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Tag: Nicaragua

VooDoo – el Mistico

by Alex on May.06, 2009, under Blog

Update:

Voodoo is no more – recently speaking to Ben, my mate who set up Voodoo, I learned that on returning to Nicaragua from the US, his ex-business partner Mark had closed Voodoo and stolen not only his half of the business but all his personal possessions.

Original post:

Sitting in my usual wifi cafe a few days ago I overheard a group of people finalising the menu for a new bar cum restaurant that they were soon to open. Being anal about the use of English and having seen hundreds of spelling mistakes and inconsistencies in menus over the years, I felt compelled to offer a few observations over the final draft. This is how I met Ben and his bar:

DSC_0758
VooDoo, Calle La Libertad, one block towards the lake from Parque Central, right hand side,
Granada, Nicaragua.

VooDoo promises to be a very cool bar/restaurant. The idea is to provide a place where a diverse range of people choose to hang out, meeting other interesting and interested people, making friends, swapping stories, exchanging ideas and of course, chilling out. Excellent service and a welcoming atmosphere is key to the ethos of VooDoo and I think that this alone makes it stand out from many other bars and restaurants in Granada, Nicaragua and indeed Latin America. Yet of course, this is not all that is on offer. Food is of very high quality, locally sourced and fresh. Vegetarian food is always on offer and specials are interesting, diverse and regularly changed. Cocktails are excellent, Ben having much experience working in expensive bars and hotels in the US.

Click below for map

map

Ben and Mark, the other owner, are not in this just to make money. Key to the business is integrating with and being of active benefit to local community. Even the name of the place was changed so as to mean something to Spanish-speakers. Spanish for voodoo is vudú and sounds pretty much the same as the English, it was felt though that the connection was not that obvious and so ‘el mistico’ was added to the name so that it would make more sense. The guys are displaying the work of local artists (including that of John Oliver), have invited John to do a poetry recital (great break for John) and want to get the street closed one night and have a break dance competition, offering decent prizes – some of the local guys are amazing breakdancers and currently ‘perform’ outside the gringo bars where, although I’m sure people are well entertained, they don’t appear to afford them the attention nor the monetary contribution that they might were they to be performing in London, Berlin, Paris or wherever.

Staff are paid more than is normal here and are given proper meals rather than the rice and beans that is the norm in most places. Left over food is given to the staff to take home for their families and they are actively coached to help them improve their effectiveness in their positions.

Themed nights will be had, The Big Lebowski and Halloween being definite and suggestions will be sought from patrons, staff and friends. All in all, once established, it’ll be a very cool place for those who visit the bar, the staff and the local community.

The opening night went really well (I didn´t get home ´til 4 am), I hope to be able to get back to see the guys in a few months. Breast of luck y´all!

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A more obvious linguistic link? Maybe not…

by Alex on May.06, 2009, under Blog

Writing that last blog got me athinking of a conversation I had the other day with one of my Spanish teachers.

Spanish for horse is caballo, and for gentleman is caballero. Shirley the etymological link is obvious? It should be yet more obvious when you consider that a shoe is zapato and a shoe maker slash mender slash vendor is a zapatero. Bread is pan and a baker is a panadero, meat is carne and a butcher carnicero, and so forth. So to form the noun describing the guy (or gal) who has something to do with an object you make a root from the object and add an ‘ero’-based suffix (or ‘era’ for females).

Yet, when I suggested that caballero came from caballo, I was met with a laugh and told that caballero has nothing to do with caballo. Odd!

I’m not sure if uniquely my Spanish teacher just didn’t know that one was born of the other, or had simply never given it any thought. I’ll ask around so as to get a consensus…

So I asked the manager of the language school and he also laughed. I just asked a guy in the interweb place and he knew the connection and that it was originally equivalent to the English word ‘knight’. So the latest score for the question ‘does caballero have anything to do with caballo’ is:

I laugh in your face: 2
It comes from the word ‘knight’: 1

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La Llegada de la Lluvia

by Alex on May.04, 2009, under Blog

The arrival of the rains

I knew that it would rain soon as people have been banging on about it for a while. It is hot here, which is commented upon many times a day – it’s not just us Brits that like to talk about the weather! I had no expectations as to what might happen when the rain started, that is to say that, although I knew that rain was due, I’d not given any thoughts as to the how it might show it self, save of course from simply falling from the sky. (continue reading…)

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Tostones, or maybe patacones

by Alex on Apr.30, 2009, under Blog

I first had tostones in Colombia, I think. But they were called patacones. They are, I guess, the nutritional equivalent of chips/fries and I suppose not so different taste-wise. I knew they were simply fried plantain but until last night I had no idea of exactly how they were made. If you’re a lover of both chips and diversification then read on to discover how to conjour up an alternative to the west’s most beloved deep-fried staple.

Some tostones, yesterday

(continue reading…)

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John Oliver RIP?

by Alex on Apr.30, 2009, under Blog

I’ve just been told that John Oliver has been murdered…

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“Private salsa lessons”

by Alex on Apr.29, 2009, under Blog

So I’m in a cafe, internetting away and this guy who I’ve chatted to a few times asks me to translate an e-mail that he’s just received. It’s in English and he appears not to understand its finer points…

Hello Marco (the names have been changed to protect the innocent).

I saw you in club gringo the other night and have to say that you look very sexy when you dance.

Can we arrange “private salsa lessons”?

Yeh, you hear about that kind of stuff but I’ve never seen it before…

Quality!

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When no can’t possibly mean no, apparently

by Alex on Apr.28, 2009, under Blog

There are lots of street vendors here, in Granada (Nicaragua). Those who have stalls and those who walk round the streets selling their wares. Some of the wandering ones sell goods for the local market such as wallets and mobile/cell phone chargers, and cheese. Well, I guess that primarily they are aimed at the local market but that doesn’t stop those eager to sell from touting their goods to all on Sunday (mum, I know you’re wondering – that’s a bastardisation of ‘all and sundry), irrespective of whether they are local or tourist.

‘Do you want cheese?’ exclaimed a guy sporting a large aluminium pot atop his head. (continue reading…)

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John Oliver

by Alex on Apr.27, 2009, under Blog

“Work all night on a drink a’ rum” sang John Oliver as he walked behind us. It was a Friday night in Granada (Nicaragua) and we’d had a few beers so my response could be nothing other than “Daylight come and me wan’ go home”. Dreadlocks sprouting from the top of an otherwise shaved head, John walked with a limp and looked as it he lived on the street. We finished the song, we laughed and joked and then he introduced himself – an artist, a street poet. I was out with Franzi, whom I’d met at a cafe earlier that evening and so that John might share a love poem with us, we pretended that we were ‘together’. John’s eyes shone brightly as he recited his work, powerful words spoken with passion, as if straight from the heart. His poetry was moving as was the fact that this talented man, who might well have a very different life were he to have been born elsewhere, lived on the streets, scraping a living from people open to paying him for entertaining them with his work. (continue reading…)

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