I arrived in Esteli, Nicaragua on Thursday. Got off the bus, called Emilio and 15mins he was there in his truck to pick me up. When we arrived to his home the first thing I noticed was the door leading to his restaurant and one of his employees preparing food. I am sure some of you are ready for me to tell you, he pulled out a cot in the kitchen for me to sleep. My accommodation at Emilio’s was probably the best I had during my trip. He took me upstairs to where he lives. A nice open floor plan with big beautiful windows, his balcony overlooked a beautiful church next door. My room was big with nice windows with an attached bathroom. Each evening I would go downstairs and “decide” what I wanted to try on the menu of his Mexican restaurant. He had really fast wi-fi. We love wi-fi. I am not exactly sure who else lives there. I know his mother lives there but she is in Mexico with his girlfriend for a month. He seemed to be very excited about his girlfriend being away. There was this little girl that was there. He tried to explain to me who she was but I still don’t really get it. She got really comfortable with me after a couple days and proceeded to play with all my stuff. I couldn’t understand her with her missing front tooth and fast Spanish. But she was still a cutie. I think one of his employees might live there as well and he had another house behind the restaurant that I think his aunt might live.
One of the reasons I went to Esteli is another couchsurfer’s profile Asha. She works with disabled children and was always looking for volunteers. I accompanied her and her boyfriend (who she had met through couchsurfing and after a month they moved in together) to the school. She does animal therapy so we brought dogs and geinuie pigs for the kids. One of the kids took my camera and took some shots.
Esteli was cool. I really liked Emilio, even though it was different being hosted by a man. We didn’t have the whole men suck thing to bond over. Instead we talked about music, race and class. Oh and the uselessness of marriage. Sunday after visiting the waterfall, I headed to Leon.
I stayed with Carlos, who Asha’s boyfriend Rudy put me in contact with him. I found Carlos easily enough. He was tall and he walked in front of me, giving me a chance to check out his muscular back and swag. He rents rooms and was in between two houses. He showed me where I would be staying and we walked to the other house, along the way he found a stray kitten. He has 5 animals at the second house, glad I wasn’t staying there.
I wanted to volcano board and do a 2-day trek while in Leon. When I first heard of volcano boarding my first reaction was “White people already making up new ways to die”. But I saw some pictures and it look safe enough. Yeah, the volcano was “active” but it hasn’t gone off since 1995. I get to the place Monday morning, earlier enough to eat breakfast there. As I was eating breakfast I notice this girl with this huge burn on her arm. I got a bit nervous looking at it. So I asked her if she got that volcano boarding. She replies “Yes, I am Sarah and I will be your guide for the day.” I got really nervous. She said she does it every day and she is bound to have scrapes and bruises, but I should be fine. Before leaving I got an email on my phone (shout out to wi-fi on BB’s) informing me of a deadline for a book review for a journal I agreed to do in March. Life was calling. Eventually our group of 20 begins to boards the truck for the bumpy 45 min ride to Cerro Negro. Once at the base of the mountain they threw us bags with our “protective gear” and plywood boards. I don’t think any of us realize that we had to carry our boards up the volcano. The next hour and half was physically the toughest experience of my trip. It was hot. The terrain was rough. The sun was beating our faces and the heat from the active volcano was on our feet. There was a certain way we had to hold the boards so that it wouldn’t get to hot on the paneling before we got to board. We stop a few times to rest, which gave me time to really think about the intelligence of my decision. Oh and I really had to use the bathroom. She would tell us random facts about volcanoes and the area- I felt like I was in the Volcano episode of the Magic School Bus– auctually traveling inside the volcano. We were able to look inside of craters. I could feel my head pounding from the heat and my clothes were soaked as we walked. Eventually we made it to the point where we would be boarding. She led some others to another point of the volcano, since I felt like I was dying I stay put and waited for them to return. Oh, while we were walking she pointed to another volcano close by that erupted 2 weeks ago with people on it. Why was I on this active volcano again. Poor Sarah everyone in our group was punks. As she explained how the record was 86 km per hour, all we cared about how did we go slow. Apparently she believed our goal was to go ridiculously fast and break this 86 km per hour record, we did not agree. We went in groups of 2, the first couple of groups sucked- taking forever to get down. Sarah called this the worst day ever. I don’t know why she was so annoyed- she was still getting paid. When it was my turn, I did ok. I was going really fast, but the faster you go the harder it is to stay centered and not flip over. I flipped twice. When I got to the bottom I discovered my “injury”. Hopefully my pretty legs aren’t scarred for life. They passed out cheap beer and these tasty cookies at the end. I don’t drink beer, but it was cold and I was hot. I had about a quarter of the beer before throwing it out. Pretty sure they called it Cerro Negro because everyone is black after that mountain. I am about 4 shades darker and my bra was full of black gravel.
Once back at the hostel they had mojitos waiting on us. I stopped drinking liquor about 3 years ago. But I was thinking I need to stop placing limits on myself, all these rules on what Tab does and not does not do needs to go. Plus the mojitos were free. So I had one. This mojito was probably made of the cheapest rum and reminded me why I don’t drink liquor- I don’t like the taste. I eventually made it back to the place I was staying. I was tired from the mojito, the sun and the hiking. Carlos was there telling me something about him leaving for Managua and what was my plans. How long would I be in Leon? At this point I was over my desire to go on a 2-day hike, so I told him I was leaving the next day. Of course I had no idea where I was going. I woke up from my nap still feeling sick. I had a book to read and a review to write. I figured I would go to the beach and stay there for a couple days. No internet. No distractions. Woke up the next day still sick. About 20 minutes before I was about to leave to go to Las Penitas. I decided I was over packing my stuff and moving every 2 days. I researched how much it would be if I changed my flight and decided it was too expensive. So I decided to take my but to Managua, the capital and the city I would be flying out of and just chill until it was time to go. I haven’t really had the energy or desire to do much in the city. The first night I was here the transformer blew and I was without electricity for 24 hours. I spent the second night still ridiculously sick. I woke up about 4x throughout the night to use the bathroom. I was tired so I never turn the lights on but the first time I noticed some water on the floor. The second time the floor seemed a bit wetter and I thought I should put on shoes. The third time I turn on the lights and saw that the pipe to the toilet overflew, which not only got the floor in the bathroom wet but also parts of the room. My jacket, socks and a couple of other things got soaked in this lovely water. Since I was feeling weak and sick I went back to bed, opting to deal with the mess later. Of course my stomach issue awoke me a 4th time, I decided to just stay up and wait for the hotel owner to wake up. He gave me another room and washed my stuff that got wet. So why was I sick? I blame it on heat exhaustion from volcano boarding, cheap bear/liquor and me eating everything people made for me. For a while I thought I was low key lactose intolerant, I am pretty sure of that now. Central America and their affinity for milk and cheese have not been good to my stomach. I felt the healthiest ever when I was vegan. I am off meat again and will be veganish until I finished those frozen girl Scout cookies in my fridge in AZ. I decided to stop eating out. I went to supermarket and made dinner Thursday and Friday night and breakfast in the morning. Thursday night’s pasta was vegan, no animal products used! I was tired of eating greasy mess and I am grown, all grown people should be able to cook for themselves. Still not at my best but feeling a little better. I am still having these chest pains. Finished the book, now on to writing the review. Went and saw a performance at the National Theatre last night. More about that and me not being a man here. Shout out to the trannie prositutes I encountered when I left. My flight leaves here at 1:11 Sunday morning. I pretty much have a whole day to kill. I ended up not meeting up with anyone from CS here in Managua because I am really not that social. I had my fill of meeting new foreigners. I am really ok with…