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

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Lazy days of León...

Beautiful lovely days a passing...came into León for the third time earlier in the week and seeing as threes are lucky, stopped up at the colourful Tortuga hostel with the idea of staying one night, but a few days later and I´m still here feel sunsoaked and luxurious...peaceful. Have met some really interesting folk a travelling themselves, in paricular enjoyed many a long natter with Yukon Dave, who introduced me to a whole new card game yuker and whole load of new thoughts around sustainability and a wicked link to a beautiful caravan-travelling-artist if you get round to reading this Dave, cheers, it was a real pleasure to meet you). Weaved through thoughts about those tantalising questions that preoccupy us humans, of humanity and consciousness and our relationship with nature... and in one of those funny little coinciencs some of our wonderings seemed reflected in a book called the journey that I picked in our hostel about a guy who was taught to learn the lessons of life through himself with the guidance of an Apache indian. There were parts I found especially interesting considering my recent musings in the El Viejo church about spiritualism:

´I see a society which is crumbling, a society which lives mostly in the flesh, and know little of the spirit. I see a people lost and searching for themselves, not knowing which way to turn to find a spiritual path in life. And I see a world that is quickly entering its final winter, where life on this planet as we now know it to exist will quickly come to an end. All I know is physical change is not enough. The global society must have a complete change, which includes a shift in consciousness to that of the spirit. Man must come back to the Earth and understand he cannot live above the laws of Creation, for now we are on borrowed time.´ ´Many religions and philosophies today are too cluttered in custom and ceremony, shakled by dogma, and no longer work because of all the spiritual pollution and distortion.´ ´As far as I, and Grandfather [his Apache Indian teacher] are concerned, the end result on any philosophy is simplicity, rapture, and reproducible results for everybody.`
`Thus it was Grandfather´s quest to strip away these complications and distortions, and to get to the simple workable truth - the common thread of reality and truth that runs through all philosophies and religions of the world.`
`The basic truth is that Earth must be healed, society has to healed. Mankind must reach a balance with nature and live in harmony where the quest for the spirit is more important than the gods of the flesh.´

[The Journey, Tom Brown Jr, Tracker Publishing Books, 2007, introduction]

...refreshing wave bobbing and fascinating beachcombing at Ponoloyo beach yesterday... came up with many an unusual natural trinkett, shells, bones, a really unusual and stunningly beautiful ´sand dollar´(that confused me at first by looking so like a perfectly designed jewelry piece) ...the satisfaction of curiosity followed by fresh fried fish and fresh fruit juice and watching pelicans tracing shiloetted curves across the red-orange-green-blue of the hypnotic sunsetting sky.. just a beautiful calm day. Lovelycompany with Calafornian Eric, Moroccon Swiss Maryame and Yukon Dave, thanks guys. With such a mix of language and accents among travellers over these last few days have become really aware of how it can be difficult to understand the meaning of unfamiliar patterns of speech or phrasing even in your own language, for example listening to a group of americans and canadians speaking it can be hard at times to get the full meaning... interestingly that´s somehow more disorientating or uncomfortable than not getting the jist of a foreign language conversation like Spanish that you expect not to understand fully. And also I was suprised to learn from Mayame that she finds my accent and quick way of speaking harder to understand than the american and Canadian accents. I guess its all too easy to assume that you are the norm and others the deviation without even realising you´re doing it...Went to Ronald´s jewelry shop on Saturday to watch Donald the ringmaker make a silver band with ´Pura Vida´the Costa Rican phrase, pure life, that I so loved. Fascinating being able to observe the skill of the small workshop. The silver and gold used in the shoip is usually melted down from old jewelry that has been sold on, a bit like the gold and silver buying and pawning back home. Learnt at the same time from the Dutch tour guide that introduced us to the shop about the custom for Nicaraguan women to take extremely good care of there feet by having regular pedicures, which made me very ashamed of the scabbiness of my feet, I´m one of the majority (?) of Europeans who ignore their feet. So I asked Blanca back at the hostel if she knew anywhere I could get a pedicure and within the hour a friend of hers came round, and once I got over the initial discomfort of paying someone to have to take care of my body (seems somehow arrogant at first) and started chatting about her 12 ear old son and studies to become an accountant, felt relaxed and enjoyed the process... amazing how much dead skin came away, repulsive and satisfying at the same time, like peeling eye-ey potatoes, and now i have clean feeling feet and simple flower toes...yay!Eaating lots of good street comedor food and really inexpensive, lots of trying new cakes and pastries, love the busy hecticness of the vendors on the bus to the beach on Sunday. Visited the museum of Ruben Darío Nicaragua´s most famous poet and as with all the buildings here it was laid out in a very open air way around a central green courtyard, and gated with the lovely wrought iron latticed gates that allow airflow through closed doorways.
I´ve even been drawing in the entymological museum - a throwback to a-level art and early Byan Shaw daysa... a nice cool space with thousands of specimins laid out in the classic wood and glass display cabinets on after the other on top of the other. One of the scientists who are running the museum working on preserving Nicaragua´s entymological diversity brough out some beutiful scientific paintings of birds to show me when he saw me scribbling away in my sketchbook.
What a genuinely delightful town, one without the discomforting juxtaoposition of ostentacious tourism and child begging that was so sad in Granda it seems to feel a more genuine town ... I´ve certainly felt the tug of gravity holding me here these last few days, especially with such stimulating company at the sanctury-esque space of the Tortuga. But now those folk are off on the move again and I feel ready to set off uphill towards Estéli early tomorrow.

Big love

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