Spanish School Here We Come

Trip Start Nov 05, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Saturday, April 12, 2008

We flew into Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua on a little 12 seater plane, which was a cool experience. We were right there with the pilots, no door between us at all. It was quite funny because at one point during the hour and a half flight one of the pilots was reading the newspaper and the other had his arms crossed behind his head. Myself, having some experience with small planes as Dad is a pilot, I knew that it was on auto pilot, however a few of the passengers were a little worried. It made for a good giggle!
We bussed it up to Leon, for another visit to the beautiful colonial town that we so loved. The last time we visited Leon, it was in early December and only for a few short days, but while in the city we had investigated a few Spanish Schools, and had our hearts set on the Leon Spanish School of Nicaragua. We checked into the same guest house we had stayed at the last time, which is located right in the center of the city and within walking distance to the school. Via Via is the name of the hotel we stayed at and still to this day we have ranked it as our favourite cheap luxury place to stay so far on our journey.  It is this enourmous (sp?), beautiful building that was designed and built by a man from Spain who bought it for his mistress in Leon.  It has huge cathedral ceilings with a garden built in the center. All of the rooms are in the back end, and they rebuilt it with a restaurant and bar in the front half! It is a piece of art and it also holds this amazing energy and karma within the building that just makes you want to stay forever. 
The cheap room we wanted to check into was full for the first night, and all that was available was the deluxe room with a king size bed, cable t.v., gorgeous stone bathroom, and beautiful french doors that open into the garden. Even with our own two rocking chairs out front. What more could we ask, and for $20.  So, the short part of the long story is that we actually ended up spending 2 weeks in the deluxe room, because once we put our bags down and laid on the massive bed, it was all over!! LOL. You must treat yourself once in awhile right?!?!
Well, Spanish classes began on the Wednesday and it is 4 hours per day in the morning, followed by an afternoon activity with other students and the teachers. We visited the ruins of the Veracruz indians, the local markets, the beach and participated in Salsa lessons. Let me tell you that Rustin sure can salsa! That was a funny class. I could not stop laughing enough to get a move in.  The Spanish lessons proved to be quite challenging with homework everynight, and it felt great to be back in school and learning again.  We are both well on the way to learning spanish, which is one of our main goals to accomplish while we are down here.

We finished up our first week of class, and decided to go to a rooster fight which is a traditional event that happens every Sunday in Nicaragua.  They have professional rooster fighting which is for hundreds of dollars, but we decided to go to a mellower fight which is not so serious and the roosters do not fight till they die as they do in the professional leagues. I had a tough time deciding if I was going to go, but Rustin made a good point, that "When in Rome, does as the Romans do", so off we went with a group of travelers to experience the rooster fights.  It ended up being a great experience to witness the rivalry among the different roosters and the folks that raise the roosters. Some of these men live and breath for their roosters.  Personally, I was only able to watch one rooster fight as it was too much for me emotionally. I am a little sensitive for those who know me well, but Rustin was right in there around the ring enjoying the comraderie that the local men have. Cheering and shouting much like at a boxing match, and drinking Toņa, the local beer
While at the rooster fights we met a local man and his son whom made jewelry in Leon at a shop nearby to our hotel. They both had on amazing necklaces so we decided to go check out the shop. It was a traditional old jewlery shop with all of the old tools still in use from the 1800īs. Rustin and I went with a few friends we had met in Leon, and we all ended up picking out rings that we wanted to have custom made. We stuck around the shop to watch the entire process, and in the end we all had new silver rings. Rustin had a gold necklace that he had found on the beach in Maderas melted down and made into a beautiful lion ring to represent our time spent in Leon (the Lion), and a great story to go along with it.
We spent an extra week in Leon as it was Semana Santa, which is the Holy Week. It is bigger than Christmas and literally the entire country shuts down starting on Thursday before Easter. They have processions in the street and church services every day aswell as church bells ringing all throughout the city.  One day we went to a local womans home to learn how to cook Indio Viejo, which is an ancient nicaraguan receipe of the indians that has been passed on for centuries. It is made from simple ingredients over an open fire, and absolutely delicious. 
Rustin celebrated his 31st birthday while we were there in Leon, which consisted of breakfast in bed with champagne and orange juice, a trip to the art museum, a visit to an air conditioned movie theater (luxury when the city averages temperatures of 38 degrees celcius and more), followed by a fancy dinner at a nice hotel, and then I got Rustin back for the tequila he and my dad fed me on my birthday! :) Needless to say, we were not feeling so hot the next day!
After Easter weekend we decided it was time to move so on we went on our route back to El Salvador once again to our home away from home, El Tunco to practice the Spanish we have learned and reconnect with great friends we have made. 
En route to El Tunco we made a stop in Esteli, a little mountain village nestled near by the border of Honduras to visit a cigar factory and witness the hand rolling of Nicaraguan cigars. We ended up buying quite the selection of cigars as Nicaragua produces some of the best cigars, up there with the good olīCuban cigar.
We made it to El Tunco with a warm fuzzy feeling in our hearts as we felt a sense of home!! Time to surf again, speak some spanish and take in the El Salvadorean lifestyle!!
Until the next story,
Rustin and Jenn
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