The border crossing from Guasele to Somotillo was our most hectic crossing yet. We managed to get out of Honduras easy enough, going into Nicaragua was a little bit time consuming but we managed, and headed on to our first stop, Leon.
The Bigfoot Hostel (and surrounding hostels) didn’t have secure parking but we luckily found two street parking spaces right outside Bigfoot (although it was a 15 point park job for Dan, he did great though). We walked around Leon, taking in the many beautiful churches and decided that we would go volcano boarding the next (seems to be the thing to do in Leon), we booked through the Bigfoot Hostel and in exchange they let us use their facilities and their security guard kept an eye our trucks. Of course we them proceeded to get very drunk in their bar, at the time volcano boarding sounded like fun hungover.
The reality is that it is fun, but I would not recommend it hungover. At least the ride to Cerro Negro is in an open air truck, so all the folks feeling rough had a constant breeze. The hike up the volcano isn’t so bad, it’s the fact that you have to carry a heavy board and protective gear with you, add to that a strong wind and I needed a nap at the top. After a quick debriefing on how to volcano board, we were off. It was actually really fun, even though I went pretty slow, eating volcano dust just didn’t sound appealing.
Despite the snazzy orange jump suits we were covered in black dust and decided the best place to recover would be the sea. A quick drive to the coast and we found ourselves in Las Peñitas, at the Bigfoot Hostel there, because they had room for both our rigs, perfect.
Kat had to fly home for a week, for a family emergency (all is ok) and since we know what it’s like to lose a crew mate, we decided that we would stay the week in Las Peñitas with AJ and Alex. Dan and AJ decided they would spend the week learning to surf, and I decided to do a week of Spanish school (because I am a glutton for punishment).
There is one school in Las Peñitas, Casa Elisa, where I would walk to every morning (about 20 minutes), on my first morning I walked with another girl and guy who were thinking about doing classes and wanted to come and check it out, and I walked home on the beach after day 1 but decided it was too hot for that and I would stick the road the next day. Funny thing, we’ve been travelling in Central America for 2 months, but I’ve always been with Dan, so I was completely unprepared for what happened the following days on my walks to and from school. In Nicaragua they still “cat call”….excessively. Every man who I passed, no matter their age, said something to me or made kissing noises at me, I was called baby, mama, sexy, and hot stuff. My two favourites were the young guy who offered to “grow a baby in me” and another guy who rode by on his bike making kissing noise whilst holding a baby…nice.
I spoke to some of the girls in the hostel and they claimed Nicaragua was the worst country in Central America for this. I then discussed it with my (male) teacher, who from the look on his face knew what I was about say while stammering away in Spanish. He agreed that it was still a big problem in Nicaragua, but didn’t really have a reason for it. I have to say people in Nicaragua are really friendly, but not as openly friendly as they have been in Guatemala and Honduras which is too bad, you seem to have to engage them first to see their friendly side. Okay rant over, single ladies travelling to Nicaragua you’ve been warned.
My week of school went much better than my first attempt, I think that it came down to my teacher being very passionate about his job and actually knowing enough English to explain things I was just not getting. I feel like my Spanish is coming along but like anything I need to practice everyday, which you’d think would be easy in Spanish speaking countries, but everyone wants to practice their English.
Our week on the beach flew by but we were ready to move on, it was time to find some higher ground.