It's good for a Canadian! I choose to study Spanish rather than the government-recommended French and have never regretted that decision. They do not speak English well so it has been invaluable to at least understand everything they say, even if I cannot always reply adequately.
Not many mosquitoes. Just this week I had my first bites. I am here at the end of dry season, however. I'm sure that changes when the rain comes. I've also encountered spiders/scorpions the size of my head while sleeping outside. Perfectly friendly if you do not disturb.
I've traveled a decent amount of the backpacker trail in my short life. I would put Nicaragua as my top destination. Safe, cheap, locals are extremely friendly, good surfing beaches, not touristy beyond other hippy backpackers. Close to North America. This place is about to explode into tourism I reckon so check it out while you can.
It is the weirdest place to live. High salary, lowest taxes in the country and low cost of living, relatively. Yet, everyone blows money on giant homes, pickup trucks, drugs, snowmobiles, atvs, speedboats... you name the poison. Fantastic place to get ahead if you can ignore the distractions.
Open invitation for anyone to stay with me during Stampede Week! For better or worse, it's a paid week of vacation where you wear cowboy boots, hats, jeans etc and start boozing at 7 AM, if it's a corporate function. I could tell stories for quite a while about my Stampedes. If you do not know what you are doing or do not have a corporation sponsoring it, it is probably the least-ERE event out there. $9 beers, high cover charges, everywhere jacks up rates etc.
Last year I was fortunate enough, through contacts I had made, to get the opportunity to volunteer at the rodeo barns. I served food (steak and lobster) to the rich and famous of Calgary/Canada while taking advantage of a top shelf liqour open bar. Usually, I managed to get invited out to all the after-parties that went till god-know-when in the morning and still made it to work the next day to do it again. That is what stampede is about. Fucking beats smuggling plastic bagged whisky in my cowboy boots through security.
I seriously didn't leave bed until Easter Sunday. Trust me the comparisons were made. Other than losing a limb, everything that could have gone wrong this trip kinda has. It's all in one's attitude so I don't really mind. That being said... had someone told me it was all attitude while I was curled up wishing for death on Good Friday, I probably would have tried to kill them.