Stop Your Damn Whining!

Leon, Lion, Nicaragua

STOP YOUR DAMN WHINING!

(I apologize, in advance, for the language I use in this post.)

Note: This was an unexpected post. I was so pissed off the I felt that I needed to share a rant.

 

 

I was recently in a popular restaurant in León, Nicaragua and over heard a conversation from the next table. They spoke fluent English, I assumed that they were Americans. I could not, however, figure out why they were in Nicaragua. I assumed it was a vacation but it may have been a mission trip or some other organized group.

I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop but it was hard to not overhear their banter as we were one of three tables in the restaurant. They were complaining about their stay in Nicaragua. I was quietly getting enraged and embarrassed at the same time. I have spent a fair amount of time in Nicaragua. I became enchanted by Nicaragua and fell in love with León. That’s why I moved here. Nicaragua is an awe-inspiring country. The people are remarkably welcoming and polite.

 

A Letter to the Ungrateful Table Next to Me…

Dear Whiners:

Take advantage of your travel experiences. Meet new people. To try new foods. Try to immerse yourself in a new culture. Learn new things about places you’ve only read about in books. I am assuming that is why you are here in Nicaragua.

I quickly became tired of listening to you complain about the food, the heat, the rain, the noise, the dirt, the internet, the lack of English, the bed, the lack of A/C, the lack of hot water, the power outages, the shitty water pressure…please just shut the fuck up.

Traveling is the best school you will ever attend. It should teach you to appreciate what you have, to respect others, and accept people and  their culture for who they are. It will make you a better, more tolerant, and more rounded person, and not in the way that college makes you “more rounded.”

During your travels you will encounter situations that make you feel uncomfortable and awkward. The whole point of traveling is to experience the world and its customs and its people and its food and their religions and  everything else that comes with it. I feel sorry for you if  you are uncomfortable and scared and homesick and wishing you were back in the routine of your normal life. Traveling is an ideal opportunity to learn how other people live.  If you don’t like it, then you should, at least learn to appreciate everything that you have grown accustomed to. I hope that you learn to not take things that you consider “normal” for granted. There are people all over the world that would kill for the comforts that you have come to expect.

When the travel bug bit me many years ago, I encountered several situations that made me feel uncomfortable. In Switzerland I slept on a park bench because the hostels were full and I refused to pay $150 for a hotel room. I shared coed toilets and showers in a hostel in Budapest — I’ll admit, it was weird crapping and showering next to a female, but such is life. In Prague, I agreed to share a bed with a stranger that I met on the train because of lack of beds. I’ve been in a car accident in Belfast. I have gotten traffic tickets in Nicaragua. I’ve had my passport taken on a Hungarian train over a misunderstanding. I’ve been refused a boarding pass in the United States. I’ve been overcharged for gas, food, beer, and room rates.

Get the hell over it! I feel embarrassed for you.

I want  you know that most of the people deal with things that make them uncomfortable. Personally, I took uncomfortable situations in stride and wrote them off as a learning experience. The next time I found myself in a similar situation, I knew what to expect and how to react. Keep in mind that adverse aspects of your trip today, will make great stories in the future.

These types of experiences have made me more aware of situations in my travels.  I’ve made sure to check my bar tab before paying. I’ve made sure to check that the gas gauge was zeroed out before filling. I argued over the fact that I didn’t have the breakfast that was “not included” in my room rate. These are the things that made me a more confident traveler. These are the things that taught me not to be a sucker just because I didn’t speak the language fluently.

 

Nicaraguans are friendly, inviting, and helpful, but I will admit that many can’t resist a “mark” when they see one. Tourists are targets for all kinds of scams, all over the world. People are always trying to make a little extra money on the unsuspecting tourist, on the tourist that probably won’t notice a dollar here or two dollars there. Hell, even if they do, they are too afraid to argue it and just accept it.

In your travels, see the world, learn what can, immerse yourself, meet some locals, I promise you won’t regret it. It will make you a better person, even if you don’t realize it yet.

Sincerely,

Viva León, Jodido!

5 Comments on “Stop Your Damn Whining!

  1. PREACH!
    Sometimes people really underestimate how lucky we are to travel!
    Travel is such an immersive learning experience – when done with an open mind!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those unfortunate types are unhappy wherever they end up. A great read,thanks for sharing! I bet it was ironic listening to that convo. probably could have closed your eyes and been sitting in Anywhere U.S.A. reminder of the entitlement culture from which you departed. I much enjoy the (for the most part) humble,grateful,sincere,appreciative people of Nicaragua. I will NOT miss folks like this WHEN I leave EEUU.

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  3. Hi Chelito, I totally agree with you. What a nerve for people to complaint about the lack of hot water or air condition while they travel on the cheap . I am from León, fully bicultural as I have kept my Nicaraguan cultural roots and travel to León at least once a year and stay one month or so; therefore I happen to know all of the good hotels and restaurants in the city and some hostels. If people like the ones you mention would put their wallets where their mouths are, they would have had hot water showers, excellent A/C and ate at first class restaurants that satisfy the demanding upper middle class of León. I have also discovered that some expats think that Nicaraguan cuisine is limited to nactamales, chancho con yuca, indio viejo, tacos (which are actually a relatively new addition to the popular menu) and fritangas, and not just that, they seem totally unintereste to learn about Nicaraguan culture (Rubén Darío, Augusto Sandino, José de la Cruz Mena, Armando Morales and many others who excelled internationally in their respective fields). So, I ask myself, are these people here just because it is cheaper than other places but want to live in the comfort zone they left at home?

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  4. Good point. Perhaps more expensive restaurants and hotels may have appeased and/or impressed them. Personally, I feel that it is more difficult to get a good sense of a different culture if you insulate yourself in fancy hotels and restaurants. One can eat burgers and steaks anywhere.

    Like

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