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

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Miraflores and Familia Moreno Ruiz

Heard about how pretty Miraflores was back in Granada, seems a long time ago now...and having finally headed up there yesterday on the 6am bus from Estelí am happy to report it lives up to rumour...stunning views and beautiful plants, even despite it being dry season after an unusually dry winter, same as Lagartillo.
Miraflores is made up of three zones: the low zone El Coyolito where my guide for the day, Rudolfo, lives with his parents and 8 year old son and works on a maiz, beans and vegetable farm when he´s not guiding; the middle zone, La Pita where I got off the bus and met Rudolfo and my host family, the Morena Ruiz´s of Finaca Matapalo...Matapalo being the name of a tall evergrteen tree which we saw a lot of throughout the day; and the high zone, El Cebollal and El Sontule, which is has far bigger trees, lots of pines and at this dry time is still really green. The views were lush and our tour soon turned into an intense Spanish-plus-Nicaragan-plant-biology lesson for me! Was scribbling notes down trying to keep up with Rudolfo´s explanations. It seemed really good timing to be getting the infoprmation, after the skipping and a-tripping through the Tisey mountains, because at a similar altitude (1400m to Tisey´s 1550m) the plantlife was was very similar and again I was struck by how alike in some ways the pine-spattered scenery was to woodland back at home. At this altitude it is also coffee growing land though the plants were not in flower.

Rudolfo showed me how to fold a leaf into the shape of a flower and also was eager to help me collect more seeds for making jewellry. He even dug the beautiful brown and black seeds out of a slimey plant called calabasca, looked a bit like a round marrow-like plant (or snozcumber!) - apparently its leaves are rubbed on children´s backs to treat breathing difficulties. The most vibrant were the red and orange seeds of the India Desnuda tree, whose name naked indian comes from its unusual total lack of foilage.

One of my favourite but most freaky moments was climbing the 250 year old matapalo parasitico tree... As a parasitic tree it had grown around another tree which had died, leaving a hollow with a vine like structure that makes the perfect natural ladder. Had my heart in my mouth the whole way up to the 30m top, and again all the way down, but was excited to have made it! Can´t have the nickname munkey and not take a perfect tree climbing opportunity when its given!

We also got to visit another cascada, which I drew before jumping in and out of. Rudolfo was braver than I, bombing in off a huge rock. Met a French couple and their guide there.

Back at the Morena-Ruiz´for luch I learnt how to use the lovely phrase ¨con un corazon contente¨ to describe the satisfaction of having eaten your fill at a meal. Got my sketchbook out to draw a clothes vendor who was very animated and talking about having a whistle to warn off the police (I couldn´t make much more sense than that) - the family said he was ´loco´- so anyway afterwards the family were looking through my drawings and Noheli brought me a sketchpad and asked if I´d draw the house. It started drizzling as I drew, rain is not uncommun at this altitude, and it was actually cold enough that I had to borrow a hoodie. Lasted a few hours, until the rain soaked page was too wet to draw on, so got up early the next morning to finish the drawing before my 8am bus. The family seemed really pleased with it and Julio went off to photocopy it in the school buiding next to the house so I´d have a copy to take away with me. The school building is the same one in which 14 year old Crisbell teaches pre-school and has college on Saturdays taught by Nora, her mum. The evening after dinner was spent with the girls enjoying photographing each other posing for the camera, helping Kevin to grind coffee beans ( we took it in turns to turn the arm while the other one slowly fed fistfulls of beans into the top...beautiful smell but really hard work, I got a right sweat on!) and then kneeling alongside Julio as he made a miniature house in the traditional style, from twigs and bamboo for a fair at the UCA Miraflores office on Saturday. Kevin, Carlitos and I pootled away on our own constructions - I made a mini ladder. The yellow bamboo we were using (thta is strikingly yellow as I´d in seen in the sunlight earlier in the day) is easy to split lengthwise by knocking a knife into it with another bit of bamboo, but very hard to cut across, it took a saw and bothe me and Kevin to cut a wheel for Carlos! And when I got up in the morning he was still going with his car´s construction.

No comments:

Post a Comment