Semana Santa

by purveyoroffinemoments

Predator or prey… which one am I? Naive and traveling alone I’ve felt at risk from mosquitos, gargantuan spiders, gnats, disease, rapists, liars, and thieves. Everystep of the way is paved with something I should be worried about. Just when you start to feel comfortable something happens to remind you to be paranoid. IT {it being any of the predators I just listed} is out to get you.

Walking back to the hostel my final night out in Leon with a new friend, we hear some screams. We look down the street. A security guard and a man are yelling at each other. I asked the security guard at the hostel what was going on. Apparently the man was trying to rob someone at the hostel across the street. The melee escalates. The security guard whips out a baton and procedes to beat the shit out of this wannabe thief. I turn away. I had no interest in watching even if the dude was a robber. I just hear the loud thumps of the baton and the man’s screams. The police eventually show up on motorcycles and take the guy away. The incident made my stomach turn. I’m reminded I’m in fucking Nicaragua. Rules are a little different from home.

Before this incident I had gotten quite comfortable walking around Leon alone at night. I got used to all the cat calls. Pssts, kisses, and hey babies are something you hear every few feet when walking around. At first disgusted, I just blocked it out. After the robbery smack down I started getting paranoid again. Although I wanted to stay in Leon up until I had to go farm, the robbery and a couple other incidents my last night out in Leon led me to take off for the mountains. I stay in a treehouse hostel.

There’s only one other couple backpacking there. The rest were a bunch of kids from Managua celebrating their friend’s birthday. I am first stand offish. I see a huge spider eating a cicada right next to my hammock. I’m actually somewhat happy. Cicadas are annoying little fuckers. I head back up to the treehouse bar. The Managuan kids are drunk. They start handing me shots. I get drunk with them and the hostel worker. I really don’t even remember what I was talking about, but I got some email addresses. I also bought two tins of pringles and a bag of goldfish. I smoke a joint with the hostel worker and see a crazy looking jungle possum. It was a fun night.

The next day I felt super weird. Maybe it was because I smoked, and I actually hadn’t smoked in a while. Not sure. I take my sunscreen out and leave it sitting near my hammock not thinking anything would happen to it. I start the steep hike up to the showers. I take my cold shower and hike back down to the hammock. My sunscreen was gone. My sunhat was gone. This was the first theft I experienced on the trip. What was unsettling is that I’m pretty sure the only people up in this area are the people staying at the hostel and the hostel workers. Prey. Don’t trust anyone. I slowly pack my shit and go to Granada.for a night. Nothing too exciting happened. I then head to the farm.

I don’t want to write too much about the farm other than I just felt uncomfortable there. A 57 year old wanting to start an intentional community lives alongside a 23 year old Ukranian man who knew near perfect Spanish. Both embrace the power of now. They are kind souls, but I definitely did not feel comfortable or that I wanted to stay. I got massively bit up by mosquitos; the weather was too hot for farm work; the landowner had strong opinions, some of which I disagreed with.

My third day in I borrowed a bike to ride from the farm to Granada.

Everything is slow in Nicaragua. It’s almost as if everything is played out in a plane of molasses or syrup. Actions are long and drawn out because of the heat. Buses don’t run on a reliable schedule. On my bike ride I realized it’s too hot for drivers or pedestrians to even be mad at you. I saw the most disgusting roadkill I’ve ever seen on the carretera. It was a decomposing dog that had been sitting in the tropical heat. It’s corpse was glistening and bloated. I didn’t look for too long.

Everything moves through molasses.

Nica time.

Cars have the right of way. The roads are chaos. It oddly doesn’t feel that dangerous. It doesn’t take me long to get to Granada. I realize I don’t want to go back to the farm. I hadn’t been able to sleep well there. I check into a hostel. I decide I want to drink.

I go and buy a bottle of rum for 75 cordoba. This is about 3 or 4 US dollars.

I get back to the hostel and start drinking with an Argentinian and 3 Frenchmen. We manage to piss off the whole hostel with our drunken loudness. We go to an afterhours club with an empty room with an incredible lazer light show. I think the place was called hypnotik. don’t worry i know how to spell. they spelled it that way.

Today I took the bicyle back to the farm and told the owner I felt too sick to stay there. I feel better. On my way back to the carretera a taxi stops and offers to give me a ride to the main road. I tell him I have no money. He said it’s OK. Once in the car he tells me that it’s dangerous for me to be walking on that road at night. I would get raped and robbed. Reminder: I am prey. I am not a predator.

I’m back at the hostel having a mellow evening. Tomorrow I might work the front desk in exchange for board. This weekend is the culminating point for Semana Santa or Holy Week. There’s a lot of scary saint and Christ statues erected. I would’ve taken a picture except they really scare me. Holy predators batman!

Oh yes, I may have a travel buddy soon. A guy my friend hosted through couchsurfer is in the area and is looking for a travel companion. I agreed. It’ll be a nice change in pace.

I’ll be happy when Semana Santa is over.

I need to learn how to appear like a predator. Maybe I should start pssting at every guy that walks by. I should smush giant spiders with my flip flops. As for mosquitos, I don’t think there is anything I can do to prey upon them.