Finding Equilibrium

Upon traveling in the north of the country, where few foreigners exist, I found myself immersed in Spanish. My original idea of virtual total immersion was not as easy as I’d thought it would be.  My objective was to adapt a ‘When in Rome’ philosophy. I would eat, drink and live the local culture, and even make an effort to speak like a local.  But over a short time, I realized that this would be close to impossible.

Coffee Connoisseurs Take Heed

I thought that it would be easy to find a bus going north, to take me 12km to one of a bunch of coffee plantations that exist in the region. Someone recommended a particular one to me. It seemed that it would be easy to find the bus to get there, but it wasn’t.  After walking for a couple of kilometers, and ending up on a road with no sidewalks, I flagged a cab to take me to the bus stop that I had finally gotten so close to.

A Fear of Dengue

Upon arriving in a tropical city in the middle of the night and being bitten alive by mosquitoes in the place that I’d corresponded with the day before about having a private room ready for me at 2am, a room that I’d paid for via paypal, I barely thought anything about the potential of coming down with Dengue, or Malaria for that matter.

The lady who I woke up after the taxi man dropped me off didn’t know anything about the private room or even me showing up for that matter. She didn’t have a key to a private room so I had no choice but to try to sleep in a musty, mosquito infested dorm room.

For as long as I can remember, mosquitoes have always loved chomping into my delectable blood. Regardless, I’d completely spaced on bringing bug spray to this place that sits in the heart of the tropics. This is because I was wrapping up infinite logistics.

A Personalized Tour of a Dairy Farm

A few days ago, at the very friendly and comfortable Hostal El Rey, I met the son-in-law of the Nicaraguan owners, a very relaxed, yet ultra-industrious former Manhattanite named Leo Castro.  He was one of those fortunate souls who  grew up bilingual and bicultural. Because he lived most of his childhood in the US, he’s slightly more of a gringo than a Nicaraguan.

A Stroll Through a Barrio and Beyond

It was midday when I decided to take a random stroll upward, into the hills of Matagalpa, to explore potential photo taking opportunities.  Never in my life have I been such a photo enthusiast, such a camera carrying addict.  The great picture I was searching for wouldn’t transpire, but something else did.

A Mountain of Contrast

I’ve completely lost track of time.  I just consulted my digital calendar to realize that today is my 11th day in a country that possesses rich architecture, history and terrain.

The people, including those over 20 years old, who, at an earlier stage of their lives were forced to endure deadly civil strife, seem incredibly peaceful.

Stranded in the Middle of Nowhere at Sunset

Upon getting on the flashy school bus –yes, you’re looking at an old US school bus fancily painted- I specifically confirmed with the driver and the conductor that the bus was bound for Matagalpa.

After leaving León and very mildly ascending upward, I noticed that the scenery had become splendid. Mountains and volcanoes loomed in the distance. It was tough for me to make out as the bus’ windows were tinted. This made it impossible to see in from the outside, and oddly obscured the view from the inside as well.

A Couple of Virtual Must Sees in León

There are endless things to suck your time in this picturesque city. However, there are two sites that that I consider absolute must sees if you happen to be here.

Go to the rooftop of the Cathedral de León. This is the biggest cathedral in Central America and the second biggest in all of Latin America. It took 100 years to build.

A Day at the Beach Gone Awry

A Potentially Perilous Estuary

Earlier today I was on a mission.  My objective was to reach the Pacific coast and get into the salt water. For at least two-and-a-half years my skin has been deprived of the therapy that the ocean’s prodigious pool provides.  Actually, I can’t remember the last time I went in the ocean before today.

Ruthless and Rowdy Rooster Fighting

A Typical Sunday Activity

I decided to set out on an organized rooster fighting tour led by a Dutchman who runs the hostel I’m staying in. He’s lived here for four years and knows more about Nicaraguan culture than any foreigner I’ve met.

I was the only one who showed up so it turned out that I would accompany him and his parents on a non organized visit.

As I’m a pacifist by trade, I’d never thought about watching animals fight.  I’m not a fan of boxing, wrestling or ultimate fighting.  However, the ambience and culture was something to take in.