11.10.09 Rivas, Nicaragua
Is that Shakira video (the one where she's wearing a mono-leg "jump"-suit, when she's not wearing a leotard that's precisely the same colour as her skin) making anyone else feel a bit "off" in the morality department? My guess, after close scrutiny, is that she's feeling a bit broody. In that event, I would count myself more than happy to "brood" her.
If you weren't a fan of the Wonder Stuff (and nobody round here's gonna hold that against you) you may be feeling bemused by the title of this entry. If so, thank your lucky stars I didn't go with Plan A, which (and you need to know that Nicaragua has a number of spectacular beaches to appreciate this 'un) was "Sandy Knees? Ta!". If you don't get that one either, I can't help you, but thanks for sticking around for the Mother-In-Law gag.
So! Nicaragua. So far, there's a HUGE lake with two HUGE volcanoes sticking out of it. The border with Costa Rica is a bit tedious (shocker!) but, once again, I'm fumigated, insured, Visa-ed up and legal as a beagle. Excellent roads around the lake to Rivas, where I'm shown two $10 hotel rooms, either of which I'd be more than happy to commit suicide in, so, heh, no thanks, amigo. Hello, instead, to the cripplingly dear Nicarao hotel. I'm aware at reception that my motorcyclin' trousers have been washed only the once in a year (I know - but it's a terrific pain to get the armour out) but they let me in anyway, and it turns out at 7pm that their nice bar sells the local brew (Victoria - 4.9%) at a frighteningly reasonable one dollar, so really, who's counting?
Not so good, as it turns out
Note to fellow northbounders: They WILL NOT accept a shit copy of your driving licence at the Nic border, and if you can't lay your hands on the original, the fine's $100.
17.10.09 Leon, Nicaragua.
If you've ever nurtured a suspicion that, while George Dubbuhyah Bush was the Mother Of All Shits, Ronald Dubbuhyah Reagan was perhaps the Fuckhead That Passeth All Understanding, I urge you to spend a few minuted "boning" up on the history of Nicaragua. On the subject of total arseholes - how about that Jan Moir (a person, it must be said, about whom one would not necessarily choose to write home)? And how about a stint in chokey for the homophobic old bag? How about a crippling fine for the editor and publishers of Britain's most expensive and least hygienic toilet paper, the Daily Mail? You know what they say; better to not wipe your arse at all than wipe it with the Daily Mail. (If, for some reason, the link to Moir's piece stops working, like if it gets plungered down the u-bend of journalistic history, you can email me and I'll send you a copy.)
There's nothing not to love about Nicaragua. I want to pick it up in my lovin' arms, clutch it to my pigeon chest and squeeze the Bejayzus out of it with the force of my somewhat unhealthy love. It has everything Costa Rica has, but it's half the price because it's not swamped with tourists. It's dirt poor - one of the poorest countries in Latin America - but the people smile and chat, and they're proud as fook of their fight against the (usually) horrific tossers who interfere from Washington (Jimmy Carter being an exception, as far as my pathetically limited understanding goes).
Leon is probably the most Sandinista-friendly town in Nicaragua, and it's a bloody gem. Let's get to it - beers are one dollar. Victoria is not so good, but Toņa may be one of Latin America's best. However, the surprise winner of 2009's glittering "Best Drink In Latin America" pageant is - Nicaraguan Iced Tea! It's literally impossible to have only the one. It's so dreamy I dream about it. You could - I imagine - add premium vodka to it without affecting the taste and actually improve it. Nicaragua mi amor! And smokes are less than a quid...
Leon's cathedral, the largest in Central America, is squat but lovely, in which sense it brings to mind TV's Lowri Turner .
"Don't you have anything better to do", squawks the Crow of Disapproval, which hangs around my neck by its feet like a Puritan necklace, "than sit around in Central American bars all day, watching football matches for which, in order to register even a crumb of interest, you need to have had a minimum of four Toņas; and either talking, or writing, sarcastic, poorly-judged rubbish?"
No! I reply. I do not! Do you? The question is rhetorical, and his brittle yellow* beak shatters into a hundred ugly splinters as I boot him into a handy storm-drain.
A right rattlin' read! Like Ian Fleming on, you know, drugs.
*re. crows with yellow beaks: what am I, Percy Edwards?
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