Semana Santa


We started to get nervous, as Semana Santa was approaching, and we knew the beaches, especially around San Juan del Sur, were no places to be: crowds, drunkeness, and crime. Coming into town to get our bus out of there, we caught a glimpse of the week to come and we very happy to be heading away. Interested in exploring further the Northwest, and hearing that Leon had a nice Semana Santa spirit, we to Leon, first stopping off for a couple of days in Masaya for riding the merryy go round and eating in the Monimbo market.

Leon was a good host the second tuime arround, too. We had a more comfortable place to stay, though still noticed the lack fo decent veggie options for evening meals. We took a daytrip to some hot mud springs with a couple of other travelers we met, before leaving Leon after two nights of Semana Santa parades. Amazingly enough, we were headed to anothe rbeach! Our first night back in Leon, we came across a flier done by a gringa woman living on the beach near Estero Padre Ramos. Her place was basic, but she was inviting travelers to come stay
boiling mudboiling mudboiling mud

don't fall in!
in one of the extra rooms with a veggie meal included. After speaking with her a couple of times on the phone, we thought we had better make the trip to learn how this single woman is faring living off the beaten path, and hear about her experience with hosting guests.

Tina had braced us for a full house, having rented one of her two extra rooms to a family of 18 or so for Semana Santa. They were planning on camping outside, but eventually Tina felt it was too much and so did they, so when we arrived, we had the place to ourselves. Despite the drunken and rowdy atmosphere around town, we were really living at Rancho Tranquilo, as Tina calls her place. We stayed away from the party scene but we definitely saw the amount of trash egenerated. The town had organized a clean-up campaign with the help of the municipality, giving out trash bags to collect trash and supply to holidays revelers. For that one week a year, most of the beach town's houses were owner-occupied, unlike the rest of the year when the commuity of residents are mainly the caretakers. For most others, it was the biggest money-making event of the year.

So what did we learn about Tina's simple life in this tiny beach community? An American with a good heart who has traveled a lot, through previous work and independently, looking for a sunny place outside the US to call home for a while, Tina feels she has finally found it Los Zorros. After one year she said she feels she has the love and support of a special "family" and stays for the people, but she feels that the humble and genuine characteristics of the community is sure to change, as already there has been drama stirring involving "good Americans" and "bad Americans" who have recently been trying to out-bid each other as they buy up beach front lots, some looking at developing luxury surf camps in the style of San Juan del Sur....

Additional photos below
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 do it yourself mud treatment do it yourself mud treatment
do it yourself mud treatment

our guide scooped for us a piping hot bag of mud to carry with us back to Leon.
Ranch TranquiloRanch Tranquilo
Ranch Tranquilo

Tina's place is right on the beach
Los ZorrosLos Zorros
Los Zorros

not too crowded for Semana Santa--Tina's says usually you have the beach all to yourself
It's not child laborIt's not child labor
It's not child labor

It's homeschooling! Working hard to get the clothes clean.
hanging out at Tina'shanging out at Tina's
hanging out at Tina's

that's Tina in the hammock
sleeping accomodationssleeping accomodations
sleeping accomodations

semana santa style
the crowds start to head homethe crowds start to head home
the crowds start to head home

unfortunately, they leave behind a ton of garbage.

9th September 2009


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