First my son broke his leg while I was away, just like Kobe Bryant. He slipped on a toy. I came back, the holidays were over and we could not take him to kindergarten with his leg on a plaster cast. We made turns to stay with him at home. It was a bit of a chaos, because I counted on coming back and working more than usual, and I got just the opposite. On Monday finally they took the cast off. But he’s still limp, poor thing, he still cannot walk, even if he’s a little better.
I didn’t think I’d have to teach him to walk again, but here we are, step by step. And step by step I’m telling you about Nicaragua, where we left it.
I’m going back to the place I left when I couldn’t walk yet … we’re close to Managua, we’re getting there.
A vision of Managua: Roberto Sáenz
We got to our hotel after crossing a Managua that’s very different to my parents’ memories: it reminds me of the suburbs of Monterrey (Mexico). Only you never get to arrive to the centre of the town: there’s none. There are malls and some crystal and concrete buildings.
This is the building of the Pellas insurance company, read like pelas, which sounds like dough in Spanish, very appropriately.
After fighting with some very aggressive taxi drivers, we get to our hotel after paying a reasonable amount of money for a very filthy taxi ride. At least the windowpane wasn’t broken nor was the driver drunk, like the one that took my mom to hospital on that May 2nd 1981, 32 years ago.
The hotel is fine, it has air conditioning and wifi. On a whim, I whip off Foursquare and on checking-in I find out I’m 5300 miles away from home, about a fifth of the earth’s circumference. Hey, not that far.
Here in Salvador Allende, I have my frist Toña ever and my first Nicaraguan mixed platter:
Traveller’s vocabulary: in Nicaragua «agarrar una Toña» (to grab a Toña) means getting drunk.
Nicaraguan food: gallo pinto, col, salchichas, muslos de pollo fritos, plátano frito, chips de plátano frito, queso a la plancha, alitas de pollo fritas, cortezas de cerdo fritas… To sum up: fried everything, mostly chicken and pork, with some concessions to deeply fried vegetables.
Sáenz tells us about the joys and frustrations of the revolution:
Starting a revolution is easy, because you have to destroy. People talk about the revolution like something beautiful, but it’s a disaster. It’s ugly. And the part of destroying is easy, but then the hard part comes. Build? What and how? Who had done this before? No one. How would we do it? No idea. But we were going to.
We wanted to send all this people into the rainforest in this literacy campaign, but you can’t send people to the mountains without boots, right? And here we had no industry, we hardly had the guillotines to cut toilet paper in the size we used it. So we took [can’t remember the name he said], we gave him fifty thousand dollars and we sent him to Holland: “bring back boots.”
The boots arrived and we put them in storage. When people were leaving, we gave them their boots. A bit later we found out we were giving out boots that were for the same foot, or different sizes. They were huge boots that fit no one. Imagine, for the Dutch army, boots for those very tall gentlemen. And everything was like that…
He spoke like that all the time, and didn’t spare anyone from any side.
I couldn’t believe it. I’d made it! There we were, and Roberto Sáenz was telling us VERY interesting things.
Yesterday I visited the birthplace of Sandino in Nicaragua: Niquinohomo. Yo soy del pueblo que un niño en Niquinohomo soñó. Soy del pueblo de Sandino y Benjamín Zeledón —Yo soy de un pueblo sencillo, by Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy (see the complete lyrics and my translation below) Benjamín Zeledón’s fortress —the political prison We
It was so nice to hear back from you! Don’t apologize. I don’t hold grudges for people taking long to reply. Mostly because I can understand perfectly how it is to look at that email and say: I’ll answer properly later [time goes by FAST] —oops, now it’s too late. Honestly I don’t feel like an extraordinary person
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