How many times during your Peace Corps service did you stop and wonder about all the strange characters and scenes you could capture — if only somebody would loan you a film crew?

Well it took nearly a decade after completing my service, but that’s exactly what happened to me last January, when a producer from the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” asked me if I would guide their star and crew around Nicaragua.

“Yes,” I said.

What followed was one of the craziest, most intense whirlwind tours of Nicaragua I’ve ever taken. My job was to help portray the “real” Nicaragua, by presenting serious themes wrapped in entertainment — i.e. the fun of watching someone eat cheese worms, raw bull balls, and iguana eggs.

Culinary shock value aside, I made suggestions and, incredibly, they listened to me — so we filmed acts on a Nicaraguan chicken bus, at a fair trade coffee cupping,  “snout-to-tail” pig dining, and a Creole family dinner. Also featured in the Nicaragua episode — which will air on June 2, 2009, on the Travel Channel — my Peace Corps site, La Trinidad, Estelí. Yes, my dear “La Trini” makes a quick appearance, representing small pueblos off the beaten path across the country; it comes off as kind of a Panamerican truck stop, but nevertheless, there it is, for the world to see — because someobody loaned me a film crew.