Short summary for the easily distracted. Loved Leon, now in Masaya where there is a festival of Jesus.
I have moved on from Leon as there weren't any rooms available because of a big festival. Although last night I was out and about with a lot of people wandering around for the festival. This morning I finally took some touristy pictures of cathedrals... and had a last wander around. I really like Leon, and Lazybones is a great hostel for the ¨¨don't want to get drunk and throw up on fellow hostel goers crowd... eg. more mellow and sophicated traveller and the pool is wonderful given Leon is generally in the early 30s temperature wise.
I'm now in Masaya, which is about 40 minutes from Managua and about 30 minutes from Granada, but to get here was one scarce to get taxi in Leon (busy with festival), two minibus rides and a long hot walk. But meet a guy training to be a guide on one of the minivan and he told me heaps about Volcano Masaya and Masaya in general. I love the part English-part Spanish conversations I have with people, ultimately I think that is one of the things about being a solo female traveller, people strike up a conversation.
Masaya is just incredible and I mean that in the most odd and suprising ways. First, something you don't hear about in the guide books - my hotel is on casino row.... there is even a beaten up Pharohs, Circus Circus.... sadly with casinos there are also people lying on the ground drunk and down and out.
I'm lucky enough to have come to Masaya for the night of the festival of Jesus.... what are the odds, Leon I think had Festival of Mary, I get both Mary and Jesus. How it works is that people open their homes and give things away like fruit, lollies and toys. There are some houses that obviously are well liked as the queues to enter are about 100 deep. At the Tourist office, they were open for the festival so I stood in line with a wonderful bunch of excited and singing children... the tourist office people laughed when they saw this gringo(i.e. me) in the crowd. They gave me a whole lot of things like the children, a cup, a lime, lollies, a flag and wait for it..... a poster of Jesus from El Presidente to the people of Nicaragua..... I may have to send that home as it will be in shreds in my bag in a day or so. So the streets are full of happy people, there are fireworks everywhere (in Leon it was crazy, like gun fire) and if I really wanted to I could queue up for freebies. My hotel is one of the stopping points... cool ey.
Tomorrow I head the non-gringo, el cheapo Volcan Masaya tour. Gringo pay $40US and go to Masaya and then Laguna. Non-gringo, 15 minute hot walk to terminar (crazy busy station), hope on minibus to Managua ($0.75US), drop off at park gate, walk about 500 metre, catch a local cab ($3 US), stay as long as I want..... beholden to no one (except rangers of course), then do the same back. And I kinda like the microbuses (I don't travel the US school bus local buses here with my back pack as they have moving exit policy, which I discovered going to the Volcan Telica, e.g. throw bag on ground if you can't jump off the back of the bus with it on while bus is moving.... quite a rush to do it once...
I'm here for at least two nights, I'm in a place called the Hotel Maderas Inn, which is the first place I've had a TV at.... so spanish novellas (15 to 30 minute soap operas here I come...). Although, the place seems more like a homestay.... but hey, as long as nothing eats me (unlike sitting in this internet cafe being eaten alive).
Masaya was also hit with a tragic earthquake, I'm not sure when but you can see some of the buildings have just been left.
So that's life with me, still so loving Nicaragua.