Las hormigas no son mis amigas....

Trip Start Jul 05, 2010
Trip End Jul 27, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel Blanco

Flag of Nicaragua  , León,
Saturday, July 10, 2010

It was all good until the Honey Tour. We've been doing our share to contribute to the birth of the tourist economy in El Sauce by going on 'tours’.  They’ve been created by the enterprising young men of the community who have taken the English classes taught by the Geneseo students.  The goal is to provide a reason for visitors to leave money behind in El Sauce, and of course to share the local offerings of the community with outsiders.

So highly motivated guys like Ronald and Leonardo and Enrique have worked really hard to learn English and create a business for themselves.  So between the visiting of folks within El Sauce, we go on the Tortilla Tour, the Las Paroles Tour, and then there’s the Honey Tour. 

The tortilla tour is great….we visit the mill where they grind the corn, we hang out at the tortilla factory which consists of girls (aged 9-14) working hard in tortilla production. They teach us the technique….we have fun, they have fun…it’s all a delightful experience, except Im glad it's a experience rather than a full-time job for me….and Leonardo does a stellar job as tour guide.  He intently labors thru his English presentation…patience…smiles…corn tortillas….all good.   

The next day we head to Las Paroles, a swimming hole with a waterfall.  This time Enrique takes charge…he’s got a great smile, his English is way better, he’s closer to being a real tour guide…he can relax while he speaks.   Along the way we stop at a few dairy farms….20 cows is huge…all milked by hand once a day.  We hike down to the river and since we’re in rainy season, the flow is strong.  I’ve got to say I’m a little concerned about the current but they said the water is COLD and I’ve been sweating for days and really need to bring my body temperature down so I watch how they navigate the current and do the same.  And then there’s the jumping off the rocks which I wish I could resist but can’t.  So I ask Enrique to go first and show me the jump…where are the rocks are in the water and where to aim the leap.  Exhilarating…but, on the second jump when my feet make contact w the rough rocks on the bottom, I keep to just swimming…yeah, I’ve torn a bit of skin off…now the challenge will be to keep the infection out.    

It’s a great current to play around in….making circles upstream to get in the flow and riding it down…and although it’s not COLD its cool and soooo refreshing.  Ronald and the other guys are fun and goofy…we all practice our foreign language…everybody shows off their musculos…Well needless to say, I’m sold on this tour too.  So I can hardly wait to see what the next tour is about. 

The over-the-top honey tour is next.  Should’ve taken a double river tour instead.  But we head out of town with anticipation….and next thing I know there are bees buzzing all around.  We’ve entered the sugar shack…back-up food for the bees and every insect in the region has decided to converge here.  It’s hot and sticky and mosquito-ey,  then we’re shlocking thru the mud with our flip flops…Leonardo’s having a hard time conveying honeybee behavior in English (it’s complex even when you know the language), and then suddenly there are the ants.  Snapping at us relentlessly, piercing our flesh, these are tiny ants but they are killer survivors…must be relatives of fire ants.   It’s like an attack all over my feet and when I go to knock them off they’re on my hands tearing into me.  Leonardo’s still talking honeybees but I’m in survival mode and have to turn around and get out of the ant pile.  Ronald just thinks the whole thing is funny.  Enough for me….the tours almost finished anyway.  Bottom line is that they do make absolutely great honey in El Sauce…but not today.  The honey man is spending his day snoozing on his hammock and the ants are the busiest creatures here. 

We get back to town, (whew!) recover w some Backstreet Boys on karaoke together...Ronald puts on his muy romantica face as he sings…back to delightful.  It’s been so nice to be a part of peoples lives here….to see Nicaraguans as individuals…some shy, some playful, some serious, some annoying.  We spend the evening hours, chatting with Ilyana.  I learn about her family during the Revolution…in fact Daniel Ortega is supposed to visit El Sauce this Sunday….he’s a big celebrity – (not to mention the leader of the country)….they believe he takes care of the people and are excited he may be in town. 

Ilyana is so genuine…Manuel, the 18 yr old who is assertively courting Corey.  and Ilyana’s family join us on the fringes…Oscar, the local street boy drifts in and out…he is mentally challenged and, living in the streets, is truly filthy but certainly has a charm all his own… people accept him as part of their lives…they feed him - he has total access to their homes...he is treasuring this photo Corey gave him of the two of them and showing it off to anyone who will look.  There’s a troop of fancy-dressed little neighborhood girls having a tea party behind us…the door is always open and people use it.  I feel completely welcomed.  Manuel walks us home as usual.   I’m off to a night full of solid sleep… craning my body towards the lazy fan in the stuffy little room and interrupted only by the passionate and crazy scratching of the insect bites that are beginning to define my body.  

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Sue on

Karen I am blown away by your photograpy, your journaling, and your sensitivity. I'm thinking you should be on a lecture circuit for Sociology/Earth Science/ Global classes everywhere....... or at least Bridge St. here in Syracuse.. Please keep a close eye on Corey.....Those boys look a little too happy to be near her. Be safe.

licia on

i feel like i got to eat tortillas and jump in the river! Remember the time I told you to blow your nose to get something out of your eye? (it works) Try white bread dipped in milk for poultice and will remove infections (it works) :) I have a great honey remedy :) so glad your having a great time and sharing the world w/ us

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