Monday, October 10, 2011

Meeting the Walters

We pulled into Ocotal late morning on the 17th of September. An internet stop did more than help us plan our visit to Jalapa, it also connected us with Paul, a Peace Corps volunteer serving in Ocotal. During a fantastic lunch of enchiladas Nicaraguan style (fried, filled, yum-ness at only US$1 a pop), we found out a bit about the area and also learned that Paul hopes to take a motorcycle trip sometime in the future too. It was a great run-in!

News of the area was related to upcoming elections in Nicaragua. The party in power was issuing cédulas, or voter identification cards, to members of their party, but making it prohibitively expensive for other voters to receive these necessary credentials. So a road blocking strike was being held on the way out to Jalapa. We didn't expect it to be violent, especially since we weren't planning on blasting through it if the protesters didn't want us to, but still, we were wondering if we would make it to see our friends in Jalapa. We heard news that government talks brought an end to the block around 2 that afternoon, so we headed on down the paving stone road...

...where we saw evidence of the protest. I don't think we woulda made it past.

We also crossed a classic rope trap in Santa Clara. Two kids hold a rope (sometime string, sometimes thicker) across the road, forcing you to come to a stop. Then they ask you for money. This time they wanted money for a new church roof. I gave 'em a couple of coins out of my pocket because it was super hot and they needed a roof. Or a fan. But something that offers shade and/or moving air.

Pulling into Jalapa, we asked for directions to the Hospedaje Jonathon, which was actually a pretty nice place for the US$7 price. Jalapa was a nice little town.

The best part about Jalapa, though, was running into a buddy of Mike's from grad school, Jeff. Jeff and his wife, Jessica, have been living there for a few months working on a clean water project and with the women's shelter in town. It was great to see them! We got a good tour of their little town, enjoyed some meals with them, and then joined them for a weekend vacation in Estelí.

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