Nicaragua map:
Dec 30, 2007

The traveler's scourge of Central America:  "Gallo Pinto."

Gallo Pinto is a mix of bean and rice.  Sometimes it's very tasty, other times it's dry and flavorless.  But problem is that in Central America, including Nicaragua, they serve it with _every_ meal.  After two months of Gallo Pinto 3-times a day, even the most ardent fans of rice and beans begin to grow sick of it and after only a couple of days, I'm already getting there. 

The monotony of the food is the sole thing I'm really not looking forwards to in moving down here to Nicaragua.


Church El Calvario


But mostly, I'm really enjoying the country. 

Leon is a nice, laid back town with old churches, quaint parks, and murals of mostly a political nature. 

It's hot midday, around 90 (32C) degrees.  That's not HOT, like I experienced in Sudan, but still it takes some adjusting to.  And like most hot places, things seem to liven up at night in Leon. 

The central square is a full of people at night.  It seems like the party here just continues all the way from Christmas through New Years; but perhaps it's just like this all year round.  In the central square, a pair of traditional local costumed characters are dancing around giving me a taste of the local culture and history.  "La Gigonta" is a big Spanish woman (on stilts) with a small head wearing a long fancy dress.  The other character is the relative midget of a native Nicaraguan, shown with a big head indicating the smarter of the two.  There are also lots of fireworks going off with a constant BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.  The Nicaraguans seem to love their fireworks.

Every night, I end up at the same place:  Don Senor bar/restaurant.  It certainly seems to be the hip place to be as every night it's packed full of people dancing salsa.  The crowd is mostly Nicaraguan, but there is always also a scattering of tourists, expats, and Peace Corps drinking and dancing.

Leon isn't very touristy.  But my hostel is packed full of tourists.  Every day the place empties out, and every day it fills up again with a new batch of backpackers.  Generally the more tourists a place has, the less friendly they are (Loneliness?).  With the big crowd coming through here, the other travelers don't seem particularly friendly.  Plus I seem to be moving slower than everyone else.  And so, the moment I make a friend, they're gone again on their way to Honduras or Costa Rica.  The locals for the most part don't speak English, and I don't speak Spanish yet.  So, I'm feeling just a little bit lonely here.

But, word is spreading about the island project.

Leave a comment!  I'm much more inspired to write when I know people are reading. 

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