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05.28.14

2014-04-24 07.38.57

 

2014-04-24 11.17.08

2014-04-24 07.44.03

2014-04-24 11.15.59

2014-04-29 10.05.45

From the top: 4 Wheel Drive is popular around here.  The major roads are great but the quality drops precipitously as you get into poorer or less populated areas.  I took this photo in Jinotega, which is surrounded by significant inclines that might be especially challenging in the rainy season (I’m just assuming there’s a rainy season up there). Next up is two shots of Cafe Bohemios (also in Jinotega), a proper espresso bar tucked up in coffeeland.  Jinotega seems like it has tremendous upside, but I was only there 2 days. There were lots of seemingly small places like in picture 4 for sale, but you can never tell how big a place is from the curb presence here; that  colonial approximation of a modest bungalow could open up to a half acre of rooms and gardens in the back, even here in town.  Google’s satellite imagery comes in handy for situations like this, assuming you don’t want to hassle with arranging a tour. The last photo is a comparable home in Leon with a nice second story balcony.

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Cost of beer in a bar: I’m not sure, but the regional average appears to be greater than US$0.50 and less than US$1. Edit: US$0.86.

Song currently stuck in my head: I’m In Miami, Bitch (LMFAO)

I hate that “band” and I don’t really know that song, but someone played it for me once and it excels at being the earworm it was designed to be.  It becomes especially salient when your internal monologue repeatedly points out “I”m in [city name].”

I’m in Jinotega.

I’m only spending 2 nights here, so my impressions will only be lightly informed. I came here looking for The Nicaraguan Boquete, and so far it looks like I succeeded.  I’m deep in coffee country, at an elevation of 3,400 feet, enjoying a respite from the notorious heat of Leon.  Right now in the early afternoon my phone says it’s 13 degrees cooler than 3.5 hours away in Leon.  I think those numbers under report, though, because the app shows the conditions in Matagalpa (1.5 hours away and home to the nearest laundromat, from what I’m told) and Jinotega in perpetual lock step even though the bus from Matagalpa appeared to travel at an upward 30 degree angle for an hour and a half. Matagalpa is the much bigger city, so if there’s only one weather station in the area reporting, I’m guessing its there.

Jinotega has more than twice the population of Boquete (Panama) but the local resources seem similar.  There’s a Pali Supermarket, which surprises me in a town that lacks a laundromat.  I’m deep in a mountain valley, surrounded by walls of greenery.  It’s the kind of view that reminds you you’re a long way from where you started.  I was discussing this with The Girlfriend a few days ago and I think it’s a big part of why we weren’t wowed by Granada.  I have a strong suspicion the same will be true of Leon.  In addition to the obvious drawbacks of  upscaling the “Central American Approach” to urban dimensions (litter, noise, crime), Leon and Granada are both missing something that all of the places we’ve fallen in love with have in common; a view.  I find that I’m comfortable making a lot of compromises when I look out my door and see waves, mountains or rolling landscape.  Jinotega has reminded me how breathtaking Esteli was; I had mentally lumped it in with the other larger Nicaraguan towns (a recollection The Girlfriend disputed). Jinotega’s scenery jangled those memories into place and I have to say she was right.

Now I need to find a cigar.

2014-04-24 07.35.40