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!


  1. Wow, I don't know if I could do it. That's so much trouble. But maybe I feel that way because I just came from a blog where the word was "effortless," as in living effortlessly. I'm still in that mindset, thinking how nice it would be to remove additional complications from my life. And then I see this, and I'm thinking, that's the opposite! :)

    The A to Z blog said in the latest post to add a link to your own A to Z blog in the comments, so here's mine:

    1. Well, how can I put this? You DO remove additional complications living here. I rent a furnished apt, don't work so I can dedicate myself to volunteer work, and don't own a car. Lessening material possessions have made life sooooo much simpler for me. And seeing how simple Nica families are happy without an iPad, without an Xbox, and without cable....well, I think you see my point.

  2. I love this pic! I can't tell you how many pictures I have with me in the middle of a bunch of shorties like this.