Iguana on the plate

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Last night Danish televion made a big fuss about the Nicaraguan governtment’s proposal for the population to eat iguanas to prevent starvation. It started a discussion about wird food proposals in third world countries.

I found this strange since I am of the impression that it is rather normal to eat iguanas in Nicaragua. The men on the photo showed me some they were going to eat, and I saw many iguana vendors along the panamerican highway. I was told it was a delicacy, but illigal.

My impression was confirmed by El Nuevo Diario. The paper writes underlines that the governtment wants people to raise iguanas instead of catching them. Catching them in the wild is illigal. This can besides food generate an income for the iguana-raiser by selling the skin or selling iguanas as pets. The proposal has come forward because the country is experiencing draught.

http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/nacionales/326950-gobierno-recomienda-criar-iguanas-enfrentar-sequia

the taste of Nicaragua

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It has been three months since I left Nicaragua, and I am starting to crave beans, rice and eggs with cheese on the side.

It is not the fanciest dish I can think of, but it carries many memories.

In Nicaragua this meal was served as breakfast, lunch and dinner, therefore eating it is a big part of living in the country.

I had to change the ingredients a bit, because they cannot be found in Denmark, and furthermore I had to count on the internet since none has passed the recipes on to me. However, the result was satisfying.

2 persons

Gallo Pinto:

1½ dl kidney beans (soaked in water overnight)

1/4 onion

1½ clove of garlic

½ tablespoon salt

boil the ingredients for about 1 hour

remove the water

fry the beans in some oil, add more garlic or onion if you like

add boiled rice for two

add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

adjust with salt and pepper

eggs:

4 eggs

½ onion

2 cloves of garlic

bell peber

scample the ingreedients

cheese: I used feta

I served it with iceberg, cherry tomatoes and bell pepper, but in Nicaragua the salad would typically be made of finely chopped white cabbage or tomatoes

Orinoco and garifuna-culture – Nicaragua

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Since I wrote a paper in Anthropology about the Garifuna People and cassava (a root and food), one of my biggest wishes has been to experience their culture. The Garifuna People live in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua, and they are dependents of the Garifuna People who was sent in exile from St. Vincent to Roatan Island by European colonists. Their ethnic roots are a mixture of Native American and African. More specifically, Caribs and Arawak became known as kallínagu after an ethnogenisis in the Lower Antilles, this group mixed with Africans and became Garinagu or the Garifuna People.

In order to go to Orinoco I had to fly from Managua to Bluefields and then take a panga (boat) for two hours in high speed only passing few villages.
Arriving in Bluefields was like arriving in another country. The houses were mostly made of wood, unlike the colonial houses on the west coast, and nature appeared much greener. It was also clear that more people on the Atlantic coast were of African descent. I got a bit language confused, because whenever I spoke Spanish people answered in English and the other way around. The Atlantic coast of Nicaragua is known for its mixture of ethnic groups, which among other things is reflected in the languages. Even the same local person would be heard switching between two languages. Creole English did not sound like English to my ears, the Garifuna People however spoke English with an Afro-American accent, which was easier to understand.

The Garifuna culture and cultural pride in Orinoco seemed very much alive, even though the village also is home to people from other ethnic groups. At night I heard a sound of drumming, and by following the sound, I found a bunch of young girls practicing the punta-dance sheered by many from the village. Cassava which I in my research paper claimed was an identity marker, especially in the form of the bread ereba/bami, was also very present. However only two women sold bami, and an academic article I found in Bluefields, highlighted the problem, that only few people know how to make it. However, cassava is one of the ingredients in the rondon. Rondon is a soup with seafood which is a typical dish from the Atlantic coast. The Garinagu claimed their soup was different from the other groups’ rundon, but I’m not sure of the differences. The Garifuna rundon contains: cassava, green banana, fish, crab, shrimp, coconut milk, basil, pepper and chili and is cooked on a small fire.

Corinto

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57 corinto (4)

57 corinto (5)

57 corinto (22)

I was the only foreign tourist in Corinto, the town with the biggest deep water port in Nicaragua.
The town was small, but had a nice typical central park.
A large number of men hanging out on the street made it a bit uncomfortabel to be a woman traveling alone.
However, as I had just found a quiet spot to read, I was surrounded by a group of young Nicas from Chinandega, who wanted to practice English with me. I spent a couple of hours with them. They bought me a beer and in return they had a blast using my camera and taking picture with me.

I had a wonderful dinner with “real” cheese and bread, bruschettas and salad at Italian owned Ristorante Bistocchi (Plaza Central 75 Bara Oveste)
My hotel Hospedaje Luvy, however, is not to be recommended!