Chinandega is a*wondrous*place.*I've been feeling the normal accelerated pace slowing here, allowing me to appreciate the richness of the small things.
The town was established in the late 18th century and even today there are hidden jewels throughout the town. Behind some of the rustic looking streets are some incredible ancient homes of this tropical land, some dating back nearly 300 years. I visited one owned by my friend Enrique's Aunt Nelly.
This lovely lady lives in one of these amazing homes. Behind a nondescript wall down a side street is the entrance to a long overhang with the layout of several sitting rooms that overlook an internal courtyard with abundant vegetation. This was at one point one of the first universities in Nicaragua and also served as Seminary. This property was once the size of an entire city block, but little by little parcels were sold off. One of the larger southern corners of the property was donated in early 1900 to the Church where the church of San Antonio was built.
Ms. Nelly in her own right has had an incredible life filled with adventures. At age 20, mind you this is in the early 1950's, she left Chinandega for Mexico City with her younger sister of 15. At the time Mexico was in it's Golden Age of music and cinema where young Nelly had a chance to rub shoulders with some of the more prominent artists like Agustin Lara.
She returned to Chinandega and married an American*crop-duster by the name of Leon Willer, a man with a great entrepreneurial*spirit, but often got into ambitious projects that were simply outside his reach. He ended up loosing a significant part of the family's savings in a land-tilling deal and Ms. Nelly had to then take the reigns of the family holdings. She turned out to be a savvy business lady and kicked off a long and fruitful tradition of a matriarchal business.
Later that day, we went out to have lunch on the coast to the port town of Corinto. This is the point where locals take their boats out to go deep sea fishing. We enjoyed the cool breeze coming off the surf and while we put away a few frosty Victoria's and an amazing fish filet. Surf's up!
We then made our way back to Chinandega, packed, changed and I headed to Managua. I was having such a good time, that I actually left a little late. Headed out around 3:45 by the time I made it out of town. About an hour and a half later, as dusk was upon me, I went through a bug storm of biblical proportions. There were coming at me at such a rate that in a matter of a two minutes I could no longer see through my visor. They even made it into my helmet through the airvents. I had to stop to clean the visor, which I did it with the eyes closed *as they swarmed all around - they were going into my ears and my nostrils. I had to keep blowing air out used water from my camel back as I smeared the dead carcases from my visor. After a few miles I did what it says on the shampoo bottle - rinse, and wash again.
I made it into Managua and met my friend Marissa who had made arrangements at an inexpensive hotel, dropped the gear, took a quick shower, and we headed out for a bite. Had some amazing Carpaccio to wrap up the night.