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Heat, dance recitals, and earthquakes

NICARAGUA | Thursday, 19 June 2008 | Views [479]

I´ve been in Leon for two days now and can say, without hyperbole, that this is the hottest weather I have ever survived (and without air conditioning at that). It has been around 100 both days, with heat indices even higher, and UV indices at 10. Which means, even with my SPF 50 reapplied every hour or so, I´ve been slowly roasting. Yesterday I survived two chicken buses to get from Granada to Leon (via Managua) and upon arriving at my hostel, immediately jumped in the pool. Then I wandered around a bit, made a reservation on the bus back to Costa Rica on Saturday, bought some groceries, and had to return to the hostel to get back in that pool. Every two hours or so, there is a steady rotation of us just jumping in and then walking around, dripping wet to cool off.

Today I made the rounds of the churches and museums of Leon. I hit up the major five or six churches, got a few pictures, peeked inside when possible. Then stopped by the contemporary art museum to see some Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, among Picasso and Chagall, before searching out the ¨Museum of the Revolution¨. I had to inquire several times because it didn´t appear to be at the intersection the map pointed to. Finally, a security guard of the building next door walked me to the entrance, which was a scruffy kid and a card table. I paid my 25 cordobas ($1.25) and walked into a one-room ¨exhibit¨, which was actually photocopies of pictures and newspaper articles taped to poster board, which was then plastered to the wall. A very nice man explained the entire exhibit in Spanish, even though he knew I spoke none. I caught a few words here and there, and at the end he handed me the English translation to read on my own. Apparently the admission fee includes a tour and he was going to give it to me!

By then it was too hot to think so I returned to my hostel to upload pictures and hop in the pool. On the way in, the girl at the front desk mentioned there was a dance performance tonight at the National Theater in case I was interested. So I walked the four blocks to the theater and procured a ticket for 25 cordobas without actually understanding which dance company was performing. Somehow my Spanglish doesn´t cover performing arts vocabulary. So I showed up tonight with no idea of what to expect. Turns out it was a dance recital for several schools in Leon. They had routines covering every style of dance from flamenco, rhumba, salsa, and tango to Broadway jazz, hip-hop, and barely-choreographed booty shaking club stuff. Needless to say, they did the latin styles better than the hip-hop. Also interesting: there were more guys than girls in the routines, and they were uniformly better performers. It was an interesting 90 minutes nonetheless, though I am a bit sad that next week, for the same price, I could see the National Ballet of Mexico. Alas.

Now I´m back to the hostel, checking up on email and news, preparing to get back in the pool. Suddenly, there is a minor earthquake. It lasts about six seconds and when it finishes I look around, in a bit of shock since it is my first earthquake, and no one seems to have noticed. I check the pool and sure enough, there are ripples where the surface was once smooth as glass, so I know I´m not making this up. I ask the people making dinner in the corner: did you feel that? Yeah, they answer without much emotion. There are earthquakes here from time to time. Something about plate tectonics.

So there you go. It´s been an interesting two days in Leon. Tomorrow I´m getting up early to climb Cerro Nego, the only privately owned volano in Central America, and then surf down the black sandy surface on a board of some sort while wearing a full orange jumpsuit. Should be a blast.

Hope everyone is well! Check out my pictues from Leon on Flickr!

Tags: earthquakes, leon, nicaragua

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