I am cycling to raise money for the fantastic UK based chaity Macmillan Cancer Support. Big thanks to everyone who has sponsored me so far! Justgiving is a quick, easy and secure way to donate online. See my other fundraising page, specific to the Macmillan organized part of the trip

Friday, 26 March 2010

From Estelí to Condega ... reflections on water

Went back to the Licuados Anandos the yesterday morning for the yoga class and was surprised to be the only student in the class (we waited awhile for a second girl who didn´t turn up) and surprised that it was Roberto, my waiter of the night before, who was taking the class. The yoga was mantra yoga, a type I have never done before and pretty different to the couple of lessons I have done... a lot more vigorous, I was impressed by how a man of Roberto´s age could fling himself around like that, though that is the aim of yoga, health and vitality of the body and mind - there was a health or well-being reason that Roberto would explain before each exercise. Most interesting was hearing Roberto speak about the philosophy of the school and the spiritualism of the maestro who founded it. He was glowing as he described the all-embracing nature of their belief, in our joint humanity, we are all one and the same, all brothers, and have all experienced what everyone else has, so I am Nicaraguan and Roberto is Scottish, I have been here before and he has been to Scotland, we are all of no religion and all religions, all of no political party and all political parties, spirituality and the soul is a bigger part of our existance than the flesh body. It fascinated and inspired me to listen to Roberto´s words, as these are ideas I have been reflecting on whilst reading Tom Brown´s ´The Journey´, which discusses the idea of pure spiritualism embracing the common thread of all religion and philosophies, and our unity as all one and the same thing as part of nature, part of the ´spirit-that-moves-in-all-things´.
The Journey has been a really inspìring book for me, in its reflections on our relationships as humans with the natural world, and the possibilities of a spiritual connection with the world that most of us are estranged from through our separation from nature and our over developed logical minds. It then seemed really appropriate, perhaps serendipitous, that the chapter of the book I read today was about the gift of water, both because I had a really water-soaked day (interesting that it started at an empty swiming pool) and also after having experienced the effects of the drought in Lagartillo and then seeing the imagery of Julio and the CMDAS that celebrates the gift of water. I had the luxury of reading the chapter while floating round the brick piscina at Gloria´s restaraunt (really a concrete paddling pool, with a cool peeling smiley face painted on the bottom, looking out on a stunning view of lush green mountains, a lucky find about an hour away from Condega):
´"The masses no longer honor the water at all, for they just use it and infect it with their complacency. They take the water, this blood of our Mother, for granted. So we must take care to honour the gift so we do not take it for granted. We must realize the blood of the Earth is also our blood, and the blood of all our ancestors."´ (Tom Brown, The Journey, Tracker publishing 1992, 2007, p.208)

It is also particulaurly poignant as a traveller in a hot and unfamiliar country, where there is always the question, is this water safe to drink? I have been drinking tap water since Granada without problems, and the amount I get through in a day´s cycling in the heat is phenomenal. Even if I set out in the morning with iced water bags (on the odd ocasion I have had a freezer to store them in the night before) all my water is hot buy the afternoon, and it is really unquenching to drink, but I should really be appreciating the fact of being hydrated at all. There are predictions that the biggest wars in our lifetime will be over water suplies, and to have such a precious copmmodity available to me for free at this point in the trip is something I need to be consciously grateful for. I realise that especially after feeling thirsty quite a lot of the time in Lagatiollo when the house drinking water ran out by the afternoon a couple of days in a row - although there was always more when needed from neihgbours.

I had already been feeling very grateful in general to the world throughout the day, as I passed through some stunning mountainous scenery, and when a gorgeous blue dragonfly landed on the painted-flower on my toenail while I drifted round Gloria´s pool in my black rubber ring (that i´d have to capsize when the sun made it get burning hot) I felt very peaceful and lucky. So then to find another swimming pool at the Granja farm-hostel tonight... and this one big enough to swim lengths in and deep enough to practise my el-salto-found diving ability in... I was elated! Swimming under the moon and stars last night... delicious.. and this morning before leaving for Somoto managed eventually after a number of tries to swim out the whole length of the pool after a dive, completeted it with a crack to the head at the other end of the pool, but was so chuffed I laughed at the shock of the pain! Fitting in with the watery theme, when I left the beautiful and very helfpful Yadira gave me a tiny yellow-bath-duck along with her email, and I gave her the shell that you can hear the sea in from the little boy at las Peñitas.

Am in an internet cafe in Somoto at the moment, with Peggy resting at the fire station where I can stay the night if I like, as recommended by Noel the very friendly tourist police who got chatting to me today at a roadblock where I had to show my passport. Not sure if I´ll stay there though, as there is an overly friendly fireman Antonio who I´d rather avoid (although it was down to him I got a ride to this internet cafe in the cab of the fire engine as they were on the way to a job... pretty cool!), and also there is the possiblity of camping at the canyon itself, which is only 13km away, about to check out my options online now, we´ll see...

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