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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Ranchero country

NICARAGUA | Monday, 30 January 2012 | Views [1519]

Saying goodbye to Brandon and family minutes earlier, the bus pulled away from Managua's bus terminal. This is the furthest north I've headed in Nicaragua by far, and I must say I'm glad I took this ride by day because it is beautiful! Mountains, farms, horses, and cowboys on all sides; the landscape looks like something out of Arizona or western Texas. Cowboys are called "rancheros" in Nicaragua. I had forgotten to write Asha's address before leaving Brandon's house so I'd have to stop at an internet cafe in Esteli. In front of us was an old American school bus with two guys standing on the back bumper, seemingly having a conversation with the driver of our bus before very carefully opening the emergency exit door and getting back in.

Two hours after leaving Managua, we were in Esteli, Nicaragua's "cowboy capital." Walking past a bright blue school bus westward from the Panamericana I was immediately impressed by the colour! Every house and building is painted very colourfully and the iron bars are so creative! Blood red, sea green, lavender, peach, and sky blue are some of the colours I saw in a one-block stretch.

After getting Asha's address, I hop in a taxi and I'm dropped off right in front of her house. Nobody answered when I knocked on the door so I called in at the home across the street where they make some tasty tortillas for one cordoba. Just a few minutes later I met Asha and I told her about my journey! Last night I felt bad for getting stuck but she said when she saw that I was coming from San Jose she knew it would likely take more than a day to get here. Asha is originally from the Netherlands and she runs a program where she uses animal therapy to help special needs children. I could already tell I'd be spending hours chatting to her! She had to leave for work within the next half hour but I wanted to go get something to eat and a few things from the store because she doesn't have an extra key. She does have a bicycle, so I rode to the store and got some bananas and coffee. Most of the coffee out here is instant but I got a bag of coffee grounds. Costa Rica was bleeding me dry financially but Nicaragua you won't spend a lot even if you want to; US$20 will last you several days here if you CouchSurf and don't go all out when it comes to spending. Seemingly every other person wears a cowboy hat in Esteli; after all this is cowboy country. Instead of mounting my horse and lassoing cattle, I mount my bicycle and lasso me some good grub! A hamburger, salad and french fries were on my plate tonight for only a $1 and, going down a steep stretch of road I was back in time to grab a few torillas before I was locked inside Asha's lovely house for the evening. She has two dogs, two cats, and a rooster. No reptiles or fish though. As I gazed at the paintings of camels, sand dunes, and a blue sky on her wall I feel more like I'm in Morocco than in Nicaragua.

Tonight I was stuck inside but really it wasn't bad at all. I could make as much tea as I wanted, go online, upload photos, lay in the hammock, play with the dogs, call friends, smile, reminisce, play with the dogs some more, and then go online again! Hallelujah! There's hot water here! Esteli can get rather chilly at night, so hot water is almost a must here! When I was in Nicaragua two years ago it was very difficult to find a CouchSurfer but it was very easy finding Asha. Esteli, I'm so glad to be here! I have a good friend in California who is from Esteli. Her name is Flor, she's a florist, and I always call her "Flor mi amor." There was a possibility that I could have stayed with and/or met her family but her brother was the victim of a robbery and has required a lot of rehabilitation. Flor had flown here on short notice a few months ago and was here for about nine weeks. I had offered to bring something small for her family but beacuse of the issue with her brother her family is under a lot of stress right now. Tomorrow I'll trying calling Flor so I can tell her I'm in Esteli! Asha returned at roughly 9 PM and we were chatting the night away. It's always a pleasure to ramble on about my travels. We had some coffee and were up until well past 1 AM. I was tired by then and I took a pain pill so can sleep easier. Good night Esteli, I'll see you in the morning. 

Tags: cowboys

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