Thursday, August 09, 2007

August 9, 2007
Well, we survived Nicaragua. Kathy and I are ten feet off the Western shore at Corinto (snuggled inside the humungous Universe Explorer, the ship that serves as the campus of Semester At Sea).

Actually saw an ox-cart today! Stunning to say the least. I had read in the Nicaraguan Guide Book they were still used, but even though I had my eyes peeled to see one, it wasn't until we were in a cab headed for the bus station that I saw the oxen at the head of a carreta, just outside the bus compound. Saw oodles of horse drawn carts, they are everywhere, fighting traffic, truck drivers yelling snide remarks as they lumber by. For some reason, the Nic men love to ride in the back of trucks, standing up, facing the wind, even out on the highway.

This Just In: The Baseball Cap Has Conquered The World
It's official: the baseball cap has become the universal headgear in every country in the world. I realized the impact when we were riding a mini-bus to Chinendega, and everyone we saw on the road, whether riding farm equipment, bicycles, horseback or on foot had on some version of a baseball cap.Hmmmm.

On Wednesday morning, Kathy and I walked 11 blocks to the Subtiava Barrio in Leon, which was the indigenous village, which the city of Leon usurped in 1610, after fleeing an earthquake and, or, volcanic eruption which buried the oldtown. Huge church, built in 16-something. Really staggering, the scale of these Spanish behemoths. That these crews came over from Spain, and then using found materials, built these sophisticated structures, many stories high, at the time when the Jamestown crew were patching together thatched huts, well, it's a bit humbling to an old North American Chauvanist.

The only downside was the humidity. We were soaked by the time we got back to the hotel. Fortunately we had AC in the room. Big storm came in both nights. Heavy rain and thunder. Ate dinner at a place called "Menu." Ha. That was the sign, vertical, on the outside. I had the Indio Viejo de carne (Old Indian steak). Quite good. Kath had the Carne Adobada. Bill was 100 Cordobas, which translated to $5 (the exchange rate is about 20 to one.

Went to a concert last night and saw Louis Enrique, the Bob Dylan of Nicaragua. He was fantastic, although I think I understaood maybe five words during the entire two-and-a-half hour concert. Kathy bought the CD ($10 American)

Took a cab ride to Poneloya Beach for dinner last nighht. Cab ride was $20, dinner was $7, plus I got a massage at the dinner table for $7.

There's more but the ship is heading out to sea and I have to go see this... .

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