On one of the ‘chicken buses’ headed from Matagalpa, I awoke to see several men outside of the bus leaning into our windows yelling in Spanish. At first I was very startled thinking the bus was under attack by people climbing in through windows and doors, but then looking around I saw we were stopped in a market area and the men were hanging in the window with bags of vegetables to sell. Some quickly got on the bus by the doors and others clung on to the windows from the outside, shoving their products inside the bus to sell.
After a few days in Matagalpa, we went on to the border town of Somoto, Nicaragua, debating whether or not to cross Honduras to get to El Salvador, as we had heard the country was unstable enough that riots could erupt at any day due to the military take over and problems with the President threatening to return. So we decided to postpone the decision for a few days and spend some time in Somoto, going to see a gorge which was really nice. We took a hike down a dirt path to a river where many locals were bathing
and doing laundry in the river. We were unequipped for hopping across rocks in the river so we had to take off our boots and go barefooted which was painful when we slipped on a rock and stubbed our toe or when we stood on the ground underwater covered in tiny sharp rocks. It took awhile to cross and when we did we walked through some brush until we got to another river we walked along where on the other side a local man sat on a log and waved us on. Seeing there was no where else to go, we hoped he wasn’t calling us over to rob us, took our boots off again and waded through the river. Once across, we walked along the bank for several minutes where we saw many cows wandering, wading in the water to the grass on the other side or drinking from the river. We were at the bottom of the gorge looking up to huge rocky walls on both sides, covered in grass and trees. There were patches of tall cacti growing about 10 meters from the ground all across the gorge.
We found a place to eat lunch under
some shade and watched a tour group taking tourists upstream to where the canyon walls were even higher and the water was deeper to swim and tube in. When they left, Step wanted to swim, so he did, naked, in the river. As we were heading back, one of the locals was making “pshing” noises to call some animal. I asked him about it and he said he is calling his cows back, they do come back when they are called he said, they like the salt lick! Amazing.
When we walked back, our feet were very sore from the jagged rocks crossing the river. By the time we were almost back, we saw a boy swimming and stood on very shallow ground, almost like an ankle-deep underwater bridge made of dirt, that would have been much faster and painless to cross, only about 2 meters away! Such is our luck.
On the lines of our ‘luck’, when we returned to our hostel, we saw them cleaning our rooms, pulling sheets off the bed, despite all of our belongings being in the way! I immediately
noticed my USB port for my computer was missing, the cleaning woman had snagged it up with the sheets and was about to wash it! I was furious but got even more angry when they told us we had to leave because they had reserved our rooms to others! We knew they were lying because they did have other empty rooms, this is not a touristy town, and they just wanted our rooms empty in case others did show up, they would be paying more since we talked him down quite a bit in price. The guy at the desk called another hotel to get us a room for the same price, even asking for our names, but when we showed up, the manager at the other hotel said he didn’t have any rooms available, nor for that price, so we had to go to his other hotel which was even MORE expensive. But his co-worker had just shown the guys two empty rooms we would be occupying. I really doubt this town is capable of filling up TWO hotels on a Tuesday night. So to avoid paying him, Step (who knows very very little Spanish) did a charades act
at another hostel to inform them he needs a room, and pulled out a little bit of money from his pocket begging for a room as it was all money he had. They laughed but it worked, we got the room for cheap!
In the morning, we are taking the bus through Honduras to El Salvador!
^Út Í Óvissuna^
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