada site...horse and carriage for tour or just plain help to get from A to Z

Colonial courtyard.  Classic of Granada colonial architecture

Ahhhh, the city in which I live and my new home.  Granada claims to be the oldest city in Central America funded in 1524 if I remember correctly.  As most Central American history goes, it was conquered by the Spanish.  Their influence is still highly obvious in boulevards, architecture, and well, language.

What's some fun things to do in Granada?  Here's some suggestions:

  • Tuesdays at 10 a.m. take a home tour which leaves from Centro del Arte.  See some fabulous colonial homes both original and renovated.
  • Take a horse/carriage ride and negotiate negotiate your price.  They leave from Central Park and are available in English.  A leisurely way to learn about Granada history and sites.
  • Mombacho volcano is right outside Granada as is
  • The Isletas (islands) tour....365 islands in beautiful Lake Cocibolca

Come see us!

Saturday, April 6, 2013


F is for Flor de Caña.

It's a Nicaraguan produced rum and veeerrry good and inexpensive.  Nicaragua doesn't have a ton of famous exports so we're very proud of this one.  There's sugarcane fields everywhere here which makes rum production a no brainer.  After a hot day in the sun there's nothing better than coming home and enjoying a Nica Libre.  Here's a few recipes for this fabulous rum:

Nica Libre
shot of 5 year rum
fill the rest of the glass with Coke
lime juice
*Yep, it's a Cuba Libre just with a Nica spin because of the rum origins

Shawn's Choice
shot of 5 year rum
equal parts pear nectar and Sprite
lime juice
serve over ice

Throw a splash of this in your bread pudding recipe and you'll love the results!

Friday, April 5, 2013


E is for extranjero which means foreigner.
Quick! Can you pick out the gringo in this picture?!
Being a foreigner in Nicaragua definitely comes with its own challenges.  I'm a big believer in knowing the full story before going into something so as to be able to set realistic expectations.  Maybe this post can help some of you with that.

One challenge is the tourist visa.  Right now, to be a temporary resident involves a lot of time, a lot of under the table bribes, and eventually a $5,000 deposit so that if one day they'd need to export you from the country; well, at least you could go first class.  So most of us are here on three month tourist visas meaning every three months we have to either leave the country for 72 hours or go to Managua and pay $1/day up to 90 days to extend our visa.  Both are very time consuming and the Managua version is also very expensive for Nica standards.

Another challenge is the gringo hustle.  I've written about this before. Basically, if you're a foreigner there's a different price quoted to you for EVERYTHING.  Sometimes it's a real mess and a lot of time and negotiation to get to the "correct" price of things.

You'll stand out.  Or at least I do.  I'm a tall, thick, ruddy, strawberry blonde in a land of small caramels.  It's like being the only cornflake in a bowl of raisins.  It takes a while to get used to the stares.  And the question, "Shawn, why are you so red?"  Dang it!  And here I thought I had finally tanned!!

Your stomach will always be a question mark.  This is one of those places where you can't ignore an odd gurgle because here, it's not indigestion...IT'S PARASITES!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


D is for Darío.

You cannot live in Nicaragua without knowing that name.  It belongs to the most famous author (poet) to have come from here...Rubén Darío.

Here in Granada there's an amazing colonial style hotel called Hotel  Darío.  If you're coming through Granada, please visit.  I can't comment on the rooms but I CAN comment on the restaurant.  There's two on-site, but my favorite is the Chocolate Cafe.  I think by the title of the restaurant you should figure out why.  They serve great coffees and desserts and just so happen to make a mean burger, blt, and chef salad if you're looking for something stronger.

The most fun part is that on Friday nights at 8 p.m. they have a folklor show.  Folklor is the traditional dance here done in couples with a live band.  It's really nice to watch and when paired with a glass of Flor de Caña in a colonial courtyard....well, you just can't get more Nicaraguan that that :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


C is for Corn Islands.

Corn Islands is a grouping of two islands off the eastern coast of Nicaragua.  There's Big Corn and Little Corn Island.  They're in the middle of the Caribbean in an amazingly unique part of Nicaragua.  Although most of Nicaragua is a mix of the indigenous Indians and Spaniards (from the Conquistador days), the eastern coast is totally different.  The residents there are black and speak Creole English.  Even the cities (and islands) there have English names.  You want to know the best part?

I'm going there!!!!  Yep, on Monday, my friend Miia and I are going to check out Little Corn Island for four days.  We could really use a break after the campaign for the Memorial and Special Talk.  She's getting married and going permanently back to Finland in July, but Corn Island was what she just HAD to see before leaving Nicaragua....and she invited ME to join her!  We'll fly to Big Corn Island and then take a small boat over to Little Corn Island.  They have limited electricity and Internet and no cars, but I think an "off the beaten path" kind of vacation is just what I need.  I'm looking forward to snorkeling on the reef that's located there and eating my weight in seafood.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


B is for Bachata

Photo credit:  http://socialdancer.blogspot.com/2012/04/sexy-stranger-bachata-experience.html
It's a Latin dance.  I think the best way to describe it to gringos is to say it's like the first eight counts of the electric slide but on the four and eight count you add a little hop/booty pop.  It's a partner dance with lots of fun variations and has a style of music that accompanies it also called bachata.

My readers know that one of the favorite passtimes here is to dance.  Often, I hear even older people saying, "We need to make a party.  I need to dance."  For the record, I'm the bachata queen amongst my cong.  They're always so impressed a white girl can bachata like I do :)  If you want to check out some of my favorite bachata tunes, check out these YouTube links.  You can also look at bachata tutorials, and they'll give you a good idea of how to get down Latin-style.


Monday, April 1, 2013


A is for almíbar.  What is it?  The picture doesn't do it justice.  It's basically fruit boiled with brown sugar (dulce) and water until it makes a honey-type consistency.  Tradition here during Semana Santa (Holy Week) which just ended yesterday is to make this for your family and hang out on the beach.  My former neighbor sent some to me on Saturday and is was heavenly!  The type she made me above is papaya, jocote, and mango pieces.  They literally melt in your mouth.  Since they're super sweet, alternatively you can pair it with a Nicaraguan cheese called cuajada (salty ,moist and crumbly).  Calláte vos!

The magazine Nicaragua Actual has a great photo online of different almíbar varieties.


This month of April I'm participating in an A to Z challenge all about Nicaragua.  That's right....26 days of food, places, and events which have made getting acclimated to my new home an adventure.  Hopefully, in reading this month, it will get everyone pumped up about maybe one day personally experiencing the natural beauty that is Nicaragua.  Stay tuned!