Some More on Nicaragua

The only time I got really afraid on this trip was when I nearly got attacked by dogs while taking a picture of that chicken - just after explaining to a colleague who is afraid of dogs why she shouldn't worry about them. Silly me.

See those little black bits on this little kitten's nose? She was completely covered in fleas. It didn't stop us from cuddling her, but it did keep most of us scratching for the rest of the day. We didn't actually pick up any real fleas, but we did get what Kim calls psychological fleas: the kind that leave you thinking you've got them crawling all over.

Whenever I come back from a trip like this one to Nicaragua, people are often interested to know if I've seen all the sites, like the lakes or the volcano and such - and usually the answer is "no, I haven't." These trips are kind of like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower, there's just no time! I often leave a city like Managua feeling like I haven't actually seen it at all, when of course I have really, I've just seen a different side of it.

Most of the time you can find me in the poorer neighbourhoods, the slums (isn't that a horrible word?) or as they call them in Managua, the Repartos. These are places that have sprung up out of need, without permission from the city, and with houses made of sheets of iron or plastic. Truthfully, I can sometimes find these places really scary - but it's all about who you're with and how you act. If you're with someone who knows the neighbourhood and knows the people, and if you act like you belong there, then you're fine. If you wander in alone and ignoring your instinct to run in the opposite direction, you walk out with pretty much nothing - one of our number found that out the hard way on this trip.

But it's amazing how quickly a shirtless man with cut-off shorts, a bandana, tattoos all over his chest and a pit bull can go from eyeing up your bag to joking around and jumping in front of your camera with his friends to have his picture taken. Acting just as excited about the whole thing as those kids up there.

I guess this is kind of an explanation of why I never have normal travel pictures like historical sites or yummy food photos when I come home and blog about an adventure, unless it's a holiday adventure.