Marcelo's family farm in El Viejo
I had left Leon on January 1st and headed to Chinendega with the hopes of getting in touch with a friend from Orlando whose family lives in a small town outside of Chinendega. He had given me a number, but it was wrong... wasn't sure if it was intentially given wrong or a legitimate mistake. I thought of just heading straight to Esteli, but remembered advice of a friend many years ago...... Always chose the path of least regrets. I got to Chinendega and all the internet cafes were closed. There was no way to double check if I had written the number wrong or what... Chinendega was a hole and it seemed overwhelmingly sad... Very few places were open... I just decided to head to El Viejo where my friend's family lived.
Load number two I think.
.. I thought at the very least I would see where he came from and would just head for Esteli the next day.. I got to El Viejo and wandered around a bit looking for a hostal. There was only one to be found, which was on the backside of a public pool and club.... I went around and inquired about a room. Tables full of men where all yelling for me to come over to their table. Walking on the streets was bad enough... The room was horribly nasty and smelled dredful. I had no other choice... I took the room and decided to ask around about my friend. No internet cafes were open, but although El Viejo was larger than I had originally thought, I took the risk and started asking around town if anyone knew a family with his last name... I was proud of my bravery to walk around and go up to peoples houses, stores, workshops, etc.
Marcelo and his brother. The one that is pointing is the one that is pushy! :)
looking for this family. Everyone was extremely kind and helpful. They really wanted me to find the family I was looking for..
I finally found one house, but someone at the store nearby confirmed that my friend lived there, but maybe they were at the beach where all families traditionally pass New Years at the nearby beach. He suggested that I return later in the evening... I went to a bar nearby just for one beer and try to read a little. The harassment was horrible.... A table full of guys where trying to hit me up... they finally left and two guys at the bar could see my frustration. One guy asked me why I was said, I explained that I wasn't sad I was pissed at the behavior of the men in the town. He proceded to make up for their bad behavior by buying me beer after beer.
This is what happens kids after a bottle of rum.... Never drink and play with glass at the same time..Pretty good work though I think!
Got about 4 free ones off him... I should try that one more often :) I returned to the hotel and waited for a bit.. Later in the evening I went back to that house and was told that it was the wrong place... I continued my search and was told of another house... I passed a shop where I had stopped earlier in the day. The lady asked me if I was able to find the family. I told her, the house i thought was not the right family. She told me of another area where I might look. Believe it or not I was able to find my friend's family.. I waited for him to return and he, his cousin and brother came to the hotel and we had a couple of drinks later in the evening. Although I had paid for the room, he invited me to his family's house.... I think it was less from a desire of me crashing in on his family, but more of concern for the type of establishment I had found myself in.
One of the young workers on the plantation. Said that he still studies.. Doubt it.
I had learned that the hotel was usually by the hour as it was connected to a pool and club... Aaaahhhhh! That is why all those guys were so persistent to talk to me... didn't think I looked like a backpacking hooker, but can't blame them for trying... Anyway, I spent the night at his house... Although I am sure nothing would have happened at the hotel, but he did the honorable thing by letting me stay at his family's house. I went with him, his brother and his dad the next day and worked to collect the remains of a peanut farm to feed their cattle. We worked all day raking up this stuff and took several loads to their farm.... I really did enjoy the work and was glad i got the opportunity to meet his family and see their farm.... We went for drinks again that night.
Area where plantation was..
... I think I will switch from beer to flor de cana... He told me that you don't get a hang over from Nic's rum, I didn't believe him, but I think he was right.... Totally ok the next day and continued my journey to Esteli.
I spent a week in Esteli taking a Spanish course....Norma, the teachere was awesome and the family I stayed with was equally fun and amazing. I learned a lot from her in one short week. Not only is she an amazing teacher, she took me to places I would not have otherwise experienced. In one week, we visited a tobaco plantation, very poor bario outside Esteli and an artisan who worked with marble statues... Will post pictures later... We later visited a woman coop in pottery and Korean plane shot down by Sandinistas in a town called Cendega.
He made amazing sculptures of marble using only machete and files
There we met and talked a while with two kids who had dropped out of school two years ago, aged 8 and 9 in order to work in recycling to bring money to their family.....Afterwards, we were allowed to enter a cigar factory and the Manager was really kind and gave us a bit of a tour... It was a great week there! what an awesome opportunity and lucky chance of taking a course with her.....On our walk she pointed out two medicinal plants she thought I would find amusing.... One was called tapaculo... tapa meaning top or stopper... culo means more or less the anus.. The plant helps with diarrhea.
The other plant was testiculos de yankee.. It wasn't in flower, but she said the flowers are like big balls. I asked her why yankee.. Her response was that people think yankees have big balls.... Too funny! If anyone wants Spanish classes in Esteli,,, let me know! Although I still think my Spanish is shit... It really improved in one week. I think I would like to return and spend more time with her in the future....
I am off for Honduras on Monday... Not sure how long I'll stay trying to head towards Guatemala via El Salvador......