October 14, 2010
On the 12th I drove to a little dust town called ‘Las Penitas’ on the pacific coast for a day trip. I stopped at a bar/restaurant/hotel and had breakfast. I felt I had to by something cuz I had to leave my riding gear some where. I forget the name of the place but it was owned by an American couple. I walked up and down the beach then went back to the bar to get my gear. I met an older British guy and he gave me some tips on how to get across the Darien Gap. It was interesting. His stories I mean. Ha ha ha. I forgot my shorts so I had to walk around in my underwear. No one seemed to notice. I drove back to Leon and go stopped by the cops. They were just checking documents. I am always on edge with these guys. After the border crossing shit. Also the last time we were in Nicaragua we got stopped by the cops and had to pay as well.
I didn’t even get off the bike. I just gave them my documents and drivers license and in five minutes I was told to go away. They did ask if I had any water. I didn’t.
I left Leon yesterday around 8am. I wanted to and did drive to Granada. It was already getting humid when I left. There wasn’t much traffic so it was an easy get-out-of-town. I did, however have to ask for directions several times. Finally a guy in a jeep told me to follow him and he lead me to the outskirts of town. I stopped at a little comidor along the way and had breakfast and watched the Chilean miners being rescued on the tele. It was cloudy so the heat wasn’t too bad. But its still warm. 30 degrees or so..
There are very few ‘speed bumps’ here. There are a lot of speed limit signs though. I heard that they have radar guns in and around Managua. I go the speed limit here. I just don’t want to get pulled over for anything. On my way to Granada I saw three cops laughing, talking, standing nder the shade of a tree about 50 feet off the side of the highway. They didn’t see me until I was almost past them and then one pointed and blew his at me. Such bullshit. I didn’t hit the brakes or change engine speed. I just acted like I didn’t hear it and kept going. Assholes. As I got closer to Managua I stopped and asked for directions and there happened to be a photocopy shop right there so I copied maps of Granada. It was another 40km’s or so up the road.
The road from Managua to Granada is new. Or at least newer than the last time I was here. There also seems to be a lot more prosperity too. I saw several large shopping centers between Managua and Granada.
In reading the book and studying maps I couldn’t remember or picture the layout of the city but soon as I got to the plaza it all came back to me. I had a couple of places picked out. One, hostel, called The Bearded Monkey and the other Hotel Cocibolca. I drove to the monkey to have a look see. It was Hhmmmmm just OK. USD$10 with shared bathroom. No not water but that’s not needed because of the heat. At the hostel, I talked to an Irish guy who just came up from Colombia and he said it was a great country. I have not heard a shitty thing about this country. He did say that Costa Rica has two things. Drugs and Prostitutes. Nothing more. And he was adamant about this. He said Panama was the same but with less prostitutes. He seemed to be a normal guy so I don’t think he was the type to seek this shit out. He was in both countries for a total of three weeks. He spent roughly two months in Colombia. I will be in Colombia by early December. We were supposed to go for beers after I found a place but I wasn’t feeling so shit hot so I stayed in.
The other choice, ‘Hotel Cocibolca’ cost USD$40 and has satellite TV, free coffe all day long, A/C, WiFi, free breakfast, my own bathroom with hot water and a pool. Fuck it I am going to stay here. It’s almost my entire days’ budget. The clincher was the A/C. The problem with staying at places like this is that I meet no other travelers. I suppose I could go over to the hostels for a beer or two. They all have bars and restaurants.
I had to park Electra in the lobby. This is when I wish she was clean. The owners of the pace are quite ‘proper’ and the hotel is spotless with a really lush garden in the courtyard. And now dirty beat up old Electra is now the focal point in the lobby. No one seem to mind though.
When I was looking at the room there was a commotion out front. Some fucker tried to steal my teavas off the back of the bike. I have them pinned down with a mini carabineer and under my bungy net that holds down my mochila. As he was fucking with this (It takes me a few minutes to unpin the fuckers) some people and a cop saw and ran the guy down but didn’t catch him. The cop got a new bike out of the deal cause the dude ran off so quickly he left his bike behind. The cop looked pleased. It was the talk of the hotel for a good hour or so. Size 42. What the hell was he going to do with the tevas? Sell them? Yes - I’ll take one pair of wretched stinky gringo sandals that are four sizes to big for $10, Alex. Crack monkey.
After I got all checked in and changed I have my laundry to the guy at the front desk. He had a really old 9mm on his lap. I asked him about it and he said it was for personal protection. I don’t think that Granada is that dangerous a town. Maybe it is where he lives. He starts at 6am and leaves around 8pm. He speaks good English. He is one of the biggest guys I have seen in Central America. He told me they have him on a special diet.
For breakfast I can have anything I want and as much as I can stuff in my maw. I am having the tipico Nica deseayno. Beans, eggs, rice, salsa and tortilla. It’s healthy. I don’t eat much. How am I gonna burn this off? I have gained at least 10 – 15 lbs. since I left. Uggh.
Granada was founded in 1524 by Francisco Fernandez de Cordoba. It sits on the banks of Lago de Nicaragua. It currently has a population of about 100,000. It’s a much laid back city. It’s kinda like San Miguel and Antigua – just a little rougher. But the plaza is fantastic! Most of the streets in the center are cobble stoned and the houses are typical adobe style.
