Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Let The Sunshine In

Oh, things are definitely looking up. Nicaragua suffered through 24 consecutive days of torrential downpours, but it appears to be easing up, finally. Not only has it not rained so much in the past three days, the sun has actually been shining for multiple hours a day. It's dizzyingly wonderful; yesterday I almost OD'ed on Vitamin D. So what does one do with a sunny day in Nicaragua? Well naturally, one goes out to enjoy it. Thus it was that this last Sunday, a day of epically gorgeous sunshine, Monica, our new roommate Peludo, and I took off in the car for a spontaneous journey of exploration and fun. Where did we go, you ask? Where didn't we go. We did a tour of the Pueblos Blancos in a little rented Suzuki with a motor approximately as powerful as a blender. We visited Niquinohomo, the birthplace of General Augusto Sandino.

It's a small town with a cute colonial church and friendly people. There used to be a museum with artifacts from the revolutionary hero's life, but then Daniel Ortega's wife took them all (she's his great-granddaughter) and now they live in the President's house. At least that's what the nice guys on the street said. Kind of a bummer, really. But whatever, onward we went, on a whirlwind tour of the surrounding towns. It was really a lovely day. It seemed like every person in Nicaragua was out in their yards or out in the street, soaking up the sunshine. And oh my god, the clothing! For a month, nobody's been able to dry their clothes, but on Sunday it looked like every person had every single article of clothing they owned outside on laundry lines, on fences, hanging from trees, laid out on rooftops. It looked like Buddhist monks had decorated the countryside with prayer flags. We didn't stop for long in anywhere in particular, we just sort of stopped and checked out the town squares, took pictures, wandered about, but finally we ended up in Catarina, where there is a substantial tourist installation and a beautiful overlook of the Laguna de Apoyo, that gorgeous lake I went to my first week in Nicaragua and loved so much.

Here we stopped for a little shopping (ooh, the delicious fruit stands!).

And I fell head over heels in love with lychee fruit, which I'd never actually seen live and in living color before. Oh my goodness it's delicious. And fun to eat!

We had lunch in a sunlit mountaintop restaurant overlooking the Laguna de Apoyo, and listened to meandering musicians as they serenaded nearby tables with Nicaraguan folk songs.

Then we took off for Masaya, where we picked up our friend Alta the Dutch girl, and decided, "Hey. Why don't we go to Granada for the afternoon?" So we did. And good lord, why haven't I come here before. Granada is an old colonial city like León, but it's received a substantial face-lift over the past decade or two. The buildings have been painted in bright, bold colors, and the whole city is sort of duded up for tourists. And I know I should be a good world-traveler and despise all touristy locations, but God help me, the sun was shining, the colors were gorgeous, and I was drinking one of these:

That's a macuá, the national fruity rum drink of Nicaragua. It's luuuurvely. So luuuuurvely. I luuuuurve it. How could I not be thoroughly charmed?

And so it was. We sat in the lovely bar of a beautiful old colonial building and drank rum, and then wandered about in the late afternoon sunlight.

We meandered down to the waterfront of Lake Nicaragua. We laughed and took pictures, and wished we'd brought our bathing suits with us.

And as the sun set over Granada, we headed back to the car a little sunburned, a little sleepy, and a lot happy. God, a sunny day is just the best thing in the whole world.


Anonymous said...

How wonderful that the sun decided to come out and grace you with some lovely vitamin D! Glad that its finally getting nice again!

Although, this post did get the Sesame Street song stuck in my head...

"Sunny day - Sweepin’ the clouds away,
On my way to where the air is sweet.
Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street."

The Fairy King

Mr. Poopie said...

Alrighty Cheasty, I don't want to bust your soapberry family bubble, but the fruit you ate was actually a Rambutan, which is closely related to the Lychee tree. Rambutan, in indonesian means hairy fruit. In Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, we call them mamon chino, because they originated from China. Anyway, I don't know if they have the green hairless, mamones in Nicaragua, but if you find some, they are equally delicious, just a litter tart. Aaaahhh, memories.

Cheasty said...

fairy king!! i miss you so. thanks for calling today!

and mr. poopie! argh! thanks, once again, for knowing more than I do. i asked a friend how to say mamon chino in english when i was writing the post, and she said lychee, the bastardita!! well, now the record is straight, and OH MY GOD, THESE FUCKING MOSQUITOES. i'm off to put on some long pants. and eat some rambutan. rambutans? what is the plural of rambutan?

Prunella Jones said...

Wow, that lake looked like something you'd see in heaven. And that crazy fruit looked straight up devilish! Nicaragua seems very beautiful and intriguing.

Kate said...

The mosquitoes??? You are from Texas girl, you should be used to the vicious bloodsuckers! (My folks live just outside of Dallas; I was utterly shocked at the mosquito population the first time I visited.)

Glad you had a great time. I love the clouds in that second picture. Gorgeous!

Mr. Poopie said...

Kate, I don't think you understand. The mosquitoes in Central America may not be large, but what they lack in size they more than make for in numbers and pitbull-like aggressivenes.

Kate said...

Mr. Poopie, I stand corrected. The mosquitoes that I am used to are more chihuahua-like-- a little twitchy and extremely annoying, but dammit those little teeth hurt!!

(yes, i do know that mosquitoes don't have teeth)