Who needs a wake up call when you have church bells? Lots of church bells.

Leon is a city of churches. Seventeen churches, to be exact. Most of them date back hundreds of years, some to the 1600s. All of them ring their bells to start the day. Early.

181It’s hot and sticky in Leon, just the kind of weather I adore. Had a pretty good ride here on the mini bus, although I was seated next to a woman and her baby, maybe one year old, with chubby, very sticky fingers. He kept touching my arm with his pudgy little fingers and I had to strenuously resist the urge to whip out my wet nap from the plane and douse myself with it. Eventually the sweat washed it all away… There was also a very adorable little girl, about the age of my niece Margaret, who kept coming up beside me, staring and giggling. It’s really amazing though, that on an hour long ride and with at least 3 small children on the bus (I was the only non-Nica), that not one of them had a melt down or whined (because the tone of whining is universal, you don;t need to speak the language), despite not one of them having an iPad, stuffed toy, game, colouring book, basically nothing to entertain themselves. In fact, the boy behind me, maybe five years old, paid his own bus fare when we stopped.

The tour I wanted to take of the ruins of Leon Viejo and the Assosoca Crater Lake wasn’t running today. Once again touristing in Leon fails me. Last year I spent several days here trying to go on a surf tour with no luck. So I shouldn’t be surprised that once again my best laid plans were shuttled aside. Still I’m attempting to just go with the flow…
The good news is that I did get signed up for volcano boarding this afternoon. When the guy asked me to fill out may name and age (!) on the form, he looked at me, looked at my age and asked me if I was lying. Um buddy, nobody lies about being OLDER unless you’re 16. He said I looked 30. Lovely young man.

In preparation for my wander around the city, I planned my walk, I had my map, I set off…in completely the opposite direction. In my defense, the street signs are very small, when they exist at all. And most directions are based on the distance from a landmark, but let’s be clear, you’ve got to FIND the landmark first. I managed to keep myself from getting completely lost, but several times I did think to myself, This doesn’t seem right…. So at least I know when I’m wandering around directionless.

Got back to ViaVia and sat in the cafe-bar area watching a bunch of guys playing Nicaraguan pool. The rules are similar but different enough that I spent some time trying to figure it out before one of the said to me did I want to play? I hadn’t seen any women playing and I thought it was one of those things that women just didn’t do. Apparently not. So I agreed, and ended up playing against Sylivo, who was a dead wringer for Hurley from LOST. And with some help, in Spanish, from the other fellows, I won! So I got to play against the next guy, who happened to be the guy who drove me on the pedicab to ViaVia. And I won! And I won again! Apparently I’m a pool shark! I couldn’t tell if they were throwing the games for the novelty of playing against me, but I can’t really see that sitting well with the whole Latino machismo thing. It was great fun, and lots of laughs, despite the total and complete language barrier. I thought my Spanish was getting better. And it is. But let me tell you there’s a lot going on around me that I don’t fully comprehend!

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