León, Nicaragua... Seeing it at street level
Dec 9, 2004
|Although originally decided to desert Via Via, it didn't seem quite so bad in the morning. Actually slept ok, and even the bathroom was well designed in its worn out, shabby kind of way.
Found myself a bag of fruit for breakfast, exactly what I needed (though my stomache didn't feel so good afterwards) and aimed for the Central Park to work out my route for the morning. Ran into Andy, who was helping a local translate some English songs, and though it would have been a fun way of learning more Spanish, I was too preoccupied with eating my fruits. But Andy was dying for a cup of coffee, so went to a restuarant for coffee and breakfast.
Depsite my hard work during my pre-departure coffee appreciation training, I haven't actually had many cups of coffee. But this one at El Sesteo was good, even Andy, a coffee expert said it was the best one he's had for a long time.
It was a really hot day, and didn't feel particularly motivated in being coherent with my sighseeing. Walked back and forth between the internet cafe and the hostel a few times before setting off to the Cathedral - the largest in Central America, and only five minutes walk away.
It was nice and cool inside, and found myself a nice pew and took out my sketch book. Was befriended by two curious cousins, who happily sat on either side of me, and supervised my sketch of a statue. I didn't really understand what they were saying though, but still, we hung out together, for maybe an hour, in total? Took some cute shots of them outside, in the Central Park, and so they wanted to have a go too. They didn't have the same natural flair as my lovely Banana Pan girls in San Pedro though.
On another expedition to anther church, I sat myself in the cool shade of a courtyard, sketch book opened and pen ready. As I was about to draw my first line, a happy looking local waved and said something to me in Spanish. He was not accustomed to my typcially blank confused looking face and bounced over.
His name is Ernesto José, a passionate law student at the Univerisdad Autónoma de Nicaragua (UNAN). "Yo quiero hacer la diferencia," he explained, eyes opened wide (I want to make a difference). He spoke slowly for me, and was so very animated with his speech, it was very entertaining watching him, even if I didn't quite understand what he meant. Had a lot of fun practicing my Spanish, and learnt a lot more about Nicaragua. Went to the Casa de Cultura (House of the Culture) and the Galería de Héroes y Mártires, where Ernesto animated some of Nicaragua's myths and legends and social history for me.
Also pretended to be a student by walking through the science faculty of the UNAN, and nosing in the various departments as well as stealing some water from the fountain. It was interesting to compare the university system, and layout with the British ones, and so gave more meanings to the whole tour, as well as feeling have got to know more about the 'real' León.
Surprisingly didn't feel tired after so many hours of Spanish speaking, and even managed to speak some German too in the evening! That, and maybe plus the coffee in the morning made me toss and turn for a couple of hours, before I could get to sleep...zzz