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.