Good Morning Granada

Thanks for the reaffirmation

My travel groupies
Why do I travel now? I have seen so much, been so many places, that now where ever I go is compared to where ever I’ve been. This morning it’s Granada vs. Macau. Both are old and grand Iberian-influenced towns seemingly forgotten in the sands of time, left to mosey from 18th Century greatness to present day quaintness.

Might travel be a socially acceptable way for me to do nothing, to just be? Could sitting in the Parque Central, watching the city awake be different from a morning spent in McPherson Square?

Is the cross park commute so much more interesting if the commuters are Nicaraguans instead of Washingtonians? Do the presence of shoe-shine men and their clients make that much difference? Are the vigoron sellers more exotic than DC street vendors selling bananas and cinnamon buns? Can the local street urchins be better than American winos and bums?

I ask this to myself this morning, questioning why I travel, trying to make sure I still want and enjoy a morning in a Parque Central, because some days, wait, make that many days, traveling is a very lonely act. Always a stranger, the new guy in town, I don’t have the relationships, the bonds, the normal connections that transform a random city and random people to home and friends.

Then, as I sit in Parque Central, alone in my own thoughts, I see a familiar face, a smile, a wave, and I realize the world is not so lonely after all. Here is connection, a friendship, a bond made in a San Juan del Sur conversation cycling back to me now in Parque Central.

Here is the reason I travel, why a good morning in Granada is worth more than a day in DC. The people, the place, the moment. A soft breeze from Lauguna Nicaragua, hugo de papaya, and a man carrying two piglets in his arms.

  1. The sunset in granada in parque central is excellent – all the birds sing thousands of songs in the trees. I also managed to bump into a few Peace Corps Volunteers at the same time which makes my memory of parque central even more favourable. PCVs were all over the country after the huge ’97 hurricane.

    BTW, Isla de Ometepe has some OK scenery, but is absolutely dead when it comes to nightlife – I thought it was going to be a back packer hotspot and pick up central, but was bitterly disappointed…

  2. You travel so much since you are traveloholic. It’s cool – the society benefits from your stories — positive externality. Happy rest of the week!

    I am in San Bruno, but stuck in a much much nicer cube.

  3. it’s interesting that you ask that question. i don’t feel compelled to travel much because personally i don’t enjoy traveling by myself. for me to enjoy the experience fully, i need to share it with someone. and also it’s so much easier and more convenient to travel with someone. even just one person.

    and after awhile i’ve decided that it’s really all the same. it’s really the people you know that makes the difference.

    people in the US feel compelled to travel to remote places to see the indigenous people and wonder at their way of life and find the true meaning of life. but those same people that they admire so much in those remote places usually don’t think to travel beyond their village. and yet the hick down the street from west va is snubbed for never leaving the area.

    there is this snobbishness about traveling. don’t you think?

    don’t take it personally. it’s just a response to your question, “is mcPherson sq better than Parque Central?”.

  4. Jen,

    I agree, there can be snobbishness in traveling, that somehow a rural villager in Nicaragua can be so much more exotic and innocent than one in West Virginia. The rural villager never having the chance to change while the West Virginian somehow freely chose his or her life.

    I think about this often and try to make my traveling more about unique experiences I can’t find in the USA than merely the same life in a different place. My best examples from this trip: The farmer walking through Parque Central with two piglets under his arm for sale and of course, my dance with ‘El Tamarindo’.

    Also, often there is a desire to keep those rural people in stasis, without modern conveniences that would somehow “ruin” them. The best example I can think of is a conversation I overheard in the Serengeti where a tourist was bemoaning the use of cell phones by the Massii. That somehow their desire to have what we consider as a basic service spoiled what the tourist paid so much money to see.

    My commentary on that? I work every day to make technology like cell phones accessible to people like the Massii.

  5. i think there is definitely value in traveling, and also there is definitely value in appreciating the uniqueness and beauty of home or wherever one happens to be.

    i’m not nearly as much as a traveler as you, wayan, but i’ve noticed that part of the value in traveling is that coming home tends to have the effect of reminding me of the uniqueness and beauty of home. after a few months seeing it every day, i tend to take mcpherson square for granted. traveling makes me see home from a fresh perspective. whenever i start to get sick of dc, i try to take a little trip and i’m always glad to come home, even if i’m sad to leave wherever i’ve been.