Backpack Heirarchy

I’ve come to the conclusion that I´m just about the only person here who hasn’t sold all their possessions and packed up a giant backpack to travel around Central America for months and months. When I tell backpackers I´m here for only 10 days, they look at me like What´s the point of that!!??

Don´t get me wrong. The vast majority of backpackers, even the hard core ones who have been away from home for months, even years, are truly lovely, generous people.

But I’ve noticed there’s a hierarchy within the backpack culture. A select few might best be described as “backpacker snobs”.

They have a look that´s obvious from a distance — they´re wearing weird combinations of clothes they’ve purchased along their journey. And ratty old flip flops. They may also have have given up on personal hygiene.

For this backpacker, it’s vitally important that everything be done the hard way. They can´t just sign up for a guided tour. They have to hire a small Guatemalan boy to guide them through the dense jungle to pick up a leaky canoe they will then paddle for hours upstream to get to a hut with no running water and teaming with insects. To get the authentic experience.

I, on the other hand, am having my own kind of authentic experience.

Because apparently in Nicaragua I’ve become a woman obsessed with handbags. I’ve bought two already. And naturally, I’ve also purchased a pair of shoes. Who am I kidding… I would have bought another pair, but the shop was shuttered for lunch. I’ll go back there tomorrow. 🙂

Beautiful handmade leather bags are comparatively, ridiculously inexpensive. Sigh.

This new obsession did cause a moment of panic, though. I realized I should probably have more cash on me than I do (due to the handbag situation), just to make sure my transport back to the airport in Managua is adequately covered. (I’m taking a shuttle because I’m leaving so early and that definitely doesn’t come cheap.)

So this morning I go to an ATM and stick my bank card in. And the ATM tells me it can’t read my card. Okay. I go to the other bank across the street. And I put in my card. And the ATM tells me it can’t read my card. And some woman is suddenly standing right at my shoulder looking to use the machine… or take my money…. but since the ATM refuses to play nice with my bank card, there’s no chance she’s getting any of my money since I can’t … which leads to the slight rising panic in my chest. So I go to the third ATM. And I put in my card…

…and the ATM asks me for my PIN!!! I’m saved. Until I realize the ATM speaks Spanish…but there’s a Language button choice and I chose English…and the panic goes away.

So no backpack for me, but lots of bags…. and I don’t have to figure out how to get to Managua on the chicken bus with leather bags and a rolley suitcase.

Come to think of it, I could probably use one of those gigantic backpacks right now to take home my handbags…

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