Posts Tagged ‘cars’

Red Flags come in all shapes and sizes. From relationship red flags, to red flags at work, they are there to help protect you from danger.

Red flags in Nicaragua (and a lot of Central American countries) tend to fall into two categories: conceptual and literal.

Some conceptual red flags include street drunks speaking English, children asking for money (as discussed in ABYM #9), anyone offering help in a market, anyone offering help with taxis, and people telling you there is only one of something.

Eye patches tend to be a dead giveaway….

 

There are a lot of educated Nicaraguans who can speak English in this country, but there are also a lot of people who live in touristy areas who have picked up English by growing up or living around tourists. Now, this skill should be celebrated, but unfortunately it is most commonly used as a way to mildly scam tourists. As I listed above, normally when people “help” you get a taxi or buy stuff in the market, it is because they approached you with English.

 

What really happens is many times they will forcibly inject themselves into any conversations with local merchants or taxi drivers and then demand a fee for their “help” from either the tourist, the cab driver, or both. They also can tell which kinds of tourists will be willing to give money and which won’t and so the only real loser is the merchant or the taxi driver.

Pro-Tip: This chicken is dead. Don’t buy it for lunch.

 

This type of situation generally arises when they ask you in English where you are from, what is your name etc, and most tourists have a strong sense of political correctness and are uncomfortable shooing them away or tell them to get lost. They are aware of this, and the more polite the tourist, the more assertive they are in taking control of any transactions that arise.

It is difficult to adjust to, but similar to telling street children to go away, you need to be very clear, and very confident that they are not needed. If (and usually when) they aren’t responding to the initial confident but courteous no, you just need to be a dick and tell them to leave you alone.

 

as long as you can juggle fire, English is not necessary

The red flag in this case boils down to this question: “If you can speak English…why are you street hustling?”

English is a very lucrative skill in these countries, Nicaragua especially. Anyone with fluent or near fluent English normally has very little trouble finding work. So their intentions are immediately called into question if they are using this skill on hapless tourists.

Tour guides like this rarely have trouble finding work

 

The other type of red flag (or pink in some cases) is a flag used by farmers and cowboys to indicate that cows are crossing the highway. This is very important to look out for as often the cattle trains encompass the entire highway for up to a few hundred meters. If you don’t see the flagger (or he wasn’t there in this case) this happens:

We fought the cow…and the…cow won.

 

In this case, the flagger on the East side was in the midst of the cattle, thereby rendered useless. It didn’t help that the driver was facing a setting sun at 5pm in the afternoon.

This incident taught me a lot about Nicaraguan law. For instance, it is the farmer’s fault if someone hits their cow while crossing the road and it is normal protocol to immobilize the cow immediately to identify its….cow number. I am sure there is a more specific word, but for all intents and purposes it is a VIN for a cow. Let’s call it a CIN.

This is how they should look in Nica

 

In addition, hit and runs can occur, but not in the way you think. In this particular instance, after striking the cow, the cowboy rushed all the cows (including the culprit cow) off into the sunset, thereby preventing the driver from getting a positive CIN.

Fortunately, communities are small here, and a local community member got a positive ID on the dastardly cow and was able to assist us and authorities to find out who it belonged to.

Look how guilty he looks….

 

That being said, the cops told us that they are an aggressive family and might come at us with machetes if we don’t send in a 3rd party lawyer first.

So next time you are in a fender bender and can calmly exchange information with the person without fear of violent machete death, take a moment to put things into perspective and be happy you aren’t driving in Nicaragua.

They keep one in the glove box…..always ready

 

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