I was informed yesterday that I should get used to being referred to as a gringo. This declaration was promptly followed by the story of where the word gringo comes from.
Allegedly, during the war (which war wasn’t specified — being as I am in Nicaragua, I took any mention of “the war” to refer to the Banana Wars, or possibly to the Nicaraguan Revolution), some unspecified group of Latin Americans encountered some unspecified branch of the U.S. military and didn’t much care for them. The U.S. troops wore mostly green, and the Spanish speaking invadees picked up the word ‘green’ and the word ‘go’ from English, and they combined them to express how they felt about the soldiers. Who knows if that’s true.
My day in Managua has been chock-full of other such stories that are usually entertaining and sometimes compelling despite their questionable provenance.
Like, for instance, the one about (perpetual) President Daniel Ortega’s wife being into some sort of African witchcraft, and him erecting these giant yellow metal trees around the city for her, which trees are apparently occult symbols.
Don’t worry, I was confused, too.