After our double border dash in the morning we were happy to be gliding again. Upon first entering Nicaragua we followed the Pan Am in a giant s-curve around 2 big national parks. Scenery was great especially driving between the San Christóbal and Complejo Volcanoes North of the road.
We drove through a little town called Telica and slowed for a gathering of police in full riot gear and shotguns on the left side of the road. They were ready to pounce. Looking right we didn’t see anything though, some walled complex. No idea what was going on, but it looked like a siege was brewing. We were still a little edgy having just driven through 3 Countries within the top 5 homicide rates worldwide, but we breezed through with the stereo blaring funk tunes. That probably helped ease the situation for everyone. At the end of town was another gang of cops, probably 30 of them, possibly waiting to supply backup.
There were tons of road horses and cows. Actually we passed a funny sight, cows playing soccer. It was white cows versus black cows out on an overgrown soccer field. Looked like the white cows were putting together a set play off a free kick just outside the 18 yard box. Black Keeper cow was organizing a cow wall, mooing them left, no further left. 2 white cows on the ball. Intense moment. One cow galloped up and struck with all his hoof might. Straight into the cow wall. Cows are so dumb.
We came into the small colonial city of León. Our new Hosdar tactic which seemed to be working without fail is to drive right to the center of a town, find the largest cathedral around, and take a left. Viola! Hostel Colibri. Parked EL-BP and checked in. Super cheap. Super cute. Central. After crossing 3 countries on our last pair of boxers we were thrilled to see they also had a laundry service. There was also a rad BMW Motorbike in the foyer with signatures from all over the globe. Rally style.
Traffic in Leon – donkey-drawn carts are everywhere
We hit the main square looking for dindin. Found a place with a balcony called El Mirador. Kind of swanky. We got 3 litres of beer, cordon blue, and a steak dish. 25 bucks. With tip.
While sitting there some sort of street party or spirit rally kicked off outside of the church plaza. A group of people wearing blue and white Techo shirts were causing a ruckus with a trumpet, bass drum, snare and about 50 youngins, probably high school or early college, all singing and chanting. Techo means roof so maybe this was some housing fundraiser or something. They started a limbo competition with their Techo flag and then things really got kicked up a notch when some hyper dude in a full giant bunny outfit jumped off the back of a passing pickup and hit the scene. Lots of bunny bumping and flailing. People were screaming. They rallied into a massive group photo and then started a parade down the street during sunset.
It was still early so MacKay and I went back to the hostel to regroup. We grabbed some beers from the front desk guy and went back to the thatched roof hammock grotto in the back. There was a guy and girl in a heated debate about climate change. The girl’s point was that through critical mass, stopping traffic, and participating in large rallies, you are raising awareness of the problem, and through that, positive change will eventually come. His point was that by doing events like that you are creating an annoying and negative image of the positive effect you’re trying to make and that real change will actually come through the individual efforts of innovative people. They both had good points but James and I refrained from getting involved. We kind of wished they’d stop bitchin because they had St Germain playing but were totally ruining their own vibe.
When there was a pause I threw out the universal hostel greeting ice breaker “So where are you guys from?”. They asked us to join them and we planted ourselves at their table.
Sophie was from London and she was in Nicaragua doing her thesis on how NGOs fuck shit up, basically. Martin was from Vermont and was in Nicaragua to visit Sophie over 10 days. He worked in the research lab sustainability field. Research labs handle a lot of unique forms of waste, some hazardous, and he educated facilities on how to properly handle materials and also build more sustainable operations. He also took a major turn in conversational tone as soon as we sat down and it was pretty obvious that he was craving some guy time. We were laughing and joking around like mates and Sophie seemed a little put off by it.
We chatted them up for a bit over the course of a few drinks and then Sophie dropped the “we’re off to dinner” vibe. Fair enough. We were about ready to hit the town ourselves.
We left the hostel and headed back to the main square, and, of course, things took a turn for the stupid..