Our first day in paradise, well not quite, but close to it. We’re staying in a wonderful hostel called, Hotel Oasis. It’s quiet and charming. There are two indoor patios, one of which is filled with hammocks, wicker couches, and a beautiful garden, the other of which is the main eating area surrounding a small, but wonderfully refreshing, pool. Our breakfast (El tipico) includes the standard nicaraguan gallo pinto (rice and beans), eggs with cheese, and two tortillas.
Today we took it easy and wandered about town. We stopped off in the central plaza for a bit to people watch and were gentley harrassed by the ice cream vendor who tried to convince us that his ice cream would give andrea “strength in her arms”. The town bustles with a surprisingly quiet din. It’s a lot like what I had imagined Salta (in Argentina) would be like, although much less developed. Many people ride bikes or in horse-drawn buggies. Even at night (around 6) when everyone emerges from their slumber the town is at once lively and tranquil, most likely due to the general slow pace of life here in Nicaragua. We thought of trying to attempt a journey to the outlying natural wonders, but we were too tired and decided to take a swimming and napping break midday instead.
Our wanderings later that evening took us to two of the three main churches in town and to the local historical museum. In the first church we were able to climb the belltower all the way to the top (and I do mean to the very top) where we enjoyed the spectacular view and soothing winds in the company of two teenage girls hanging out and joking about fellow students. We could see all the way to lake managua in the north and the peak of Volcán Concepcion in the South. At the second church we found the musem which is housed in what used to be the convent. It was a wonderful place to spend a few minutes sitting in rocking chairs in the central courtyard full of palm trees and birds. The museum was mainly a collection of old pictures catalouging the many changes that the town has gone through including pre-columbian stone artifacts and pictures starting in the early 1900s. Having worked up a considerable appetite at this point we started our search for a restaurant.
We ended up eating right across from a private school next to the central park which happened to be let out just as we ordered our meal. Our waiter informed us that most of the schools in the area are private, the few public schools, he whispered, “no son muy buenas.” It was great to see all the kids get out. We watched as a girl in her obviously modified uniform (to be more form fitting) flirted with an older boy on a bike. Some of the younger girls played games of patty-cake together near our table and the boys immediately started an impromptu game of soccer, using backpacks as goal posts. The meal was decent and left us quite satisfied. We quickly retreated to our hotel for some beers, swimming, and an early night.