Leon, Nicaragua

The traffic getting out of Managua was crazy. Traveling the same streets were cars, taxis, panel trucks, buses, plus motorcycles, bicycles, 3-wheel transports, and little horse drawn carts.  Add to that people everywhere.

Some pictures taken from our moving car:

 At the stoplights young kids/teenagers and even adults came up to the car selling things--frozen water in baggies, peeled coconut, cashews, car floor mats, windshield wiper blades, among other things.


The woman's family working behind her in the street median.

Peeling coconuts with machetes

 At the first stoplight we came to after leaving the hotel, an adorable boy, probably 13, approached the car, poured water from a coke bottle and started using a squeegy on the windshield.  He washed the passenger side first and then driver's side.  Alonso lowered the window and gave him some coins.  I took his picture and he grinned at me until we drove away.

It took us about 2 hours to get to Leon from Managua.  The road was good, wider than an FM, but not as wide as a state highway with shoulders.  What made it seem so narrow was because of all the carts, bicycles and people, horses, and cows on a tiny little shoulder, the cars drive very close to the center line. 

Alonso was a good driver, thank goodness. There was a lot of swerving in and out and squeezing in and out of tight spots.  And a lot of tapping the car horn. (In Nicaragua, a car honk is not an angry blare, but more of a 'beep-beep-coming through".) When we passed other vehicles, he pulled out and went for it, sometimes passing one or two, or if need be, none, but putting on the brakes getting back in our lane out of the way of oncoming traffic.  Making it even more exciting was Paula, covering her eyes and exclaiming "Brother!" in Spanish.

We visited Paula's family home in the barrio in Leon.  It is a typical Nicaraguan house in the city.  Brightly painted concrete walls, tile floors, simply furnished and no air conditioning.  This was my introduction to the gorgeous mahogony rocking chairs that are such a part of Nicaraguan culture.  We would see them for the rest of the trip on every porch or in the living rooms of houses we walked by, no matter how poor the household.


We took a drive through downtown Leon and toured the Cathedral of Leon, also known as Real e Insigne Basilica Catedral de Le├│n Nicaragua.   It was huge, beautiful.

The construction of the Basilica de la Asuncion began in 1747 but it took 113 years to complete the building of this large cathedral. It has withstood earthquakes probably because of its massive size and the design by architects from Guatemala. Its front entrances are guarded by statues of lions, legend say, that come alive at night. Leon’s central cathedral is located at what is called the Central Park where the people of Leon, sit and enjoy themselves with their families and friends, market vendors sell their wares and listen to music.  source

 I was noticing lots of kids out on the streets up in the morning and when I asked about that Paula told me how the schools work.  Because there are so many children, they divide the school day in Nicaragua.  Some go until noon, the rest go in the afternoons until about 4:30.  We just happened to be out and about when both sessions let out.  Dozens of children in uniforms came pouring out of alleys or non-descript buildings are schools.   Later we saw larger brightly painted schools in the country and on the edges of the cities.

After a quick afternoon in Leon, we traveled on to the beach at Poneloya were we would spend 2 glorious days.


Kristin said...

People really live different in other parts of the world don't they? We take so much for granted! What beautiful places you got to see. I am still jealous!

Linda Jacobs said...

I'm so enjoying this trip! Your photos are beautiful! Love the one of the church and all the arches!

Sheri said...

I love those rocking chairs! Wish I had ones like those on my front porch!

Cindy said...

Going outside of America is an eye opener. We live so differently from the rest of the world. That cathedral is beautiful.


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