Hot July days in Leon...
Trip Start May 12, 2009
24Trip End Sep 29, 2009
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Traffic in Leon is indeed loco. I was just almost hit by a bus- while standing on the sidewalk!
The bus driver took it a little too wide, and I planted both hands against the bus, pressing myself backward. For the record, there is not an official bus driver certification here. Or maybe there, but it is not enforced. I have been some busses where the driver seems to be just learning how to drive a stick!
I´ll backtrack a minute and say how excellent my birthday was. If you recall, this is Operation: Summer de Suenos. Sub-Operation Celebration commenced with a trip to Lago de Apoyo. Two other Americans joined the party, and we headed back up to Masaya in search of the perfect birthday cake. In Nicaragua, they are pretty serious about celebrations... felicidades cumpleano, boda (wedding), primera comunion, ect... So, there are some pretty extravagant cakes. Since Masaya is the artistic capital of the region, I determined that was the best place to pick up my cake. After a bit of comparison shopping, I found my dream cake: white vanilla cake with guyaba filling, marshmallow icing, pink roses, and my name written on the top. Perfect! Quickly snatched it up and grabbed a taxi down into the crater of the dormant volcano Apoyo.
The water was great as usual, crystal clear. It was my fourth visit there! When I find a place I love, there is no need to leave it. We blew up balloons and strung them up on the floating dock. It was fantastic. What a peaceful place to do yoga...
When it was time to eat cake, we invited every person near the dock to join us. Israelis, Dutch, a few others, all were welcome. I sat in an inner tube holding my cake while some girls pushed the inner tube out to the floating dock.
They sang to me in Hebrew, Dutch, Spanish, and English! How wonderful! Clearly the most amazing birthday I have ever had! When it came to blow out the candles, I made my wish (!)... and then watched them relight! Not once, but about five times! Sure enough, I later noticed the package did say "relight". All I had noticed at the store was that they were candles, and were fifteen cordobas (75 cents).
After the cake was served, we were left with a quarter of cake remaining. We demolished it with a food fight (the cake lost).
That evening, our American-Canadian birthday party went to a fabulous restaurant in Granada where I enjoyed Gorgonzola Pecan Pasta. For dessert, flan, and another round of the happy birthday song. We relaxed back at the hostel in the garden courtyard under the full moon with chilled mango juice. Truly a birthday to remember, and how often is their a full moon on your birthday? :)
Now onto the Honduras situation. If you have not been following, I can not hope to bring you up to speed, but these sources probably can:
Start with CIA World Fact Book....
"Honduras Lifts Overnight Curfew"
This curfew being lifted will certainly be more convenient for me, since I tend to get hungry past 9 at night at crawl the streets for tasty fried plantains, yucca, chayote, chaya, and banano!
Note the other stories by BBC. Note the indication that protests are limited. Also, although they reported curfew as 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., I have heard first-hand that the curfew is enforced regionally as early as 5 p.m.
The curfew is now just 12 midnight to 5 a.m. No problem.
Here is another opinion, which takes into account more of the relationships of key players to each other and analyzes the precedent that this sets. From a less..."British" point of view.
"Showdown in Tegucigolpe"
If you do not read the article, read this
"Clinton also said, "Instead of another confrontation…let's try the dialogue process." What this ignores is that while the coup plotters have no legitimate standing, the Honduran people have a constitutionally guaranteed right to rebel under such circumstances. According to Article 3 of the Honduran constitution:
No one owes obedience to a government that has usurped power or to those who assume functions or public posts by the force of arms or using means or procedures that rupture or deny what the Constitution and the laws establish. The verified acts by such authorities are null. The people have the right to recur to insurrection in defense of the constitutional order."
Fundacion Adelante is a micro-finance initiative in rural Honduras near the north coast which provides credit to people no collateral and no access to traditional credit markets. They are accreditted by the Grameen Foundation. It provides support to the women who take these loans to plan their businesses, manage their budget, and re-invest their profits in the families and their businesses. They are very tuned into the needs and plight of the working classes of Honduras. Their clients have been impacted directly economically by these international power games. Commodities like diesel, gasoline, fresh vegetables, and temperature-sensitive medicines have been less easy to get, but there is still no humanitarian issue.
If you do not visit the site, and read just one thing, read this:
"With an approximated fifty percent decline in economic activity nationwide since President Manual Zelaya’s removal from office, Adelante clients are feeling the economic effects of the current political crisis. While Hondurans have been stocking up on basic necessities and lining up to fill gas tanks, no signs of such scarcity have presented themselves thus far. However, disruptions in transportation, reduced time to circulate due to the curfew, and fearfulness over what will happen next are among the factors that have contributed to this dramatic economic decline. . . .
Thankfully, with the help of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a major diplomatic breakthrough was made yesterday. Both Presidents Manuel Zelaya and Roberto Micheletti have agreed to negotiate with Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987, as a mediator. Meanwhile, Zelaya’s supporters have vowed to step up their protests to further disrupt commercial activity by blocking major highways, bridges, and international borders. If Zelaya is truly committed to finding a diplomatic solution to this crisis, perhaps he will discourage them from doing so while the talks take place. One can only hope that these two presidents fully comprehend the importance of reaching a compromise and that it results in a rapid return to political and economic order. For Adelante clients along with the rest of Hondurans, getting back to work is more important than ever." (emphasis added)