The city was sacked three times by pirates between 1665 and 1670, one of which was Henry Morgan.
I think I will stay for a while because my next real stop, other than San Juan del Sur, may not be until Panama City.
October 16, 2010
I am still in Granada. I bought some art today and wanted to send it home via courier. They are closed til Monday. It’s Saturday. I can wait but the shitter is that I have a room that is costing me USD$40/night. To move is a hassle but I may do it tomorrow just to save some money. I don’t know where the next courier office is. San Jose, Costa Rica? I don’t want to carry this stuff across the border. I have enough hassles as it is.
The last couple of days I have been hanging with a couple of British girls and Irish lads. Cool group of people. They went to Masaya the other day. I was going to go but bailed at the last moment. Paul got bit by a dog. Now he has to get 5 rabies shots throughout the course of a month! And he has to get it here in Granada! He will use this as a base to travel from then come back to get his ‘shot’.
I drove to town (Managua) the other day to look for the BMW shop. I couldn’t find it but did run into the Harley shop. I talked to the owner for a while. He was a professional but a dangerous professional. He has a lot of money. He drives a RR sport. The only one I have seen in the country. There was something about him; a certain above-the-law cockiness.
He invited me for a group ride today but I didn’t go. Now I wish I had of. I got a lot of shit done though. I bought some fantastic art and a new headset so I can make phone calls from my laptop again, got my tevas re-stitched at the market (the guy fucked me on the price but it was worth it; we’ll see), got caught up on some emails, scanned and emailed some documents to Jeff and Glenna, bought finger nail clippers and cut my toe claws, and got a hair cut. But she fucked it. I have to get hair cuts done by other travelers in the future or better yet just do it myself. It was cheap though. USD$1.50. This is a huge day for me. The longer I stay in a place, the better I get to know the lay of the land and thus I can get done in a day.
So I am stuck in Granada for another couple of days. It’s a cool place to be stuck though.
Tomorrow I’ll take some picks of churches, houses and doors.
Do it again – Steely Dan
October 17, 2010
I walked around and took pictures all morning. Everything is closed. Looks like I’ll be eating street food which usually consists of hotdogs or hamburgers or I’ll eat at a nice restaurant attached to a nice hotel. They are always open. I think I chose the latter. I am craving a big salad. I would pay a great deal for a big bowl of steamed broccoli with a a little butter and a lot of salt. I haven’t been pooping all that regular lately. Maybe it’s because I have been eating so little. Who knows? Yesterday I bought some laxative and it didn’t work. What I need is a good deep cleans.
I should hole up at a spa/retreat in San Juan for a couple of weeks. The cost would be prohibitive on my budget but I would get to people other than travelers. This is both good and bad. A spa would have good food and maybe a cleanse and some yoga. I have been wanting to get into yoga for sometime now and maybe now is the time.
I really like Granada. It sure has changed since the last time we were her in 2007. They built a pedestrian only street. It’s just off the main plaza. It’s chock full of cool restaurants, funky shops, people selling stuff on the street, bars and small boutique shops. The street is super busy on Friday and Saturday nights. And this is the off season. I couldn’t imagine peak season. This is the street where I bought the two wood etching prints. The artist carves this image on wood and then ‘stamps’ the image onto paper using black ink then colors them. Each one is painted differently. He leaves one or two black and white. He usually does about 10 prints per etching as he doesn’t want a lot of the same image on the market. Both of the prints I bought are black and white measuring approximately 24” x 36”.
Both prints are surrealist. I like surrealism but it doesn’t work in my house so I don’t by much of it. I really liked what the artists message the portrayed. I had him pack everything up and took a lot of my own shit down to DHL and it was closed.
I will be at their doorsteps at 8am sharp. Someone had better be there.
About the artist:
Richardo Rodriguez Maya
Superior Pedagogic Institute and Enrique Jose Varona Pedagogical Institute, Felix Varela. Cuba
Design and Art Institute of Havana, Cuba.
Improvement Course Direction of Museums and Galleries, Provincial Museum Villa Clara, Cuba.
Acting and Directing Theater Seminars - Professor Ignacio Gutierrez
Jose Marti language institute
Ceramics Courses - Professor Antonio Gonzalez Peraza and Professor Hisae Yanase - Casa de los Tres Mundos, Granada.
Engraving & Screen Printing Courses - Professors Soledad Nunez and Jesus Barbadillo.
Lithograph Courses - Professor Wolfgang Huneck.
Lithograph Courses: Professor Tuomisaari Annu.
"Socialism or Death?" - Liberty City - November 14, 1991
"The Castillito" - Havana City - November 14, 1991
"My Honda is the Baragua" - Liberty City - January 22, 1992
"The Castillito" - Havana City - January 22, 1992
"Cute" - House of the Young Creator, Villa Clara - March 6, 1994
"Fears of the Sign" - Florida, Camaguely - January 9, 1995
"The Quitnta Wall" - Bellas Artes, Granada - August 1999
"Tierra Adentro" - Galeria Paseo del Arte, Granada - October 2003
"Masquerade, Passion for Africa" - Casa San Francisco, Granada - October 2004
"Big Bang Colors" - Exhibition of Abstract Painting
"Casa de los Tres Mundos" - Granada