september and rice juice

I’m drinking piña con arroz. Pineapple juice with rice, over ice. Strangely it is pink and tastes like brown sugar. It is delicious. On further inspection, it seems as though this strange concoction is literally blended rice and pineapple. Blended rice has an interesting consistency.

Okay. I went in for round two and asked Ixolina. This is how she tells me you make this drink. Disclaimer: just in case you are tempted to make this drink yourself, I could be horribly mistaken because she talks very fast.

You boil rice. To this rice stew, you add a full pineapple. A whole one, skin, fronds, and all? Yes. Then, when it’s cooked, you take said pineapple out. How to tell when a boiled pineapple is ‘done,’ I haven’t the foggiest idea. Then you somehow sacar (take out) the juice of the boiled pineapple. Or maybe you add the whole fruit. I don’t know, sacar was used very vaguely here. What you have sacared, you add to the boiling rice-stew. Then you add sugar and red food coloring. Why red food coloring? So it’s nice and pink. I guess pink beverages are better than beige ones. Somewhere along the way, you have added the skin of the pineapple, which you are now blending along with everything else in a blender. There was also cinnamon sitting on the counter, so I believe that it plays a role somewhere. Finally, you cool said boiled rice-pineapple-sugar-red food colored concoction in a pitcher in the fridge, and serve it up over ice. These instructions are confusing but are so in a consistently Nicaraguan way, so they seem to fit the drink. 

It’s really quite wonderful and refreshing, albeit a bit strange in concept.

Today is September 1. Holy moly shitoly. I am having my own personal celebration, toasting myself with my pink rice juice, that I have officially been on Nicaraguan soil one month. I’m a third of the way through my tourist visa; I’m one lunar cycle removed from life as I knew it. Like most months for most people, it has flown by and also I feel as though it was a very long month. How has my life changed? Throughout this month, I haven’t once worn makeup. My hair hasn’t seen itself outside of a ponytail holder and my skin hasn’t felt itself without bug spray. I peered into an active volcano once and said my ABC’s two thousand times. I counted to twenty an equal number of times, and said the days of the week slightly less many. I live 15 minutes away from a deserted mile-long forest-green, sandy-beige, brilliant-blue beach that I may run on anytime I feel so inclined.

Indeed, I woke up early this morning to run, unaware that it had rained quite a lot last night, turning the little creek I normally hop over into a river. There I stood, contemplating this development, while the family in the house above the creek watched me. Two local boys arrived, rolled up their pants and just walked across, so, following suit, I took off my shoes and socks, and wadded through the shin deep water to the other side where my deserted beach awaited me. It’s not quite as rainy as it was last week, so I soaked up some sun on my run and am feeling much perkier. 

I discovered, while flipping through my Moon Nicaragua guidebook, that hamequear is a real verb used in Nicaragua. This is an astute insight into Nicaraguan culture, I believe.

Hamequeaba todo el tarde ayer. I hammocked all afternoon yesterday. I’m nearing the end of my book about Nicaragua (entitled ‘Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua’) and am still marveling at this country and it’s people. More on that later…

Ah, the first of September. It doesn’t seem at all different here, August to September, yet in my former life, the arrival of September was the shift and click that re-set my mind into fall, school and the soon arrival of shorter evenings and crisp mornings. On Nica time, though, the days and nights hang in the same equilibrium, sunsets are always long and there exists the verb, to hammock.

And, I wonder, what shall the coming month bring?

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