It’s my last night in Nicaragua. I’ve spent these last two days at a beautiful little oasis of a hotel, Hostal Mariposa on the outskirts of Léon, Nicaragua’s first capital city and the birthplace of the Sandinista movement.
Today I haven’t left the grounds of this beautiful place – it’s a higher-standard place than is my usual fare and coming here was a fine and wise decision. It’s boiling hot out – the hottest month of the year in Nicaragua and Léon is known to be the hottest place in the country. So Hostal Mariposa’s pool and hammocks have been a perfect way to spend the day!
I arrived very early yesterday morning, coming from the town of Masaya, known as the folklorico capital of the country. There I got to see and hear some Nicaraguan music and dance and visit the local artensania handiwork market. In the past, it would be hard to imagine that I would stroll through the stalls and leave empty-handed. I didn’t purchase a single thing. It just didn’t seem like it was important to buy anything, let alone lug anything. So I didn’t. Sorry for any of you on my souvenir list – it seems to have disappeared, that list! I’m not even on it, at this point!
When I arrived yesterday, I headed directly for the local beaches, just minutes away. It was the first time swimming in the Pacific on this trip and I must say, although it was a gorgeous, expansive, empty-of-people playa, the Caribbean is where it’s at, baby! Oh the Pacific is grand, of course; but the Caribbean and its turquoise-colored waters, nothing tops it in my book!
(Tried to include cathedral pics, but they just don’t want to load right now – too bad.)
Then I spent the evening strolling through the capital city, gazing at the cathedral in Parque Central, the largest cathedral in all of Central America and enjoying a local meal and some more live music. After that full day, hanging out here today was just the ticket. I’m not nearly so inclined, as in my greener travel days, to tick off the list of must-sees. Now, it’s more about the must be’s. So today, I gifted myself the luxuriousness of lounging at the pool (no swim up bar and no umbrella drinks, I haven’t gone that far off the rails!), reading, writing, writing, writing, and even indulging in one of those becoming-more-like-a-regular-thing afternoon siestas!
Tomorrow I head out very early (5 am!) on a 12-hour bus ride to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. 12 hours on a bus crossing a border and into a new country that has me – already anticipatorily – broadening my shoulders a bit. It’s always like that entering a new country; but entering Honduras is different. It’s a bit dicey there these days; even the Peace Corps just last month pulled all their people out of there – too dangerous, it’s become. It’s developed the dubious distinction of being the murder capital of the world. Quite the claim to fame and I’ll be out of that city first thing in the morning! I won’t be venturing too far off the fairly well-trodden path in general. My first stop will be the Mayan ruins at Copan. I want to hear directly (so to speak) from the Mayans about what they’ve got to say about all this 2012 business. Preferably at sunrise. I did the same a few years ago in Guatemala and they told me then not to pay much attention to these current-day soothsayers. It’s just that they ran out of room on their carving stone, they assured me. Who I am to question them?
I’ve been telling people my trip is almost over, but then I realized that wasn’t quite the perspective I wanted to be hold, so I’ve let it go. Truth is, I still have one third of the trip left and a whole new country and culture to experience. I have that simultaneous nervous and excited energy as I ready for bed for my early departure.
I’ve so loved it here in Nicaragua – the people and their warm, friendly, engaging energy and the ease of being everywhere I’ve gone. I haven’t seen many of the places I had intended (see the reference to my greener days of list-making above) and I realize it had to do with moving more slowly and recovering from that near-miss of a bad experience in Managua. I hadn’t realized what a crimp it had put in my traveling sails. So when I arrived in Granada and found it so welcoming and wonderful, it was there I found sanctuary, pause and rest, qualities way more important than any must-see, must-do list. I’ve had a very different stride on this trip, created initially by some physical limitations which I have a feeling are carving out a new way of travel for me. More slowly. More slowly. Doing less. Being more. Settling into a place for awhile and sinking in deeper to it and thus to myself. Yes, move more slowly, the body has demanded; and the spirit recognizes and follows. Sometimes it’s like that, the body leads and the rest of me learns by following. I think there’s some big wisdom there for me.
Right now, the greater wisdom tells me to get my ass to bed, because the morning is coming and soon!
So indeed it is, Ciao to Nicaragua with many thanks to your people, to your culture and to your land, all of whom have welcomed and treated me so kindly.